Trump and court cases, by Afe Babalola

Date:

IN recent times, the world media have been inundated with news about many criminal cases against former American President, Donald Trump. Some of these cases are already in court while hearing had actually commenced in two of them.

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Donald Trump was the President of America between November 9, 2016, and 2020. He was acknowledged by many as an outspoken and active President. One thing which stands him out among all other former American Presidents is his burning desire and passion ‘‘to make America the clear leader among other nations”. This earned him majority support of the White American voters, including many non-Americans in developing countries.

It was his policy of making America first that led him to build a wall between America and Mexico purposely to ward off numerous Mexican illegal immigrants. As expected, there were protests against the building of the wall both in the US and Mexico, but the Trump you know never gave up.

Again, in order to reduce unemployment, he made stricter laws against immigrants from all other parts of the world. Naturally, the non-Americans were unhappy about this but he went ahead.

As expected he also made a lot of friends on his stand against Russia and China. Several times, he made it known that Putin would not have dared to attack Ukraine if he was President. It is a well-known fact that Putin openly defied the Pope’s advice, the Security Council directive and the Judgement of the World Court at The Hague and went ahead to inflict irreparable damages, including loss of lives and limbs, on Ukraine. He also repeated that Iran would not have dared to attack Israel, with hundreds of missiles if he was the President.

His actions generally earned him enemies at home and abroad. Indeed, many were surprised when he indicated interest to run for a second term as American President even though he lost to the incumbent President, Joe Biden.

As at now, the polls are in his favour with many people wanting to return him to power.

Surprisingly, a number of cases were filed against him after he declared his intention to run for the Presidency: These included the hush money scheme trial in Manhattan to silence his alleged mistress before the 2016 election. The former President is also facing three other criminal trials in the Federal Court and in Georgia for what has been described as “arguably weightier crimes” of election interference, conspiracy and mishandling classified documents at his Florida Estate after he left the White House.

A. The hush money scheme:

Two women, Karen McDougal, a Playboy model, and Stephanie Clifford, who later became famous in the adult-film industry as Stormy Daniels, were said to have had affairs with President Trump years before he ran to become the American President in 2016.

To conceal information about their affairs, Karen McDougal was allegedly paid the sum of $150,000 while Stephanie Clifford (Stormy Daniels) was also allegedly paid $130,000 by Trump’s “Man Friday”, Michael Cohen, to sign a non-disclosure agreement about her encounters with Trump.

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While a hush money payment may not necessarily be illegal, Cohen admitted that “Trump broke laws by making these payments in an effort to hide unflattering information (about Donald Trump) before the 2016 election”.

B. Election interference:

This matter came to the fore in August when former President Trump was indicted in Washington on felony charges for allegedly working to overturn the results of the 2020 election in the run-up to the violent riot by his supporters at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.

The four-count indictment includes charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States Government and conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding: the congressional certification of Joe Biden’s victory. It said that Trump repeatedly told supporters and others that he had won the election despite knowing that the claim was false. Trump had described how he tried to persuade state officials, then Vice-President Mike Pence, and finally the Congress, to overturn the legitimate results.

After a week-long campaign about the election results, prosecutors alleged that Trump sought to exploit the violence at the Capitol by pointing to it as a reason to further delay of the counting of votes that sealed his defeat and electoral fate.

C. Conspiracy and mishandling classified documents at his Florida Estate after he left the White House

This was made known when Trump was indicted for mishandling top secret documents at his Florida Estate. The indictment alleged that Trump repeatedly enlisted his aides and lawyers to hide records demanded by investigators and disdainfully showed off a Pentagon “plan of attack” and classified map.

In this article, I intend to concentrate on the “hush money charge”. The ordinary meaning of hush money charge is “bribe to maintain secrecy”.

Sex between consenting adults

It is a notorious fact that sex between consenting adults is done in private. In a case where a woman and a man chose to have sex, it is presumed that both would do it in secret and not in the open and that both would put their tongues within their cheeks when the act is completed. It is generally not a newspaper affair.

If it was something a woman did not consent to or which she did not intend to keep secret, why did she not cry out as soon as the deed was done? If a party is “forced” or “raped”, the law expects the victim to protest as soon as he or she has the opportunity to do so.

In the cases of the two women involved in this Trump case, the issue of sex took place several years ago and in secret. Issue of rape did not arise. They kept quiet for years.

They had sex and they went their different ways. The women decided to come out when they heard that Trump wants to run for the Presidency again.

From experience, no court would take them as reliable witnesses.

Even if the media approached them on the matter, one expects that they should refuse to disclose the sex done in private many years ago.

On Trump’s part, I am of the view that he should not have succumbed to the threat that the sex issue should not be published. After all, it is not an offence for a President to admire a lady or have sex with a lady if she consents. Is the President not human? This is moreso in that there is no evidence that he forced the ladies to have sex. As I stated earlier, most people would treat them as cheap and unreliable women.

Conclusion:

I am of the personal view that Donald Trump was wrong to have offered them money – whether as “hush money” or otherwise. No offence was committed when two consenting adults had sex.

That was my view during the President Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky saga. I wrote then that it was not an offence for Clinton to admire the beautiful secretary. Morals apart, the act did not in any way hinder the performance of his national and international duties as American President.

*Please send your comment/ contribution to president@abuad.edu.ng


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