District Attorney Fani Willis (Alyssa Pointer/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS).
District Attorney Fani Willis (Alyssa Pointer/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS)

OPINION: Trump’s future in the hands of four Black public officials

August 29, 2023

In September 2021, Attorney General Letitia James filed a $250 million civil suit against Donald Trump. The case alleges that Trump and members of the Trump Organization misrepresented financial values for economic gain.

In April of 2023, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s indictment, alleging that Trump “falsified business in the first degree,” was unsealed.

In August 2023, District Judge Tanya Chutkan was named presiding judge in the Department of Justice’s election interference case against Trump. The indictment includes four counts, including “Conspiracy to Defraud the United States.”

Two weeks later, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis presented a case to a grand jury of a criminal enterprise led by Trump to overturn the 2020 election.

The unsealed indictment was returned later that night, alleging Trump in a sweeping RICO case involving several of his associates.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (Barry Williams/New York Daily News/TNS).

What it all adds up to is this: Trump’s fate is largely in the hands of three Black women and one Black man. And despite accusations that the justice system is being politicized, these public officials are using the democratic process to serve the rule of law, and they should be seen as heroes.

“I support them,” said Corinthia Morris, a mass communications senior. “I like how they’re trying to hold Trump accountable.”

“It’s a big accomplishment for us,” said Josiah Thompson, a business administration freshman highlighting the impact the Black public officials are having on the Black community. “They’re trying to put away a guy who has done a lot of bad.”

“They’re getting back what they put out,” said Kyliak X, a business administration sophomore referring to the defendants in Willis’ RICO charge. “And I don’t have a problem with it whatsoever.”

But the Republican Party has a problem with it. Historically the Republican party has claimed to be the party of “law and order”, but these days they take issue when former president Donald Trump enters the system, accused of breaking the law.

District Judge Tanya Chutkan (United States Courts/ The New York times/ Redux).

In all, Trump faces 91 counts.

These include racketeering, witness tampering, conspiracy against the rights of citizens, and obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding, willful retention of national defense information, obstruction withholding or altering documents, conspiracy against civil rights, and more.

According to Artemesia Stanberry, an NCCU associate professor of political science, the Republican party has used the law and order bullhorn to fearmonger.

“Law and Order has been a formula for winning politics. But when your candidate denies that he lost, coupled with the things he allegedly did in the indictments, it’s no longer about freedom of speech,”  Stanberry said.“It’s a strategy for winning,”

New York Attorney General Letitia James speaks during a press conference at the office of the Attorney General on July 13, 2022, in New York City. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images/TNS).

The hypocrisy of the GOP is evident. Attorney General Letitia James and District Judge Tanya Chutkan have, in the past, received Republican support.

George Pataki, former Republican Governor of New York, appointed James to her first stint as Assistant Attorney General.

And while Chutkan was an Obama appointee, the Senate unanimously confirmed her, including all its Republican members.

Lindsey Graham, a Senator from South Carolina who recently accused Chutkan of being a “Trump-hating Judge,” was one of the Republican Senators who supported her nomination to the District Court of D.C.

“Was she a Trump-hating judge then?” Stanberry asked. “You thought she was sane for that position. What changed?”

The defendant, that’s what changed. A defendant with a political juggernaut behind him, his cult-like base. But that shouldn’t matter. The rule of law should apply to everyone, including a former president.

Stanberry also draws comparisons between now and the age of Reconstruction.

“We glossed over the South and ended up living with the consequences for the next 100 years. We can’t do that now.”

And it looks like these heroes are different. Despite the accusations and threats, none are shying away from their duties.

Stanberry says these Black public officials aren’t playing politics but “doing their job.”

“That is what history is going to show in the long term.

 

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