Monday, March 25, 2024

Why Justice is Blindfolded

Jimmy Kimmel

On Oscar night, Jimmy Kimmel read out a scathing review of his performance as host of the ceremonies.  He then informed the audience that the review came from none other than Donald Trump.  In response, Kimmel quipped< "Isn't it past your jail time?"  Jimmy was exactly right.  In addition to running for president, for which he should never have been allowed to do, Trump faces countless legal challenges and felony charges.  Why would he even have time to attack Jimmy Kimmel?  The answer is that he is so deranged that he has to attack anyone who criticizes him or does not support him.  In his world, you are either a Trumper or a Never Trumper.  Never Trumpers must be attacked and destroyed.  

It's more than past time for Trump to finally face accountability for his words and actions.  If found guilty by a jury, he should go directly to prison.  There should be no Jail Free Card for a sitting president or a former president.  Michael Cohen, Trump's former personal lawyer and "fixer."  He pleaded guilty to eight counts, including campaign-finance violations, tax fraud, and bank fraud.  Cohen claimed he broke campaign-finance laws, at Trump's direction, for the purpose of influencing the 2016 presidential election.  In December of 2018, Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison and a $50,000 fine,  He was also disbarred from practicing law in the state of New York.  In May of 2019, he reported to a federal prison.  In November of  2021, he completed his sentence.

Paul Manafort, a long-time Republican campaign consultant, chaired Donald Trump's presidential campaign from June to August 2016.  In March 2019, Manafort was sentenced to 47 months (almost four months) in prison for defrauding banks and the government, as well as failing to pay taxes on the  millions he earned as a consultant for Ukrainian politicians.  In May of 2020, due to the danger of COVID-19, Manfort was released to home confinement.  On December 23, 2020, he was pardoned by Donald Trump, his good buddy.  

Cohen aul Manafort are convicted felons.  They were sent to prison for crimes they committed in support of  Trump or to enrich themselves.  Yet Trump has managed to delay his day of reckoning.  That has been his grand strategy.  If he delays long enough, he hopes to evade justice through presidential immunity.  What gives hm the right to think he should be treated differently from anyone else?  No one, not a king, president, vice president or prime minister is above the law.  The United States Declaration of Independences states clearly, "All men are created equal."  It does not say that some are more equal than others.  Lady Justice is blindfolded for a good reason.


Traditionally, justice has been depicted as a blindfolded woman holding scales and a sword. The scales represent a fair balance of arguments in a legal case.  The doble-edged sword signifies that judgements can go either way, depending on the evidence and circumstances brought forth by both parties in a dispute.  The blindfold is intended to show that justice is impartial and should be delivered without regard to wealth, power or social status.  In an ideal justice system, impartiality and objectivity are paramount,  Therefore, the American justice system should treat Donald Trump no differently from anyone else. 

In April of 2023, Trump became the first sitting or former president to appear in court to face criminal charges.  He was criminally indicted in a New York investigation into a hush money payment made to adult film star Stormy Daniels.  The payment, engineered by Michael Cohen, was made to protect Trump's presidential campaign from further scandal after his disastrous Access Hollywood  interview, in which he bragged about his ability to sexually abuse women.

Donald Trump claims that he has absolute immunity from being charged or jailed, even though he led a violent insurrection against the government of the United States on January 6, 2021.  He continually paints himself as the innocent victim of numerous witch hunts.  He contends that he has done nothing wrong, despite his criminal activities.  The fact is a large number of world leaders have been charged  or imprisoned, gong way back in history, including King Charles I  of England, who went on trial for treason against the state or "levying war against Parliament and the People."  Charles was found guilty and executed in 1649, so let's discuss some world leaders who have been imprisoned for crimes in more recent times.


Ivo Sanader

* In 2020, Ivo Sanader, the former prime minister of Croatia was found guilty of corruption.  He was sentenced to eight years in prison and is currently serving out his sentence.


* On August 1, 2013, Silvio Berlusconi, former prime minister of Italy was convicted of tax fraud.  He received a four-year prison sentence and was prohibited from holding public office for two years.  Due to his age (he was 76), Berlusconi was exempted from direct imprisonment.  He served his sentence by doing unpaid community service.  Berlusconi died on June 12, 2023.

Jacques Chirac

Nicolas Sarkozy

* Two former French presidents were convicted of corruption.  In 2011, Jacques Chirac was convicted of corruption and given a two-year suspended prison sentence.  Chirac died in 2019.  In 2021, another former French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, was convicted of corruption and influence peddling in two separate cases.  He received a sentence of three years in prison, two of them suspended and one in prison.  In May of  2023, Sarkozy lost his appeal against the conviction.  His three-year prison sentence was upheld, with two years suspended and the final year under home confinement with an electronic bracelet rather than in prison.

Moshe Katsav

Ehud Olmert


* In 2011, Moshe Katsav, the former president of Israel, received a seven-year jail sentence for rape and other sexual offences.  Katsav served just over five years of his sentence.  In 2015, former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert was convicted of fraud, breach of trust and tax evasion. The following year, Olmert was sentenced to 27 months in prison.  He served two-thirds of his sentence.  The current Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is on trial for fraud, breach of trust and corruption.  He was indicted in 2019 in cases in which is charged with receiving gifts from wealthy friends and granting regulatory favours for media magnates in return for favourable coverage.

Jacob Zuma
* Former South African president, Jacob Zuma, was the the defendant in an ongoing corruption trial.  Zuma, who was president form 2009 until 2018, when he resigned under pressure  In December 2007, Zuma was chosen African National Congress (ANC)  president.  Later that month, he was recharged with money laundering, racketeering and tax evasion.  Despite many allegations of wrongdoing, which his supporters regarded as politically motivated, Zuma remained popular within his party.  In September of 2008, those charges were dismissed due to a legal technicality.  However, prosecutors vowed  to appeal the ruling, upsetting the ANC.  Weeks before the 2009 South African general election, the corruption charges against Zuma, as well as allegations of political interference, were spotlighted.  Nevertheless, the ANC won the election handily and Zuma became the country's president.

In June of 2021, Zuma was found to be in contempt of the Constitutional Court for refusing to take part in commission hearings.  He was arrested and sentenced to 15 months in jail.  He began serving his sentence in July, but in August underwent surgery for an undisclosed medical issue.  The following  month, he was granted medical parole and was permitted to serve the rest of his sentence from home.

Lee Myung-bak 

Park Geun-hye

* In 2020, former South Korean president Lee Myung-bak was sentenced to 17 years in prison for bribery and embezzlement. In 2022, he was pardoned.  Another former president, Park Geun-hye, the first female to hold the position, was convicted in 2018 of charges related to bribery and coercion.  She received a 15-year prison term, but was pardoned in 2021.  

The conviction and imprisonment of a current or former president is not a novel event outside the United States.  The notion that any president or former president is absolutely immune to criminal prosecution is contrary to the impartiality which Lady Justice must upheld.  No, Donald Trump, you cannot shoot and kill someone on Fifth Avenue with impunity, even if your supporters won't hold it against you.

- Joanne