Analysis & Comment

Opinion | The Trump Spectacle in a Manhattan Courtroom

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To the Editor:

Re “Trump Pleads Not Guilty to 34 Felony Counts” (, April 4):

Whether one loves or detests Donald Trump, the spectacle of a former president appearing in a Manhattan courtroom to answer to criminal charges is tragic from a historical perspective. It forever tarnishes and diminishes the office of the presidency and, by extension, the nation itself.

It is one thing for a commander in chief to be thought of as incompetent, misguided or overwhelmed. It is quite another to contemplate outright criminality.

As much as I abhor Mr. Trump’s policies and political point of view, I sincerely hope that he did not engage in criminal conduct, despite his less than stellar ethical track record. Such a legal finding would significantly undermine America’s hard-earned moral standing with the rest of the world, from which it may never recover.

Mark Godes
Chelsea, Mass.

To the Editor:

I am no fan of Donald Trump. But he, like all other criminal defendants, is entitled to the presumption of innocence.

As an ex-president he should be held to neither a higher nor lower standard of proof — beyond a reasonable doubt — than any other criminal defendant.

In the cases involving Mr. Trump, let the facts speak for themselves.

Shel Seligsohn
The writer is a former public defender.

To the Editor:

In the mountain valleys of rural Pennsylvania (where our county voted about 75 percent for Donald Trump in both 2016 and 2020), I read your April 2 front-page story “How the D.A. Resurrected the Case Against Trump.”

Is that how you folks do it in New York City? You pick a political figure you hate and you dig into his past until you find something to build a case on? What a dangerous precedent you have set.

My friends say, “They have turned us into a banana republic,” where it is common to attack former leaders. Manhattan’s first-ever indictment of a former president has put President Biden, every future president and our country’s future in danger. It was not worth it. Shame on you.

C. Arnold McClure
Shirleysburg, Pa.

To the Editor:

Re “Will Biden Be the Next Ex-President to Face Indictment?,” by Ankush Khardori (Opinion guest essay, April 2):

Mr. Khardori, a former federal prosecutor, writes that indicting former presidents sets a dangerous precedent.

The law of the land needs to apply to all, or there is no law of the land. People with power and money or both have been increasingly able to break laws without consequences. Yet ordinary citizens are subject to prosecution for the same things every day.

Mr. Khardori says this crime seems so small. I hope it is not because it involves paying a woman to be quiet. Women are paid every day in exchange for nondisclosure agreements without any consequences to the men with the power, but that does not mean there is no crime.

Even if the charges against Donald Trump are deemed a low-level crime, it is time to stop looking the other way and set the example that people in leadership are equal under the law. I agree that there is a risk of going too far, but we must take that risk.

I agree with Mr. Khardori about the need to keep the temperature down and respect the law and due process.

Catherine Banat
New York

Expanding NATO

To the Editor:

Re “Finland Deals a Blow to Putin as It Enters NATO” (, April 4):

NATO expansion must not end with the addition of Finland (and, hopefully, Sweden in the near future). Moldova, Georgia and Armenia should be considered for admission as soon as possible, as they are in vulnerable locations for future Russian aggression.

Lawrence R. Foster
San Ramon, Calif.

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