Opening defense statement in the so-called impeachment
or, what do you pound when you don't have the table?
|Roy Edroso||Feb 10||50||73|
Friends, I am just a simple country lawyer and I come before you today, not because this is a high-profile case, no, for while I have represented many famous defendants, including Jeffrey Epstein and other men of substance accused of similar horrific crimes, I have done so not for the attention, which believe me is not in any sense positive, but because I share with Plato and Hammurabi and Blackstone the belief that even in this time of political correctness and cancel culture, wealthy white men accused of behavior that our society chooses to call “abusive,” “reprehensible,” or even “depraved indifference” — behavior, I might add, that once upon a time was accepted among Hollywood bohemians and Democrats — deserve a fair hearing before the bar of justice.
So it is with Donald Trump, a man who, we are told, in some distant time when he was briefly President of the United States, also behaved in ways that were once considered acceptable, yes, and were even applauded by men very like those who accuse him today.
And ladies, too — mustn’t leave them out! Doesn’t that also show how much things have changed since I was a young lawyer: When we say “my Senator,” usually we think of a man, don’t we? A man with white hair, and a big floppy hat, and a crooked cigar, they called them “twists” in the old days, and a string tie and long coat, and he would talk like this: “Ah say, ah say ah say suh! Why, I nevah, this heah is an outrage!” and then he’d spit, like this [spits] and well, there’d be a spittoon in those days, sorry, someone clean that up.
But now look at us. How far we’ve come! Would Thomas Jefferson even recognize us, known as he is now to young people, if he is known at all, as a rapist of slaves! And this, too, is why my client is at such an unfair disadvantage, owing to the quote unquote me-too culture in which we find ourselves. How far we have come from the days of the Roman Senate, where when you saw a Senator in a toga you knew he was a man, not a woman in an off-the-shoulder number like Ursula Andress in Clash of the Titans — the original, I mean, from 1981, starring Lord Laurence Olivier, Sir Laurence as he was known then, with miniatures by the great Ray Harryhausen.
But ladies and gentlemen, even before we consider the merits of the case, we must first dispense with the constitutional issue. Our great founding document says in Article 1 Section 3 [holds up book with red cover reading “Old Mr. Boston Bartender’s Guide”] and I quote, “Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and —” and then there’s a long smudge, which I understand was made by the founder and later fourth President of our country James Madison. Maybe your copy of the Constitution has it different. Maybe it’s been bowdlerized, as the social justice warriors have done to so many of our books, like Mark Twain’s famous book Huck Finn and Jim the N-word, and I’ll probably get in trouble just for saying that. If only John C. Calhoun and Andrew Jackson could see what we have come to!
But beyond the Constitutional issue there is the issue of the President’s actions. Notice I say “the President’s actions,” not the actions of Mr. Trump, for these alleged impeachable acts, these so-called crimes, were not performed by Mr. Trump but by a different person entirely, a man who is not even before us now, who in fact no longer exists; for once voted out of office, on or about November 3 or some future date to be determined, the quote unquote President Trump who allegedly incited violence ceased to be, and under the “dead man’s statute” is immune from prosecution.
And now, ladies and gentlemen, let us — as we were bade by the one and only Elvis Presley — walk a mile in the defendant’s shoes. For what is he, or the man he used to be but is no more, accused of but the exercise of his rights under the First Amendment? The language with which President Trump spoke to those people was, we admit, forceful, provocative, even incendiary. But so was Nathan Hale’s language on the gallows in 1776, when he said, “I regret that I only have one life to give for my country.” If fact we can hardly find a better analogy, for not only was President Trump speaking from the depths of his patriotic feeling for what had become of his country, he was also speaking his last words before the public, after which he was, as I have shown, non-existent.
Call me old-fashioned, ladies and gentlemen, but not for me the Twitter mobbing and cancel culture which some seek to visit on this innocent senior citizen who, if truth were known, probably doesn’t even remember the crimes committed in his former life from which he is exempt from prosecution; yesterday, for example, he affected not to recognize his own name on a contract he signed with my law firm. Is he not more deserving of your pity than your scorn? If Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, the 300 Spartans, the Council of Trent, and the Electors of the Holy Roman Empire walked among us now, I’m sure they would tell us: Rebuke the cancel culture and Twitter mobs, return this poor, addle-brained private citizen to his home in Florida to enjoy his sunset years, and restore the glory of our Republic. I close now with some apposite words by the immortal Henry Wadsworth Longfellow which perfectly express my feeling at this moment:
Such was the wreck of the Hesperus,
In the midnight and the snow!
Christ save us all from a death like this,
On the reef of Norman's Woe!