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The Star Chamber’s Chief Lawyer Remarks on the Proceedings Against Donald J. Trump

A grotesquely true satire.
The Star Chamber’s Chief Lawyer Remarks on the Proceedings Against Donald J. Trump
Protesters outside the Manhattan Criminal Court. April 4, 2023. Photo credit: SWinxy / wikipedia / CC BY-SA 4.0 DEED

A grotesquely true satire, only the part about physically meeting the star chamber ghost is made up.

I was in lower Manhattan this week, at the storied but always very dirty Criminal Courts complex. It has always seemed to me that the very architecture of the building, its persistent gray tinged hue throughout, the graffiti on the bathroom doors, the seemingly ancient floors and walls, scrubbed to dingy perfection, the failing file cabinets, all of it, is part of the humiliation which some bureaucratic overlord feels must be permanently maintained.  Franz Kafka was probably here once, if not physically, at least in spirit.

I was visiting the prosecution of Donald J. Trump, the 45th president of the United States of America, who is now leading, by huge margins, the senile and crazy man the regime installed as his replacement, in the race to become the 47th president of the United States. As a result, the regime has decided to jail Trump as soon as possible, to defame and slander him endlessly, and to relentlessly lie to the population about just about everything.  They hope that voters will be so disoriented and demoralized by this exercise that they won’t dare to vote for the man. They have abandoned the regular judicial system which, in previous times, was admired throughout the world and provided stability to the affairs of the republic, and instead installed a new model of the old Star Chamber, to administer what amounts to a psychological execution by legal means.

In the very bowels of the building, amongst the dusty case files and ancient legal books, I found the chief councilor for the old Star Chamber, taking his morning breakfast on a window ledge.  At first, I drew back because he was, indeed, a ghost, a spirit, an apparition. He looked quite out of place with his wig, his old and ruffled but still impeccably tailored English suit, his lack of corporeal mass, and his Starbucks.  Further, no one else seemed to apprehend him as they passed by with nary a New York glance.  He told me he had come here to comment on the new model and to consult, where necessary, when justice seemed to be fighting to emerge out of the tomb in which it has been buried here.  Here is how our conversation went.

“My Lord, What do you think so far of the proceedings?” I asked. (Being an American I didn’t know if that was the appropriate greeting to someone like this, but I’d seen it in the movies. He didn’t take offense.)

“Well,” he said, “the Judge, this man Juan Merchan, is superb. The law says he should not be sitting here since he is so obviously out to legally kill the defendant.  His daughter, Loren Merchan is a political consultant who posted a picture of Trump in jail as the pinned lead on her social media while working for Adam Schiff, Joe Biden, and other known haters of the defendant to make money, specifically based on developments on this case.  This violates a New York law against families of judges making money off cases before them.  There’s even more.  He maneuvered his way to try a previous case against the defendant’s businesses in which most observers thought him deliciously and grandly biased. He also somehow became the judge in Steve Bannon’s fraud case. An amazing manipulation of the docket and the possible choice of dozens of other judges, who could not be counted on for our purposes!

“I, myself, don’t know of any case in which we did better in terms of a judge’s pure arbitrariness and soft gloved legal terrorism. Another of my recent charges, that fellow Engeron, is not even in the same league.  He looks too much like a hippie and smirks about his power.  Merchan looks seriously Columbian (like a legal servant of those infamous cartels) giving him the aura of risqué gravitas necessary for our current drug-soaked elites. He really proved himself when the defendant tried to tell the world about his daughter, the dirty prosecutors, and the even more dirty witnesses for the prosecution.  Defendants can do this as some sort of sacred right, as I understand it, in your rebellious colony. So, he gagged Trump and told him he would put him in jail if he uttered anything further about this or just about anything else taking place within the sacred Star Chamber.   That was just phenomenal. I could not do better myself.”

“What about the jury?” I asked.  “Well,” he huffed, “We didn’t tolerate trials by jury in our Star Chamber. You know, we simply ruled. In fact, in our best years, we summoned jurors from throughout the land who had ruled against our wishes in the normal judicial system.  We punished them for that, putting them in the proper place. But you have a different system, so here is what I advised.

“First, ask questions of the potential jurors to find and disqualify those who like the defendant or otherwise entertain quaint notions of justice. Don’t allow questions of the potential jurors which might find those hostile to the defendant.  That hostility is, after all, what we seek.  I also told the judge to point out anybody favorable to Trump to the media, which I am assured, will work overtime to publicly pillory their reputations and warn others not to step out of line.  This advice seemed to be bullet proof, so to speak, because I was assured that there were very few Trump supporters in Manhattan. The Hasidic Jews were said to be big supporters, but Judge Merchan, in one fine stroke, just eliminated them from the jury pool!

“But, then, Trump went to Harlem, which surprised everyone, and was cheered and cheered with chants of ‘four more years,’ from the natives. The chance that someone could sneak through or change their minds as the result of this is what I am consulting on now. It seems he is posing as the new Mayor of New York during this trial, which could, of course, change everything.”

“What about the case itself?” I asked, hurriedly, as he was getting up to leave as if reminded of his next urgent appointment.  “Oh, that!” he said. “That’s the best of all. He is totally innocent. You see, he was extorted by a former porn star about an alleged one-time sexual encounter decades ago which he says never happened.  Like most rich guys, who get these shakedowns frequently, his lawyer paid off the porn star to make her go away.  Independently, both she and the lawyer swore that the so-called encounter never happened. Trump’s accountant booked these payments as legal payments, which is what they were.  Both the FEC and federal prosecutors said there was no crime here involving Trump but the lawyer, Michael Cohen, turned out to be a mobbed up serial perjurer.  That’s not my description, it’s what the federal judge overseeing his probation for convictions of lying and tax evasions said.

“Now, this DA, Alvin Bragg, first ran away from this case, but we brought him around. We brought him in and explained the facts of political survival to him, which in our book is the same as physical survival.  We said, ‘Damn it, man, be as arbitrary as possible.  This is the Star Chamber.  We’re here to invoke terror through the arbitrary use of power.’ So, he manufactured 34 felonies from each of the 34 bookkeeping entries recording the payments to the porn star.  If those were false, the law says they amount to 34 misdemeanors which cannot be prosecuted because they are outside the statute of limitations.  So, our Alvin Bragg, through arbitrary legal magic, made them into felonies by claiming the payments were made to illegally influence the presidential election.  But, the election was already over when the entries were made and the law does not countenance treating personal expenses as a campaign expense.  All of that is so completely arbitrary, unjust, and evil as to be, well, absolutely delicious!”  (He seemed to constantly conflate his remarks on good and evil with his judgment of his breakfast.)  He put down his Starbucks right next to those of the previous occupants of that basement window seat. He hopped up and strolled off, adjusting his wig and his morning coat for his next apparently urgent appointment.

I was left to ponder how exactly we got here since our Bill of Rights and our Constitution were explicitly proclaimed to destroy the Star Chamber and enshrine justice. Have they destroyed us, finally? I had to ask myself.  Or, can we extinguish now forever, his spirit, so that the Republic can be saved? At that moment I chose the latter course, determined that my fellow citizens, once duly alarmed, will do the same.