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Hitler's Post-Putsch Trial Made Him Famous— Trump Already Is Famous, But The Strategy Is The Same




On November 8-9, 1923, Hitler launched an attempted coup— the Munich Putsch or Beer Hall Putsch— to take over right-wing Bavaria (politically, the Florida of Germany at the time) and use it as a base to topple the Weimar Republic. After a rally at the Bürgerbräukeller beer hall, Hitler and his well-armed Nazi followers, marched to the Feldherrnhalle, where police resisted, sparking a brief but intense armed clash killing 16 Nazi Party members and four police officers. The next day, instead of shooting him, the authorities arrested Hitler and other prominent Nazis involved in the Putsch and charged them with treason.


While the immediate outcome of the attempted Putsch was a failure, the trial that followed increased Hitler's notoriety, giving him a platform for his extremist views, propelling him to a position where he was eventually able to take over the country. Media was far less pervasive than it is now but the trial got as much attention as the media could provide, allowing Hitler and Naziism— an older, out-of-fashion name for MAGA— to gain massive publicity. During the trial, Hitler used the courtroom as a platform to deliver impassioned speeches, present his nationalist and anti-Semitic views, and gain public attention. His charismatic performance helped raise his profile and attract supporters.


Exactly like Trump’s trial in New York will do doing today, Hitler's trial generated sympathy among nationalist and far-right sympathizers who saw him as a champion of their cause who was being bullied by what they already saw as the corrupt establishment. His prison sentence of five years was outrageously lenient, and he served only nine months before being released, having used it to reflect on the failed coup, rethink his political strategy and write Mein Kampf, basically the Nazi manifesto (and Trump’s favorite book). He focused on building a broader base of support, expanding the Nazi Party's organizational structure, and he started emphasizing a more legal and parliamentary path to power.


The whole country— the whole world— will be watching as Trump uses his trial to hold a conspiracy-theory-laden referendum on the government. He hopes to use the courtroom, the same way Hitler did— as a stage to deliver lengthy speeches and justify his actions. "Jonah Bromwich and Ben Protess: Jury selection could last two weeks or more and the trial may spill into June. Trump is expected to be in the courtroom for much of it, bringing campaign theatrics to the sober atmosphere of a criminal proceeding." Expect to hear him ranting and raving about how the trial is a Biden plot designed to wreck his campaign. Expect to hear him make wild claims and unsupported assertions every chance he gets, although I doubt he will take the stand, which would open him to cross examination and, no doubt, perjury charges.


Yesterday, a quartet of Washington Post reporters wrote that Trump’s trail strategy will be the one Roy Cohn taught him and that he’s been using for decades: deny, delay, denigrate, putting “to the test a defense strategy his lawyers have been honing for a year— a confrontational gambit that has angered the judge and could cost [Señor Trumpanzee] dearly when it comes to a verdict. Fight for every scrap of evidence. Push for every possible delay. The approach has succeeded so far in Trump’s three other pending criminal cases, potentially pushing all of them into or past November’s presidential election. Surprisingly it is in Manhattan, at a courthouse notorious for lengthy delays before many criminal trials, that the former president and presumptive Republican nominee will face his first judgment day. Trump’s defense strategy in New York is unique from the other three cases in one respect— he aims to deny involvement in the key conversations about hush money payments made through his former lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, according to people familiar with his plan… Prosecutors who have charged him with falsifying business records say the details of those conversations will help prove that Trump illegally categorized his reimbursement of Cohen as a legal fee, rather than a campaign expense. The purpose of the payments, prosecutors say, was to conceal from voters in 2016 any allegations of an extramarital tryst with Stormy Daniels, an adult-film star."


