Lead impeachment manager Representative Jamie Raskin (D - Maryland) addresses the U.S. Senate during Donald J. Trump's second impeachment trial, February 10, 2021. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

The U.S. Senate on February 13 acquitted former President Donald J. Trump in his second impeachment trial.

Impeachment “trial” is more like it.

As citizens and historians ponder this utter travesty of “justice,” and if any such impeachment “trial” arises henceforth, it’s important to recognize how radically these proceedings depart from what happens in courtrooms across America every day. 

I have had the honor and privilege of serving as a juror on four cases in Manhattan. Three were civil actions. One was a criminal trial. In the latter, I was — by luck of the draw — Juror No. 1. This made me the foreman of my jury. This allowed me to lead the other 11 jurors and two alternates into and out of court during each session. 

As if I were in a Hollywood crime drama, I also was fortunate enough to stand up and announce our verdict — “Not guilty!” in the matter of two accused armed robbers. The evidence presented against them already was shaky. The prosecutor then detonated her own case when she taunted us with an “exhibit” — a CD recording of an NYPD dispatcher’s instructions to officers on duty during the alleged crime. The judge later told us to ignore this item, as it had not been admitted as evidence. 

As soon as we discovered in open court that the prosecutor tried to trick us, we immediately returned to the jury room, threw down a penalty flag, and voted to acquit the two suspects.

But I digress.

Former President Trump’s “trial” merits those quotation marks, given how far it was from a real trial.

Consider: 

The entire affair was presided over not by an impartial judge who left the final determination of innocence or guilt to the jury. Instead, the Supreme Court’s chief justice, who normally would have presided, refused to participate.

With the “trial” now awash in grave questions about its lack of constitutionality, Chief Justice John Roberts was replaced by Senator Patrick Leahy (D – Vermont), the President Pro Tempore. This largely ceremonial position goes to the longest-tenured member of the majority party. Leahy has been a senator since 1975! So, a liberal Democrat with 45 years of experience in the Senate acted as this case’s “judge.” 

Meanwhile, as a sitting senator, Leahy also voted as a juror. One minute, he was “on the bench,” in everything but a black robe. The next minute, he was “in the jury room,” essentially deliberating and voting with his fellow jurors.

This NEVER would happen in an American courtroom.

Judges instruct jurors in regular trials not to discuss their cases with anyone else until they confer among themselves after all evidence is offered. After cases are dismissed, then jurors may talk about their experiences at will.

In Trump’s case, senators went on TV and radio and chatted away about the evidence, the law, and what they and others thought about what was afoot.

Judges direct jurors not to speak with attorneys on either side. During breaks in the three cases on which I served (one was settled between when we were seated and the next morning, when the trial would have begun), I occasionally saw plaintiffs attorneys, prosecutors, and defense counsel in the courthouse hallways or on the sidewalks of New York during lunch recesses. We sometimes smiled silently at each other and then looked away. In other instances, we actively avoided close eye contact altogether, after spotting each other at a distance.

Compare this circumspection with what Senator Ted Cruz (R – Texas) announced on Fox News Channel during Trump’s “trial.” After arguments ended one evening, Cruz said, he grabbed GOP senators Lindsay Graham of South Carolina and Mike Lee of Utah. These three jurors then chatted with former President Trump’s attorneys for 45 minutes to an hour, Cruz said. They discussed the facts of the case, various legal strategies, and how Team Trump might prevail.

Such behavior in a real trial most assuredly would trigger a mistrial and sanctions against the attorneys, if not disbarment.

Judges tell jurors to keep their minds open and not decide on a verdict until they have heard both sides, considered all the evidence, applied the law, and deliberated with fellow jurors.

On Saturday morning February 13, even before the Senate’s surprise, bipartisan vote to hear witnesses (55 ayes to 45 nays, including five GOP senators in favor), Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky announced that he would vote to acquit President Trump.

In any real trial, these practices would trigger at least the dismissal of one or more jurors and possibly a motion for mistrial. Instead, “justice” roared on.

Eventually, Trump was acquitted by a vote of 57 votes of guilty (10 too few for conviction) and 47 not guilty. 

New York City attorney Edward Paltzik, Esq., a partner in the firm of Joshpe Mooney Paltzik LLP, contemplated Trump’s “trial” and shared my astonishment that this monstrosity was allowed to bear that sacred label.

“The biggest difference, and the most egregious aspect of the impeachment trial, are the public comments made by the “jurors” who have almost all pre-judged the outcome,” Paltzik told me. 

“Obviously this would be unheard of in a real criminal trial,” the litigator continued. “A trial in which the jurors get to talk publicly about which way they will decide before hearing all the evidence is no trial at all. It is a circus and nothing more. Like the Hippodrome in London with trapeze artists, jugglers, and elephants.”

Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News Contributor, a contributing editor with National Review Online, and a senior fellow with the London Center for Policy Research.

Subscribe
Notify of
12 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
JDAVIS951
2 months ago

WE THE PEOPLE (aka SILENT MAJORITY) have had countless opportunities to have stopped this nightmare, but we chose instead to give the DEMOCRATS what they expected of us, to REMAIN SILENT! Thus, making us equally complicit in the fraud perpetrated against United States Americans!

Isn’t it time you actually did something, took action?

I strongly urge everyone who reads this to PICK UP THE PHONE and call your REP AND SENATORS in DC and DEMAND a COMPLETE AUDIT AND INVESTIGATION into the 2020 ELECTIONS and for the IMMEDIATE IMPEACHMENT OF BIDEN AND HARRIS.

BIDEN is completely UNFIT FOR OFFICE! And they both (BIDEN & HARRIS) have family members putting them both in a CONCLICT of interest position advertising and promoting their businesses and using their VP and POTUS both as an advertising self-interest, self-promoting position and it is ILLEGAL!

People should write these numbers down and use them frequently even if you don’t think your elected officials listen, they are required to note your comments for the permanent record in their caller database for anyone to see.

Members of the House
202-224-3841

Members of the Senate
202-224-3121

TOLL FREE:
866-272-6622

One call per rep!

Keep in mind:  SILENCE = ACCEPTANCE

Patricia L Berry
2 months ago
Reply to  JDAVIS951

While you have them on the phone refer them to Mike Lindell’s docu-movie titled “Absolute Proof.” This 2 hour movie gives the proof of the fraudulent election, as told by many forensic investigators. This could be the reason they are trying to destroy Mr. Lindell. If fraud is allowed to happen both in elections and so-called impeachment process – God only knows what else these crazed demo-krats will likely pull if Biden & gang are not corralled in.
It also will take all local and state officials to stand up to this out of control government. For example on county in Missouri has passed a law to arrest and fed that tries to take away firearms. ALL states must do the same. Pass this along while you have them on the phone.

Michael Gilliam
2 months ago

In defense of the Republican “Jurors” who predicted the outcome during the breaks, they were merely treating this farce with the same amount of respect for “due process” that democrats showed which was NONE WHAT SO EVER.

2 months ago

Add to that the admission of mostly hearsay evidence. Statements taken out of context. Video montages created with selected and prejudicial images, The complete absence of witnesses. The lack of any legal definition or evidence for the stated crime. The fact that the Constitution does not give Congress the authority to convict of any crime, only to determine if a crime committed by a current office holder rises to the level of an impeachable offense and he qualifies for the one and only ‘sentence’ prescribed by the Constitution–removal from office and disqualification from holding a future office. A sentence that cannot be applied to a former officer holder.

Frances Weingarten
2 months ago

It’s really quite shocking just how far people will go to get what they want– rilghtly or wrongly! In this trial, they made a large number of missteps to get to whatever it was that they wanted!

Scotty
2 months ago

If Congress can railroad a former President, just imagine what they will do to YOU. Your First Amendment rights are just about gone. Your Second Amendment rights are next. Then the rest of the Bill of Rights will fall. When Justice means JUST US , America may soon find itself in another civil war!

DAVID TULL
2 months ago

We have lost our great Nation to socialist thugs

Sherry Chase
2 months ago

Are the demorats team gonna be held accountable for doctoring evidence? That’s right they are Above the Laws 😡

Frances Weingarten
2 months ago

Well put Deroy Murdock! The trial for pres. Trump was a disgrace to him and the American people! It was very positive to read the actuality of the so-called “impeachment trial”! All those involved in so sordid an attempt to destroy a very suitable President should be not only thoroughly ashamed of themselves but prepared to be relieved from their duties in Congress!

Gerry
2 months ago

That’s because it was just another demoRAT 3ring circus act carried out by a bunch of clowns.

Todd Nelson
2 months ago

prosecuting attorneys are not allowed to doctor evidence and change videos in a real “trial”. I didn’t think that was allowed in a impeachment “trial” either, but the democrats in this sham impeachment were only there to try to make Mr. Trump look bad because they knew they would never have the votes to convict him

Todd Nelson
2 months ago

The reason there were no witnesses was twofold. The house idiots persecuting a private citizen were told that, if there were going to be witnesses, then the Trump team was going to produce over 300 to give the evidence of the stolen election to the senate “trial” They would be allowed to present the evidence that all the courts said had no “standing”. It all got standing when the house impeachers, and Cocaine Mitch, called it all a lie. But those witnesses would have to wait their turns because the 1st witness to be called would have been Nancy Pelosi