Today, Donald Trump is attending the first day of the fraud trial that he already substantially lost.
Depending on who you believe, he is either attending because he’s using his attendance to delay a deposition in his own lawsuit against Michael Cohen (who will also be a key witness in this fraud trial).
He cited this as his excuse for skipping out on 2 deposition days in his federal case against ex-lawyer Michael Cohen.
If he didn’t show up, he’d be in contempt of court.
Or, he’s using it as a way to affect the outcome — the outcome that was already substantially determined by Judge Engoron’s ruling last week, a ruling addressed in passing, without explaining how he can affect something that has already occurred.
For Mr. Trump, his attendance at trial is far more personal than political, according to a person familiar with his thinking. The former president is enraged by the fraud charges and furious with both the judge and the attorney general. And Mr. Trump, who is a control enthusiast, believes that trials have gone poorly for him when he hasn’t been present, and he hopes to affect the outcome this time, according to the person.
In his courthouse remarks, Mr. Trump lashed out at the judge’s earlier fraud ruling on his property valuations. “I didn’t even put in my best asset, which is the brand,” he said.
I think Trump is attending to spin a judgment that has already been issued as, instead, an outcome he predicted.
Days after the ruling.
Here’s how it works. On the way into the trial, Reality TV Star Donald Trump made a public statement in which he told his cult followers that the judge that the judge was rogue and the prosecutor was racist. He renewed his claim that Judge Engoron erred by using Palm Beach’s valuation (the one they made in 2011, not in 2021) rather than his boast that Mar-a-Lago is worth a billion dollars.
Few outlets reported that 77-year old Reality TV Star Donald Trump had slurred his words.
No one asked why his spouse hadn’t accompanied him to this trial. (Though this time, one of his co-defendant sons accompanied him to the courthouse.)
Few outlets reported Tish James’ comments about how no one is above the law.
Many outlets were so busy reporting on Reality TV Star Donald Trump’s statements that they didn’t explain that Trump’s Parking Garage Lawyer, Alina Habba, didn’t even try to push for a jury trial, something Judge Engoron confirmed as the trial started.
At least some of the outlets that reported Chris Kise’s arguments about valuation did not explain that those issues were already decided, in a ruling last week.
Most outlets reported that Reality TV Star Donald Trump glared at The Black Woman Prosecutor on his way out for lunch. Some also reported that she laughed that off.
On the way back in the courthouse, Reality TV Star Donald Trump made even more incendiary comments about the judge who already did and will decide his fate. Reality TV Star Donald Trump told his followers that the judge presiding over a trial that might lead him to lose his iconic Trump Tower should be prosecuted and was guilty of election interference.
Many observers clucked that such a stunt would lead the judge — the one who already ruled against Trump — to rule against him.
Trump is going to lose this trial. Know how I know? Judge Engoron already ruled against him!
But most of Trump’s followers don’t know that. Most of Trump’s followers believe that Chris Kise’s comments about valuation were still at issue. Most cult members will see Trump’s comments today — it won’t be hard, because every outlet is carrying them — and remember that before the trial, Trump “predicted” that The Corrupt Judge and The Black Woman Prosecutor would gang up on him.
Reality TV Show Actor Donald Trump used his presence at the trial to create a reality in which he will have correctly predicted a loss that was baked in last week. Because he “predicted” such an outcome, his millions of cult followers will not only treat him as more trustworthy than the journalists playing some role in Trump’s Reality TV Show, cluck-clucking about his attacks on justice without focusing on the fraud and the more fraud and the already adjudged fraud.
Not only will Reality TV Show Actor Donald Trump have “predicted” the outcome, leading his followers to renew their faith in his reliability, but they will implicitly trust his explanation: that he lost the trial not because he is, and has always been, a fraud, but instead because Corrupt Judges and Black Prosecutors continue to gang up on him.
And in the process, Reality TV Show Actor Donald Trump will have continued the big con, the very same fraud of which he has already been adjuged. He will have once again distracted from his own fantasy self-worth and instead led people to report on his golden brand.
When you let Reality TV Show Actor Donald Trump to set the stage, as journalists, you are yet more actors in his Reality TV creation.
It’s not that journalists are bad or biased or corrupt (though some of their editors are). It’s just that Trump already cast them in a role and they’re playing it to a T.