Denial is only one part of Trump’s New York strategy; delay is another. Three times last week his lawyers raced to an appeals court seeking to stall the looming trial; three times their appeals were rejected.
“He believes, as a matter of policy, all the cases should be after the election,” said David Schoen, a former Trump lawyer.
Many people facing trial do everything they can to slow the process down, knowing that witnesses’ memories can fade, prosecutors can change jobs, or public interest can evaporate. What Trump brings to such delay efforts is a megaphone and a novel argument— the unprecedented nature of putting a former president and current candidate on trial, and the still-murky possibility of get-out-of-jail free cards should he be reelected.
“Virtually all criminal defendants out on bail seek to delay their trial forever, and judges and prosecutors know that defendants for the most part have to be dragged kicking and screaming to trial,” said Ron Kuby, a veteran defense lawyer in New York.
The most surprising thing about Trump’s delay tactics, Kuby said, is that they haven’t worked well in New York compared to so many other defendants.
Trump is also trying to denigrate his accusers— everyone from New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan to District Attorney Alvin Bragg, to key witnesses like Cohen and Daniels.
Again, Trump stands out from other criminal defendants — even famous ones — in that his incessant trashing of the justice system and the people involved in charging him appear to have boosted his standing in polls and rallied his Republican base.
“Attacking the system, the fairness of it, the motives of the people prosecuting you, that is not new,” Kuby said. “But never before in history has somebody been as successful at it as Donald Trump, in terms of massive agreement with his message. I’ve never seen that before in any case with any defendant.”
Merchan has grown increasingly frustrated with Trump’s bids for delays, voicing particular displeasure with Trump’s lead lawyer, Todd Blanche.
When Blanche was hired a year ago, he told other lawyers on the defense team that the immediate goal was to slow all the criminal cases down, according to people familiar with his edict, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.
The lawyers intensified their efforts to draft numerous pretrial motions in every case, poring over each indictment for anything that would drag the process out with responses, hearings, rulings and appeals.
In many court proceedings, opposing lawyers stipulate to basic facts to avoid wasting time on minor details that aren’t really disputed. On Trump’s legal team, a decision was made to stipulate to nothing— and fight over everything, according to the people familiar with the discussions.
…When the Trump defense team strategized over the 2024 court calendar, they were least concerned about the New York case, the people familiar with the conversations said. But they won a temporary reprieve there also, thanks to a different part of their legal strategy: making far-reaching demands for access to potential evidence held by the government.
Originally scheduled to begin in March, the trial was pushed back to mid-April after federal prosecutors— who had previously charged Cohen and examined the Daniels payment— suddenly turned over more than 100,000 pages of material.
Trump’s team had subpoenaed the documentation from federal prosecutors, asking for far more than the local district attorney had originally sought.
Once those stacks of documents were provided, the defense argued that local prosecutors had not lived up to their obligations.
Trump’s lawyers demanded — and were granted — a trial delay to review the material. His lawyers have made similarly far-reaching demands for potential evidence in the other cases, and it remains to be seen whether those efforts will be fruitful for his defense team.
In New York, the strategy came with a cost: Merchan lost patience with Blanche’s accusations of prosecutorial wrongdoing. He demanded to know why the lawyer, himself a former federal prosecutor, had not subpoenaed the material months earlier.
The judge chastised Blanche for what he called “a pattern where I read certain information, I hear certain information and then I hear your interpretation of that, and it’s really different from my interpretation. And this has been frankly going on for months.”
Barring another last-ditch attempt to delay, Trump will walk into Manhattan criminal court on Monday, and lawyers will begin picking a jury.
The defendant’s immense public profile and his sharply polarizing nature will make that process difficult, said Jeffrey Bellin, a law professor at William & Mary and a former federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C. — not because jurors shouldn’t know who Trump is or have an opinion of him, but because jurors should not let those opinions influence their decision-making.
“I can’t think of a similar American trial in recent times with as difficult of jury selection as this is going to be,” Bellin said. “There are other trials with famous defendants, say the Bill Cosby trial or cases like that. But there are people who don’t have any strong feelings about Bill Cosby … they’re not going to feel strongly that he’s innocent or guilty, in the way that a lot of people not only know who Donald Trump is but have strong feelings about what should happen in these cases.”
In the city that made Trump famous, but where he is now deeply unpopular, his legal team is aiming as much for a mistrial as anything else, according to people familiar with the defense strategy. Criminal defense lawyers like to say that prosecutors need to convince 12 people in the jury box, but defendants only need to convince one, and that may be especially true in the Trump case.
Trump’s ongoing commentary on the case might be aimed at shaping public perceptions, including for prospective jurors, Bellin said. It carries risks, however. Defendants don’t typically lash out at judges, which can come back to bite them during sentencing. Denigrating the case and those involved in it could also frustrate the jury.
In a civil trial earlier this year in Manhattan, Trump’s demeanor and behavior did not seem to go over well with the jury, which ordered him to pay $83 million to the writer E. Jean Carroll after she accused him of sexually assaulting her and sued him for defamation.
As he sat in the courtroom, Trump occasionally grumbled, complained and fumed— so much so that the judge threatened to throw Trump out for defying his orders to keep quiet while Carroll testified.
Trump is already starting the hush money trial on thin ice with Merchan, who has imposed a gag order prohibiting Trump from criticizing witness, court staff and certain others. Nevertheless, the former president is expected to speak often outside court, as he did during a separate civil business fraud trial brought by Attorney General Letitia James (D).
In that case, James won a judgment of nearly half a billion dollars against him.

The NY Times also has a quartet of reporters on the case and their point is that Trump, the first former US president to stand trial on criminal charges, “thinks he can win— no matter what the jury decides. Trump will aim to spin any outcome to his benefit and, if convicted, to become the first felon to win the White House… ‘He’s been able to create the age of Trump by becoming the fist smashing into America’s sacred institutions,’ the historian Douglas Brinkley said.He added that while many Democrats hoped the trial would put an end to that, ‘Trump understands media culture well enough to really believe that as long as other people are talking about me, I win.’ In the courtroom, however, it has been quite some time since Trump won a major victory.”


