Donald Trump, Republican, Jewish Coalition, 2023
Former President Donald Trump. Photo credit: Gage Skidmore / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0 DEED)

The New York civil fraud case against Donald Trump shows why next year’s criminal cases must be televised. Americans deserve to get an unfiltered look at the allegations, the evidence, and the witness testimony to make up their own minds.

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Donald Trump took the stand in his New York fraud trial, and he tried his best to turn his testimony into something in between a spectacle and a political rally. 

As always, the former president’s performance deeply divided those who tuned in. Predictably, his supporters loved it and his detractors found it ridiculous and damaging to his own case.

And that’s exactly why the Trump trials need to be televised so that the American people, and not just a jury, can judge for themselves whether the former president is guilty of crimes ranging from staging a coup and obstruction of justice to stealing classified documents. 

Right now, everybody just gets tidbits of information from their “tribe” — whether that’s the analysts on TV networks or the influencers on social media.

And, of course, Trump is using his MAGAphone to broadcast lies and propaganda out to his loyal followers. 

In other words, because cameras are not allowed in the courtroom, everybody gets a filtered version of what is going on behind closed doors. 

That’s not ideal in the case of this civil fraud trial, but it will be downright unacceptable when the criminal proceedings start next year (the Georgia coup case will be televised, so that’s a great start).

Then, Americans must have a way to get an unfiltered look at all of the evidence that prosecutors have compiled and the witnesses who will testify. That is the best way to ensure that those with even a somewhat open mind can reach their own conclusions.

When the various indictments were filed, we made sure that our readers had access to them because we believe that it is important for them to get their information straight from the source.

It should also be like that in the trials. 

Yes, there will be gamesmanship from attorneys and lulls while lawyers argue about process and procedures, but at least there would be footage of the important moments. 

It stands to reason that Americans will tune in. If we know one thing about TV audiences, it is that they love a good trial.

And they will probably want to watch this one, even when Fox News and other pro-Trump networks are cutting away, as they often did during other events damaging to the former president, like the January 6 hearings. 

In addition, and perhaps most importantly, courtrooms have rules.

Right now, during his rallies or whenever the media gives him a platform, Trump can rant and rail all he wants. He can lie and make stuff up. 

But inside the courtroom, it is much more difficult for him and his allies to do these things (or for the prosecutors to do so, for that matter). Because theatrics will get you contempt of court charges, and lying under oath will result in further charges. 

Finally, the courts are the one place where Trump has been held to account (maybe not sufficiently, but at least occasionally). 

They rejected his election challenges, found him guilty of sexual abuse, secured guilty pleas from supporters involved in his coup and, from time to time, some of his fraudulent ventures have been exposed.

Granted, there would have to be safeguards to protect court staff, witnesses, and jurors — kind of like in a mob trial.

But Trump supporters are already revealing names and making threats, so not televising the trials hasn’t worked in that regard either.

Ultimately, it will be necessary to allow those Americans who care an unobstructed view of the trial instead of getting a sanitized version on Hannity every night.

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