Donald Trump goes scorched earth, embraces media coverage of criminal cases

 November 20, 2023

Faced with a long stretch of court dates next year, presidential candidate Donald Trump is embracing intense media coverage of his criminal trials. 

Over the past several weeks, Trump has capitalized on the publicity of his civil fraud trial in New York to get his message out, and he is likely to do the same when his criminal trials - some of which are likely to be televised - begin next year.

Trump's strategy

The earliest case, for "election subversion," is set to begin March 3 in Washington D.C.

While some Democrats, such as Adam Schiff (D-Ca.), have supported televising proceedings against Trump, some appear to be wary of giving Trump opportunities to score public sympathy in what many have described as a show trial.

Biden Justice Department prosecutor Jack Smith is fighting Trump's request to televise the D.C. trial, warning that Trump wants to sully the proceeding with a "carnival atmosphere."

Trump wants to "try his case in the courtroom of public opinion, and turn his trial into a media event," Smith complained.

Trump's lawyers say that Smith has something to hide, and the public is entitled to transparency in a high-profile case pitting Trump against the government of his political opponent.

“The prosecution wishes to continue this travesty in darkness. President Trump calls for sunlight,” Trump’s lawyers wrote. “Every person in America, and beyond, should have the opportunity to study this case firsthand and watch as, if there is a trial, President Trump exonerates himself of these baseless and politically motivated charges.”

Trump defiant

Trump is also facing a state case for "election subversion" in Georgia that is expected to be televised.

Trump dropped a bid last week to move his "hush money" case in New York to federal court, which raises the possibility the trial will be televised.

Under normal circumstances, federal cases cannot be televised - but of course, there is nothing ordinary about the criminal prosecution of an American president.

Trump has regularly blasted the cases against him, often disparaging the judges and prosecutors involved and accusing them of a political motive.

Trump has made a number of stops in New York to deliver that message directly to reporters throughout his civil fraud case, and even lambasted the judge, Arthur Engoron, and the prosecutor Letitia James during defiant testimony.

Even as he faces possible jail time and the loss of his business in "rigged" courtrooms, Trump has been ordered to rein in his campaign rhetoric from judges like Engoron and D.C. judge Tanya Chutkan, who have accused Trump of endangering court staff.

Trump has said he is only being prosecuted because he poses a threat to Joe Biden's re-election in 2024, which has been thrown into doubt by recent polls.

Biden is facing broad skepticism of his age and widespread dissatisfaction with his job performance, especially on the economy.

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