A perfect date for Trump’s trial

In setting defendant Donald Trump’s felony trial date for three weeks hence on the Stormy Daniels hush money/election inference case, Acting Manhattan state Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan said last Monday that Trump’s delays to Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s prosecution were all done. So ordered.

Of all 366 days of this year, April 15, Tax Day, is so deliciously appropriate for Trump, who at age 77, has grifted for probably 70 of those years.


On the day Trump’s trial opens and jury selection begins, President Biden will release his 2023 tax returns, a traditional act for presidents and White House contenders.

Of course, Trump was the first and only presidential candidate in a half century to not release his 1040s and it was only the House of Representatives, which had to win a case before the U.S. Supreme Court, that finally published his returns, for the tax years 2015 through 2020.

Trump is running again, but don’t expect to see him voluntarily showing the public his returns, although eight years ago, his running mate, Mike Pence, did show 10 years of returns.

Trump chroniclers who long predate his presidential adventures that began with the escalator ride into the basement of Trump Tower (a basement where there’s very little beyond two public restrooms near spots for some long-gone pay phones) the late Wayne Barrett, David Cay Johnston and Tim O’Brien, all knew many many years ago that Donald’s taxes told the real story of this gold-plated phony.

We were new to the Trump tax hunt game in 2016 when we proved using the New York STAR property tax break that the supposed billionaire’s federal adjusted gross income was less than $500,000. That’s under a half million dollars and not missing any zeroes.

And taxes, or rather, breaking New York tax law, is part of this criminal case. Bragg has charged that by hiding the payments to Daniels to remain mum about their tryst, Trump violated sections 1801(a)(3) and 1802 of state law tax.

Trump said after the court hearing that, “This is election interference. That’s all that is.” He has a point, but not about Bragg’s theoretical interference in the 2024 presidential election. In fact, the trial may interfere in the 2024 contest by boosting Trump’s popularity among his base, as his legal travails in civil and criminal court have been his best way to campaign for the Republican nomination, which he has now bagged.

However, that the trial is happening while Trump is running again for the presidency is his own affair (pun intended).

As to criminal election interference, that is exactly what Bragg is charging, related to Trump’s alleged criminal interference in the 2016 presidential election. Beside the tax law, Bragg is saying that Trump violated federal and New York campaign laws during the 2016 election by hiding his embarrassing sexual dalliance with a porn film actress.

Merchan and the lawyers for Bragg and Trump will have to find a dozen Manhattanites to fairly hear and weigh this case. Yes, it’s about a tawdry fling and successful effort to cover it up, but it’s also about if the man who was once the most powerful in the world — and may yet be again — can be held to the same standard of justice as an ordinary New Yorker.

We believe that he can be.

— New York Daily News

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