Speaker Johnson Urges Supreme Court to Overturn ‘Dangerous’ Trump Guilty Verdict
Speaker Johnson Urges Supreme Court to Overturn ‘Dangerous’ Trump Guilty Verdict

By Tom Ozimek

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) said that the U.S. Supreme Court should get involved and overturn former President Donald Trump’s guilty verdict in his business records falsification trial in New York, with the speaker arguing that the circumstances of the case have led to an erosion of public faith in America’s justice system.

“There’s a lot of developments yet to come, but I do believe the Supreme Court should step in, obviously, this is totally unprecedented—and it’s dangerous to our system,” Mr. Johnson said in a May 31 appearance on Fox and Friends.

A jury found the former president guilty on May 30 in a case in which he was charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records in order to conceal non-disclosure payments to adult film actress Stormy Daniels as part of a bid to influence the 2016 presidential election in which he was a candidate.

The guilty verdict made President Trump the first former president in U.S. history to be convicted of a crime, with the former president vowing to appeal the verdict and calling the trial “very unfair.”

“This is a scam. This is a rigged trial … this is a rigged judge,” President Trump said at a press conference on May 31, adding that a specific election expert wasn’t allowed to testify on certain issues related to the trial.

Some legal experts have questioned whether Judge Juan Merchan’s instructions to the jury were unfairly biased toward a conviction.

While Mr. Johnson’s remarks suggest he’s calling for the Supreme Court to step in before the New York appeals court has had a chance to weigh in on the matter, that appears to be an unlikely scenario.

Hans von Spakovsky, senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation’s Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, told The Epoch Times that he understands and shares Mr. Johnson’s frustration at what he described as an obvious “miscarriage of justice” that took place in the Manhattan courtroom.

However, Mr. von Spakovsky said that the prospect of Supreme Court involvement before the appeals process plays out in New York state courts is not realistic.

“There are certainly issues that give the Supreme Court jurisdiction over the state court conviction, given the fundamental violation of Donald Trump’s substantive due process rights under the U.S. Constitution in the way the trial judge and prosecution mishandled the case,” he said. “But I don’t believe the Supreme Court will take the case until the state appeals process is exhausted.”

Appeal In Focus

President Trump’s legal team has spoken of plans to appeal, which would normally first have to go through an appeals court in New York before potentially heading to the Supreme Court.

Mr. Johnson said in his appearance on Fox and Friends that the path for an appeal to make its way to the high court would take some time but he expressed confidence that the verdict would ultimately be tossed.

“I think they’ll set this straight, but it’s going to take a while,” Mr. Johnson said. “The process takes a while to play out. The Democrats know that, of course, and they’re dragging it out. That was the whole objective. They want to try to bankrupt Donald Trump.”

While the former president has alleged that President Joe Biden was behind the prosecution, the president has denied any involvement and insisted that the trial was free of any political interference and the verdict affirms that the rule of law is alive and well in America.

“Donald Trump has always mistakenly believed he would never face consequences for breaking the law for his own personal gain,” Biden–Harris 2024 communications director Michael Tyler said in a statement after the verdict.

White House spokesperson Ian Sams said in a post on X: “We respect the rule of law, and have no additional comment.”

Mr. Johnson, who was a litigator for 20 years, said that what he saw in the Trump trial was “outrageous.”

“The American people see it,” he said in Friday’s interview. “This is a purely political exercise, not a legal one. And everybody knows that. They know intuitively that it’s wrong. And the people are outraged.”

Mr. Johnson argued that the way the trial was conducted and the guilty verdict itself are “diminishing the American people’s faith and our system of justice itself.”

“And to maintain a republic … people have to believe that justice is fair that there’s equal justice under law. They don’t see that right now,” he added.

Despite Mr. Johnson’s call for urgency in the appeals process, Mr. von Spakovsky told The Epoch Times that a request to the Supreme Court to intervene would “no doubt” be met with a response that the state court appeals process needs to play itself out before the high court will consider the case.

Judge Merchan, who sparked controversy with instructions to the jury that they didn’t need to agree on all elements of an underlying crime that was key to elevating into a felony what would normally be a misdemeanor charge, has set the former commander-in-chief’s sentencing date for July 11.

Short of a successful appeal, President Trump could now be facing such penalties as jail time, probation, or fines.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who brought the charges against the former president, has not indicted if prosecutors will seek prison time.

The sentencing is four days before the Republican National Convention where President Trump will be formally designated as the Republican presidential nominee.

While there are no laws barring President Trump from running for the White House as a convicted felon, an overturned verdict before Election Day would likely boost his chances at victory.

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