The Mahablog

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The Mahablog

Lots and Lots of Legal Jeopardy for Trump

Yesterday, in the carnival sideshow known as the “U.S. House of Representatives,” Marjorie Taylor Greene held up posters showing Hunter Biden in sexually explicit activities. She was “uncomfortable” showing nude photos of President Joe Biden’s son, she said, but “the American people deserve to see” them. Our tax dollars at work.

But what did the American people do to deserve Hunter Biden dick pics? Enquiring minds want to know.

Greene was attempting to claim that H.B. was engaging in trafficking and had claimed payments to sex workers as tax writeoffs. However, her only proof was … dick pics. I’m not sure that Greene quite grasps the concept of “proof.”

Kevin McCarthy did not reprimand Greene. But then, McCarthy has his own problems. Politico is reporting that McCarthy has promised Trump that the House would vote to “expunge” his two impeachments. The Constitution doesn’t provide a process for doing that, but whatever. And he’s supposed to do this before the August recess. But even some Republicans think it’s likely the vote would fail.

Trump had another great day in criminal justice yesterday. One judge denied his motion to move Alvin Bragg’s hush-money prosecution to a federal court. Said the judge,

Hellerstein found that the allegations pertained to Trump’s personal life, not presidential duties that would have merited a move to federal court.

“The evidence overwhelmingly suggests that the matter was a purely a personal item of the President — a cover-up of an embarrassing event,” Hellerstein wrote in a 25-page ruling. “Hush money paid to an adult film star is not related to a President’s official acts. It does not reflect in any way the color of the President’s official duties.”

Another judge denied Trump’s request to have E. Jean Carroll’s first suit against him re-tried. And the judge said other things Trump probably didn’t want to hear.

After Donald Trump was found liable for sexually abusing and defaming E. Jean Carroll, his legal team and his defenders lodged a frequent talking point.

Despite Carroll’s claims that Trump had raped her, they noted, the jury stopped short of saying he committed that particular offense. Instead, jurors opted for a second option: sexual abuse.

“This was a rape claim, this was a rape case all along, and the jury rejected that — made other findings,” his lawyer, Joe Tacopina, said outside the courthouse.

A judge has now clarified that this is basically a legal distinction without a real-world difference. He says that what the jury found Trump did was in fact rape, as commonly understood.

Of course it was. E. Jean Carroll will probably file a second lawsuit against Trump for the smack he talked about her since the first one.

We’re learning more about what charges Jack Smith will likely throw at Trump.

Federal prosecutors have introduced a new twist in the Jan. 6 investigation by suggesting in a target letter that they could charge former President Donald J. Trump with violating a civil rights statute that dates back to the post-Civil War Reconstruction era, according to three people familiar with the matter.

The letter to Mr. Trump from the special counsel, Jack Smith, referred to three criminal statutes as part of the grand jury investigation into Mr. Trump’s efforts to reverse his 2020 election loss, according to two people with knowledge of its contents. Two of the statutes were familiar from the criminal referral by the House Jan. 6 committee and months of discussion by legal experts: conspiracy to defraud the government and obstruction of an official proceeding.

But the third criminal law cited in the letter was a surprise: Section 241 of Title 18 of the United States Code, which makes it a crime for people to “conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person” in the “free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States.”

Congress enacted that statute after the Civil War to provide a tool for federal agents to go after Southern whites, including Ku Klux Klan members, who engaged in terrorism to prevent formerly enslaved African Americans from voting. But in the modern era, it has been used more broadly, including in cases of voting fraud conspiracies.

A Justice Department spokesman declined to discuss the target letter and Mr. Smith’s theory for bringing the Section 241 statute into the Jan. 6 investigation. But the modern usage of the law raised the possibility that Mr. Trump, who baselessly declared the election he lost to have been rigged, could face prosecution on accusations of trying to rig the election himself.

Heh. Emptywheel:

The recent news that Jack Smith has subpoenaed the security footage from the State Farm arena vote count location in Georgia, taken in conjunction with Trump’s efforts in places like Michigan — where his efforts focused on preventing a fair count of Detroit, where he had actually performed better than in 2016, rather than Kent County, the still predominantly white county where he lost the state — is a reminder that Trump and his mobs, many associated with overt white supremacists like Nick Fuentes, aggressively tried to thwart the counting of Black and Latino people’s votes. It was the same play Roger Stone used when he sent “election observers” to Black precincts in 2016, just on a far grander scale, and backed by the incitement of the sitting President.

In other news, some fascists in Florida are trying to ban Arthur’s Birthday from Clay County schools. Will Pat the Bunny be next?