Trump mocked for his ‘ignorance’ as he rails against standard criminal trial process

Donald Trump is being mocked after he launched into a fiery rant about a very simple, common process in a criminal trial.

On the eve of closing arguments in his hush money trial in Manhattan, the former president took to Truth Social to complain that the prosecution is being a “big advantage” in the case.


What Mr Trump fails to understand is that this is the typical procedure for almost every criminal trial.

The defense will give its closing argument first, followed by the prosecution.

The state will have one last chance to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr Trump not only falsified business records, but did so with the intent to commit or cover up another crime.

By contrast, defense attorneys do not have to prove anything or convince jurors of Mr Trump’s innocence; they only need to convince at least one juror that prosecutors have not proved his guilt beyond reasonable doube.

Social media users were quick to point out that Mr Trump has overlooked this standard part of trial procedure in his Truth Social post on Monday night.

“Donald Trump learning in real time how trial procedures work in virtually every criminal court,” Politico senior legal affairs reporter Kyle Cheney said in a post on X.

Stormy Daniels testifies in Trump’s hush money trial (AP)
Stormy Daniels testifies in Trump’s hush money trial (AP)

“Prosecutors typically get a rebuttal during closings because burden of proof lies with them, not defense.”

Even Mr Trump’s former attorney Jenna Ellis, who was also indicted alongside him in his criminal case in Georgia, chimed in, too.

“I’m sure his lawyers advised him of the procedures and why, but he didn’t listen and doesn’t care,” she wrote.

Dr Kristy Parker, a former federal civil rights prosecutor, also accused the former president of legal “ignorance.”

“I wonder if there’s ever been a person who occupied the presidency who was this ignorant about basic principles of our criminal justice system,” she wrote. “Actually, I don’t wonder.”

Meanwhile, University of Texas Law Professor Lee Kovarsky called the post “Kafkaesque,” to which Randall Eliason, a former US attorney who teaches law at George Washington University, responded: “It’s funny how many white collar defendants develop a sudden interest in criminal justice reform.

“And btw - the answer is that because the state has the burden of proof, it gets the last word.”

Closing arguments are set to begin on Tuesday in the trial, where Mr Trump is charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records over a hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels in exchange for her silence about an alleged 2006 sexual encounter in the days leading up to the 2016 presidential election.

Donald Trump outside the Manhattan courtroom during his hush money trial (AP)
Donald Trump outside the Manhattan courtroom during his hush money trial (AP)

Mr Trump’s then-attorney and “fixer” Michael Cohen made the $130,000 payment to Ms Daniels, then Mr Trump allegedly reimbursed him – but fraudulently labeled the payments as a “retainer” and “legal expense”.

Prosecutors allege that the crimes are felonies as they were carried out in commission of another crime: to influence the 2016 election.

In opening statements, Assistant District Attorney Matthew Colangelo said Mr Trump “orchestrated a criminal scheme to corrupt the 2016 presidential election” and then “covered up that criminal conspiracy by lying in his business records, over and over and over again.”

As well as railing against the criminal justice system that all criminal defendants encounter, Mr Trump also sent out a series of other Truth Social posts about the case on Monday night, including attacking the judge presiding over his case.

“Can you imagine, a President of the United States, who got more votes than any sitting President in the history of our Country, and who is also the Republican Nominee for President in the upcoming 2024 Election, and leading in all polls against the Democrat Nominee, Joe Biden, is tomorrow going before a Corrupt and Conflicted Democrat Appointed, Acting New York Judge, on a FAKE & MADE UP CASE by a Soros backed failed D.A., and the Judge himself, to see whether or not he will become a common criminal?,” he wrote.

He continued: “According to virtually all Legal Scholars and Experts, THERE IS NO CRIME OR CASE against President Trump, and if there was it should have been brought seven years ago, not in the middle of his Campaign for President. Prosecutorial Misconduct. Election Interference!”

There is no evidence of prosecutorial misconduct or election interference in the trial.

The former president also bizarrely shared a Bible quote: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13.”