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Justice

Donald Trump, podium, Keep America Great, rally, Phoenix, AZ
Donald Trump speaking at a “Keep America Great” rally at the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix, AZ. Photo credit: Gage Skidmore / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0 DEED)

Donald Trump is right. There is a two-tiered justice system in the US, and it allows people like him to avoid accountability.

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Donald Trump and other Republicans like to rail against the existence of a two-tiered justice system — often in connection with its “weaponization” against the former president or how Hunter Biden is being treated. This is an area in which they aren’t completely wrong. There is a two-tiered justice system… but Trump isn’t a victim. He is a beneficiary.

We are seeing this almost every single day. By using his wealth (“his wealth” in this case means the millions of dollars of donations to his campaign or the GOP that Trump has commandeered to pay for his lawyers), the former president is able to gum up the works of the justice system to delay his criminal trials as much as possible. 

On Thursday, he lost yet another bid to have one of these cases thrown out — this one in Georgia, where he is being charged with trying to illegally overturn the results of the 2020 election in the Peach State. 

His lawyers had argued that the charges against Trump and some of his co-defendants should be dismissed because, in their view, trying to stage a coup is “core political speech” protected by the First Amendment. 

Judge Scott McAfee, who is presiding over the case, didn’t see it that way. 

“Even core political speech addressing matters of public concern is not impenetrable from prosecution if allegedly used to further criminal activity,” he ruled

That decision probably didn’t come as a surprise to Trump’s well-paid legal team (and, again, it bears repeating that these lawyers aren’t being paid by the former president but rather by his supporters — one donation at a time).

Indeed, it is very likely that the lawyers’ main objective in filing their motion to dismiss the case wasn’t about having the charges tossed at all. It was about delaying the trial as much as possible. They file motions, which then have to be considered and responded to, and another few days, weeks, or even months are wasted. 

It is a strategy that has, so far, worked exceedingly well for the former president. 

And that’s how the two-tiered US justice system favors people like Trump. If you can afford a bunch of high-priced attorneys, you can evade justice. 

If not, you are screwed. 

And the former president is a poster child for how this works. 

If he were working with a court-appointed lawyer, he’d likely be in prison already. If he were just a regular guy found with reams of classified documents in his restroom, for example, they would have locked him up by now and thrown away the key. 

And it’s not just that. Trump is also (so far) getting away with trying to insult, intimidate, and threaten judges and their families, court officials, and jurors in his four criminal cases. 

Try that as a regular defendant. 

Imagine how a judge would react if the accused got up in court and said, “Hey, your honor, isn’t this your daughter?”

In addition, regular defendants don’t get to have their cases heard by a judge they appointed to the bench (and neither, ultimately, by three Supreme Court justices they hand-picked). 

This, by the way, is not a Republicans vs. Democrats problem. 

If you are rich, you are much more likely to evade justice… and Trump is demonstrating that every single day.



Author

  • Klaus Marre

    Klaus Marre is a writer, editor, former congressional reporter, and director of the WhoWhatWhy Mentor Apprentice Program. Follow him on Twitter @KlausMarre.

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