The Manhattan prosecution presents distinctive threats: For now, it is the only case on track to conclude before Election Day, as Trump has managed to bog down the others in delays and appeals. And even if Trump wins back the White House, he could not pardon himself for the Manhattan charges, as he could in the two federal cases he’s facing.
The Manhattan case is also replete with mortifying personal details for Trump and his family: There’s the porn star who said she had sex with him, the former Trump fixer who paid her off and the tabloid publisher who helped him bury all manner of scurrilous stories.
To adapt his candidacy to the trial, he will essentially bring his presidential campaign to the courthouse. One person familiar with his preliminary plans described weekend events held in strategically important states near New York, including Pennsylvania, where he is holding a rally this weekend. He will conduct radio and television interviews from Trump Tower, where he is expected to stay during the trial, which will be in session every weekday except Wednesday.
Trump and the Republican Party have made the trial a staple of his campaign fund-raising. One email sent on Friday had the subject line “72 hours until all hell breaks loose!”— ominous language evocative of his social media posts before a pro-Trump mob swarmed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Trump has not since summoned a similar uprising. But the spectacle of the trial is expected to spill into the streets of Lower Manhattan, where protesters, both those who love and defend Trump and those who hate and want him convicted, will gather behind police barricades as traffic grinds to a halt.
Stephen  Bannon, the right-wing media host who is Trump’s former White House chief strategist, will have episodes of his War Room show recorded outside the courthouse. The area will be crawling with police officers and the U.S. Secret Service, and, for a few weeks, the general disruption will alter the flow of life on the city’s downtown streets.
The atmosphere will be less raucous and more tense inside the courtroom, under the watchful eye of the presiding trial judge, Juan Merchan, who is known for his strict control of proceedings. There, while the Secret Service and much of the press corps remain glued to Trump’s every move, prosecutors from the Manhattan district attorney’s office will tell the story that they hope will lead the jury to convict Trump.
…Trump has falsely claimed that Bragg is following orders from President Biden to prosecute him. He has assailed Bragg, who is Black and a Democrat, as a “racist” and sought to change the conversation by blaming the district attorney for violent crime in New York City— even though murders and shootings have gone down during Bragg’s tenure.
At Bragg’s request, Justice Merchan recently imposed a gag order on Trump, barring him from attacking witnesses, prosecutors and jurors. After Trump took aim at Justice Merchan’s daughter, a Democratic political consultant, the judge expanded the gag order to include his own family.
Trump has pressed the judge to step aside, citing his daughter’s career. Justice Merchan has already rejected one such request, noting that a judicial ethics panel concluded last year that he had no real conflict.
…The case could be won or lost during jury selection, in the next two weeks. The expectation is that many potential jurors will be Manhattan Democrats with animus for Trump. The former president’s lawyers are hoping to spot sympathizers and will focus on younger Black men and white working-class men.
But Trump may struggle even with sympathetic jurors if he chooses to testify. At the civil fraud trial, the judge— who decided that case instead of a jury— was not impressed.
He “rarely responded to the questions asked, and he frequently interjected long, irrelevant speeches,” the judge wrote in his decision, adding, “His refusal to answer the questions directly, or in some cases, at all, severely compromised his credibility.”

Writing for the L.A. Times yesterday, UCLA law professor Rick Hasen noted that Special counsel Jack Smith’s election interference case pending in Washington is the most important of the Trump cases; it may be the most consequential court case for democracy in the history of the United States. The former president is alleged to have tried to subvert the outcome of the 2020 election through fraud, to turn himself from an election loser into an election winner. Similar damning allegations appear in the Georgia state election interference case. And the charges against Trump in a federal court in Florida for allegedly mishandling and failing to turn over classified documents are quite serious. But the hush money case that opens Monday in New York? I have a hard time even mustering a ‘meh.’ Trump may not be convicted of a felony in the case, and if he is, there’s a reasonable chance of an eventual reversal on appeal. Besides, the charges are so minor I don’t expect they will shake up the presidential race. They may actually make that situation worse… Anything less than a felony conviction would only embolden Trump. He has already convinced a chunk of Republican voters that all the claims against him are a ‘witch hunt’; a hung jury or acquittal, or even a conviction on minor charges, would only feed the lie that all the indictments he’s racked up are bogus.”


Coming soon:



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1 Comment


Guest
Apr 15

We'll see if the judge keeps control of the trial or not. If trump ends up in a separate room where he can't be heard, maybe.


Also, this trial has nothing to do with his putsch attempt. This is about criminal fraud. The ONLY trial he may face dealing with one of his putsch schemes is in GA and it only deals with fake electors.


You seem to need to be reminded that HIS real putsch attempt, the insurrection on 1-6-2021, remains unprosecuted. Your democrap pussies doing what they always do... nothing.

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