Trump charged with criminal conspiracy

Future of US democracy hangs on a 45-page PDF and a jury…

Paul Mason
7 min readAug 2, 2023

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If Jack Smith has a thousand-yard stare, there’s a reason for that. He made his legal reputation prosecuting war criminals. So we have to assume that piercing gaze has already looked into the heart of darkness.

Now, as prosecutor in the indictment of Donald Trump for conspiracy to undermine American democracy, he’s staring into a deeper abyss. Smith’s investigation into Trump has produced four counts of potential criminality. Trump, he alleges:

  • Conspired with others to obstruct the electoral college vote at state level, by initiating the selection of fraudulent college members.
  • In addition he obstructed certification of the electoral college vote;
  • He conspired with others to do so;
  • And conspired with others to “injure, oppress, threaten or intimidate” voters to prevent them exercising their right to vote.

Trump denies the charges and has the right to be considered innocent unless proven guilty. But that, in black and white, poses the question that will decide the future of American democracy:

Did Trump — by mobilising a mob, promoting fake legal opinions, promoting fraudulent electoral college wannabes, rejecting clear evidence from government lawyers, and pressuring electoral officials to “find” thousands of votes, commit three separate crimes of conspiracy?

None of the facts are in doubt. There is enough evidence to support every factual allegation in the indictment, whether or not any of the alleged co-conspirators flips.

At some time soon, alongside his criminal trials for mishandling secret documents and paying hush money, and lawsuits over an alleged pyramid scheme, Trump will stand in the dock accused of a comprehensive conspiracy to subvert the 2020 election result.

Unfortunately, he has a chance of emerging politically victorious — and in two ways.

First, a jury may accept the argument that in doing all this he was simply exercising “free speech”. The American right has already gone to great lengths to redefine all corporate activity, and even criminality, as “speech” in order…

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Paul Mason

Journalist, writer and film-maker. Author of How To Stop Fascism.