“Once someone determined Trump was so bad it was okay to lie about him, it set the precedent that the only thing that mattered was a subject’s politics.” — Matt Taibbi

What fascinates us about sex, I suppose, is that most everyone wants it and seeks it, driven by irresistible natural impulses, and yet the act itself is such an affront to civilized decorum that it inspires both comedy and horror, two states of consciousness that are themselves irresistibly compelling. Add lawyers to all that and you find yourself entering the realm of opera bouffe, which is to say, kitsch, human expression reduced to its most self-consciously ridiculous.

Enter Stormy Daniels, that notorious pair of cumulus clouds attached to a person, who made a career in the sex industry and later on, at the age when sex workers generally face retirement, had a fresh start as a political gadfly buzzing around the mystifying hair-do of President Donald Trump. Stormy first encountered Mr. Trump in 2006 when he was a mere TV star who played in a celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe. She was hanging out there with two porn-star girlfriends. Golf nuts all, must’ve been.

Stormy managed to blow into Mr. Trump’s hotel room there, so her story goes, where she apparently teased him into a state of florid desire, while mocking him, and then obliged his advances, even developing a sort of friendship that, over a few years, included more hotel room meet-ups and promises of revamped stardom on his “The Apprentice” TV show, alas, never consummated. Strange to relate, around that time Stormy launched her own political career way before Mr. Trump made the leap into government.

But once Mr. Trump jumped into the 2016 presidential primaries and began to terrify the establishment by winning one contest after another, Stormy finagled a $130,000 hush-money payment through Trump attorney Michael Cohen to keep her big yap shut about their doings. By 2018, she hitched herself to California lawyer Michael Avenatti (now in prison) and filed a lawsuit against then-President Trump attempting to invalidate the non-disclosure agreement that came with the hush-money. Stormy also engaged a publicist, and, what do you know, The Wall Street Journal published a story about the alleged romance. By then, Stormy had launched a “publicity tour” and got herself booked on Jimmy Kimmel’s late-night talk show to discuss the allegations.

In December 2018, Stormy lost a defamation suit against President Trump filed by Mr. Avenatti, and was ordered to pay over $300,000 to Mr. Trump. Five years later, an appeals court ordered her to pay an additional $122,000 to Mr. Trump to cover his legal fees. By then, Michael Avenatti, her lawyer, was in jail in California for embezzling client funds. Various letters had emerged allegedly signed by Stormy stating that she hadn’t engaged in sex with Mr. Trump, along with Facebook conversations on her account saying the same thing.

Also, in 2018, Mr. Trump’s attorney, Michael Cohen, was busted by the FBI for tax evasion and eventually plead guilty. He was interrogated by the Mueller special counsel operation which, by a convoluted route, earned Mr. Cohen a conviction for perjury in congressional testimony. Stormy Daniels then sued Mr. Cohen for defamation but the case was dismissed. Mr. Cohen eventually served a year in prison but was released to home confinement due to the Covid-19 event.

These doings did not go unnoticed by the politicized Southern District of New York office of the DOJ and by then Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance, Jr. Both tried to construct some kind of case against President Trump on all this monkey business, but gave up because the payment of hush-money was itself not illegal between consenting parties and they could not torture the facts into a theory that would make it a crime. Also, by then, their chief witness, Mr. Cohen, had been disbarred and was officially branded a perjurer and liar.

Fast-forward to the 2020 election. “Joe Biden” manages to charm swing-state voters from his basement hide-out, moves into the puppet-theater known as the White House, and unleashes the dogs of lawfare on former president Trump so as to knock him off the political game-board for once and for all. “JB’s” Attorney General, Merrick Garland, sends Deputy AG Matthew Colangelo to work in DA Alvin Bragg’s office, to construct some kind of case out of the Stormy Daniels / Michael Cohen debris.

The result is an improbable farrago of 34 counts of falsifying business records relating to the Stormy Daniels hush-money payments, converted from misdemeanors to felonies on the theory that the falsifications were intended to conceal other election law crimes, including “influencing the 2016 election.” Each count for which Trump is convicted could result in a prison sentence of up to four years, to be served consecutively, meaning 136 years in jail.

Mr. Trump thus becomes the proverbial ham sandwich that an ambitious DA can convince a grand jury to indict. Now, Mr. Bragg has to persuade a trial jury to convict, in a courtroom presided over by one Judge Juan Merchan, Democratic Party activist and donor, whose daughter, Loren, has raised $93-million in campaign money for Democratic candidates in this November’s election. The Judge has, so far, refused to recuse himself.

The DA’s chief witness will be Michael Cohen. Donald Trump will be the first US president indicted on criminal charges. He’ll be in the courtroom many days as the trial proceeds, likely into June. Even if the trial becomes a dumpster fire for the prosecution, Mr. Trump could be convicted by a Trump-deranged New York jury. Then it’ll be onto the appeals courts. Then, the three other lawfare cases await in Georgia, Florida, and DC. Do you suppose that Americans actually take comfort in the re-election of “Joe Biden”?

This article was first published at Clusterfuck Nation

SUGGESTED ARTICLES