I was playing the first set of a Happy Hour gig at a local jazz club when I heard someone in the audience comment that Trump had just been indicted. There was no cheering, dancing or horn honking in the streets. It wasn’t like Election Night 2020. It might as well have been a casual observation like “oh look, it’s raining outside“. NYC knew it was a foregone conclusion that a local grand jury would indict its Unfavorite Son. There was no question about if, just when.
Most of the rest of the country knew it was coming too. So did Trump who admitted as much two weeks ago when he piously posted that he would be indicted on Tuesday, March 21 and that he would surrender without protest to Manhattan DA, Alvin Bragg. Of course he did so with his signature victim-whining and with blatant dog whistles to his January 6th base to “PROTEST. PROTEST.”
Only Fox News clutched its pearls and fell on the fainting couch in an apparent last ditch effort to repair its strained relationship with Defendant Drama Queen.
Then the indictment didn’t come.
The question nobody seems to have asked is where this March 21 indictment misinformation came from. NYPD knew the Proud Boys were in town because the day before these dirtballs had had their asses handed to them by counter-protesters, some of them in drag, outside a Greenwich Village LBGTQ center hosting a Drag Story Time event for parents and kids. They left, outnumbered, bleeding and bleating, after having learned what New Yorkers already instinctively know. Don’t fuck with drag queens.
On Tuesday at the Manhattan Criminal Court, cops and counter-protesters were out in force. They didn’t need to be because the MAGA turnout was feeble at best. Several in the media noted that there were more members of the press in attendance than Trump protestors.
I strongly suspect it was Bragg who punked Trump through his lawyers. There are at least three good reasons for why he would have done so. One would be to determine the the size of a crowd backlash and to identify its ringleaders ahead of time. Another would be to give NYPD a dry run for its security protocols before the real announcement.
The third reason is my favorite: if Trump engaged in a repeat of his inflammatory January 6th rhetoric (which he did on cue) Bragg could present that at Trump’s arraignment and use it to demand conditions to his release, up to and including contesting his ROR (basically a no-bond unconditional release). Bragg could argue that Trump is a threat to public order and that his rhetoric could poison the jury pool. He might petition the court to confine Trump to house arrest at Trump Tower and/or ban him from making any public statements before trial. Violation of any of these conditions could leave Trump’s fate solely in the judge’s hands, which includes remanding him to Riker’s Island to join his former CFO, Alan Weisselberg.
This is what happened with Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, after he tried to tamper with a witness while he was awaiting trial.
Whether or not a judge sees it that way remains to be seen. Whatever, Trump is in for a very long overdue wakeup call. His daddy can’t bail him out of this, his banks can’t offer him a soft landing and the Republican Party can’t run interference for him even though dummies like Jim Jordan think it can. Trump’s near and long-term fate will now be up to a NYC judge and eventually a Manhattan jury, only 9% of whom voted for this loser in 2016. Rudy can’t help him, Lindsey can’t help him, even an apologetic Fox News can’t help him. He’ll have to trust only his lawyers and we know how bad he is at doing that. So does Bragg.
Granted, this case is supposed to be the weakest of the five active criminal investigations into Trump’s sleazy behavior but CNN announced that there are 34 counts in this indictment. 34?? That sounds like a significantly larger case than just a falsified document charge. What are the other 33?