All Eyes on the Legal System, Again
From the Rittenhouse And Arbery Jury Verdicts to the Smollett And Maxwell Trials This Week - And More - These Are Interesting Times For Our Legal System. Here's a Primer on the Week Ahead
You are forgiven for being distracted from the slow-motion train wreck unfolding before our eyes as it descends upon the US Capitol. Why watch politicians arguing over a massive inflation-inducing, pork-infested spending package wrapped in a looming debt-limit crisis when you can watch jury trials? At least it may be more fun to watch than more media and government fear-mongering over the Xi - excuse me - Omicron coronavirus variant. We must not offend our would-be overlords.
Two verdicts last week affirmed our jury system. Everyone knows that Kyle Rittenhouse’s acquittal was followed up by the convictions of three Georgia men in the murder of Ahmad Arbery. The winner was justice; the biggest winners may be the jurors themselves, who at least in the Rittenhouse trial withstood attempts to intimidate them. Kyle is a winner, too, but he will suffer consequences for many years to come.
The losers were legion, led by scores of delusional, narrative-pushing media personalities and their unquestioning, equally-deluded followers, coupled with grifting political operatives who feed media with false information. People are dead, and the trajectory of dozens of lives is forever altered, long after the cameras move on to the next “mostly peaceful protest.”
The frustration, of course, comes from the disconnect between early reports of alleged crimes to the reality that ultimately emerges. It proves the old adage that a lie gets halfway around the world while truth puts its boots on.
Americans have long been transfixed by jury and criminal trials, both real and imagined. There’s a reason “whodunit” murder mysteries, trials involving “Ponzi schemes,” police shows (Hill Street Blues), and crime-fighting television programs (Perry Mason, Matlack, et al.) have long been incredibly popular with media consumers since television became a thing. And even before (Dick Tracy et al.). They usually involve very colorful people in communities everywhere with a winning media formula - a victim, a criminal, someone being right or wrong, a pursuit of justice, gripping visuals, and sensational headlines. “Florida man” is often involved.
So buckle up because the courts - including the US Supreme Court - are center stage again this week.
Two “celebrity” trials began Monday, starting with the lurid underage sex crimes alleged of Ghislaine Maxwell, the late Jeffrey Epstein’s paramour and partner accused of trafficking underage girls for sex with famous and often very wealthy older men from Bill Gates to Prince Andrew. We’ve all heard the stories about the brilliant former math teacher being an FBI informant who “didn’t kill himself” in his badly-supervised New York federal prison. He hosted former President Bill Clinton several times at “Epstein Island.” Maxwell’s pre-trial detention has been somewhat more supervised. Interesting things are said, “under oath.” This is likely a good week for the cottage industry of “crisis public relations” experts. Perhaps we will hear again from famous Clinton-fixer Lanny Davis.
Credit Davis for the best “crisis communications” advice I’ve heard: “Tell it all, tell it early, and tell it yourself.” Sadly, that rarely happens, courtesy of defense lawyers, at least when crimes are alleged. In fairness, you do have a right to remain silent. And another one against self-incrimination. You know the thing.
The real story here may not be what happens to Maxwell, but to the people who were part of Epstein’s circle and the victims who were trafficked to “entertain” them. Conspiracy theories are already legion concerning just how wide - and how high - child sex trafficking networks go. Exposing and eradicating all involved would obviously be an excellent consequence. We’ll see.
Also beginning today is the fraud trial of actor Jussie Smollett. Daily Wire lays the foundation for an event that occurred three years ago.
In January 2019, Smollett claimed he was walking alone at night in Deep Blue Chicago during a polar vortex when two supporters of former President Donald Trump — who apparently happened to be carrying rope and bleach in the event they saw someone to attack that particular night — recognized him and brutally attacked him while yelling racial and homophobic slurs.
Smollett returned to a friend’s home and called the police, still wearing the noose that was apparently placed around his neck from his attackers. His story didn’t seem plausible on its face, as it is unlikely that such big supporters of Trump were fans of “Empire” to the extent that they knew Smollett was gay and where he would be in order to attack him.
It was later reported that Smollett hired two brothers whom he had previously worked with to stage the attack to raise his profile and hopefully get him a raise on “Empire” and further his acting career. The brothers alleged that Smollett paid them to buy plain red hats that he later claimed were “Make American Great Again” (MAGA) hats signaling the attackers’ support of Trump.
In September 2020, Smollett insisted he was “set up” and continued to claim that he was attacked by two white men wearing MAGA hats. The brothers who said they were paid to stage the attack are black. The Daily Wire reported at the time that Smollett suddenly started claiming he had two witnesses who could prove he did not fake the attack.
After Chicago police investigated Smollett’s original claims for two weeks, they suspected he had staged the attack.
But don’t worry about poor Jussie. He’s still feted at Hollywood-style red carpet events ahead of his trial. January 6th “insurrectionists” are not so fortunate. And just as we saw with the Rittenhouse allegations, many celebrities and politicians were very quick to pass politically correct judgment and defend Jussie, including our now-current Vice President.
It wasn’t the only hoax perpetrated against Donald Trump or his supporters over the past five years. And that doesn’t even include the Trump-Russia collusion hoax about which we continue to learn much. It already qualifies as the most significant political scandal in American history as it continues to unfold. You know why - federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies conspired with Democratic party officials and the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign to influence an election and undermine a presidency. The Washington Post and New York Times have yet to return their Pulitzer prizes. or apologize for their phony reporting of the scandal, based on malign anonymous sourcing.
The last trial, of course, is Wednesday’s US Supreme Court abortion case hearing, Dobbs v. Jackson. Here’s a concise description:
In 2018, Jackson Women’s Health Organization challenged the constitutionality of Mississippi’s Gestational Age Act, which prohibits nearly all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, with limited exceptions for fetal abnormalities and medical emergencies. Both the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held that the law was unconstitutional under the Supreme Court’s precedents in Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, both of which recognized the constitutional right to pre-viability abortion.
Expect lots of theater from both pro and anti-life advocates outside the US Supreme Court on Wednesday morning. It won’t be the first time.
Don’t expect a quick decision from SCOTUS, but ignore the parsing of activists and media personalities (redundancy alert) who will look for clues from the questions by Justices of the attorneys involved. The outcomes of such landmark cases are often not announced until near the end of the court’s term in late June, just in time to influence the forthcoming November 2022 elections. And there is no shortage of significant cases this term, many of which will be announced around that same time. But this one is the big tuna since many predict it may overturn Roe v. Wade and its sister ruling, Planned Parenthood v. Casey. We’ll see.
Meanwhile, as all this unfolds this week, be wary of people donning blue or red jerseys who push early judgments and prognostications through political lenses. We’ve seen how that works out. Let the judicial system work. It did last week.
Speaking of distractions, the person most pleased might be this one. And probably his father. Best wishes to New York Post journalist Miranda Devine and her new book that publishes Tuesday, November 30. It will be tough breaking through all the media clutter, especially since major media and big tech giants squashed this story 13 months ago. A story that later proved to be true.
Charles Spurgeon and Winston Churchill were right: A lie gets halfway around the world before truth puts on its boots.