Can Trump Get a Fair Trial in Manhattan?
There’s a reason this trial is happening in the most leftist place in the city.
By Daniel Greenfield
When President Trump’s trial begins in Manhattan, it will take place in a location more closely associated with him than almost any other place in the world and also the most biased against him. In a tragic irony, the place Trump helped define is where he can’t hope for a fair trial.
Manhattan is the home of Trump Tower, whose iconic gold letters have long been associated with the real estate tycoon from his ‘Art of the Deal’ book cover to’ The Apprentice’, the Trump World Tower, Trump Park Avenue, and more downtown, the Trump Building at 40 Wall Street.
It’s also the island where Trump did not win a single neighborhood in either 2016 or 2020.
Not only did Trump lose Manhattan by 84% to 14%, but, unlike other city boroughs, he has no base of support here. The white working class voters who came out for him on Staten Island and the Orthodox and Russian Jews who voted for him Brooklyn can’t afford to live here.
The Manhattan of 2023 is rigidly divided between ultra-rich liberals, aspirational millennial hipsters and welfare class residents of housing projects. While Trump improved on his overall numbers in New York City, there’s no base for him in Manhattan where only the very wealthy or poor can survive. Trump hit some of his best numbers around the Lower East Side, with a small remnant working class Jewish community, and Chinatown, which has seen a backlash against Democrats in recent years, but that still meant precincts voting for him in the low 30s.
And those were his bastions of support in the borough.
Manhattan is uniquely rigged against Trump. Its judges, including Justice Juan Merchan, who has already presided over Trump-adjacent cases involving Steven Bannon and Trump organization CFO Allen Weisselberg, are products of the Democrat political machine. Merchan is such an insider that Senator Schumer recommended him to Obama for a federal judgeship.
But the juries are likely to be just as bad.
Fairness was never on the table. After less than a year in office, 73% of New Yorkers disapproved of Trump and 55% wanted him impeached. Manhattan is even worse. This is where rallies in support of Mueller’s investigation of Trump filled Times Square and where even a ‘Jews for Trump’ rally ended in violence and arrests.
Beyond Trump, Manhattan does not have a single neighborhood that is more than 22% Republican. That’s why there isn’t a single Republican city council member. state senator, assemblyman, congressman or other elected official. The Manhattan Republican Party’s examples of Manhattan Republicans who won office on the island end with Andrew Eristoff and Charles Millard in the 90s: who had become the first Republican councilman in 25 years.
But it’s not just Republicans vs. Democrats. Some Democrats are capable of giving a Republican a fair trial: political extremists however are not and Manhattan is full of them. This is the borough where Zephyr Teachout beat Letita James, and former Sex and the City Star Cynthia Nixon had her best numbers against Cuomo. It’s where leftist DA Alvin Bragg beat out a much more experienced and capable candidate backed by the Clinton machine.
If there’s a place and a man where a fair and impartial trial simply cannot happen, this is it.
Washington D.C. trials already showed what happens when monumentally biased juries and judges come together to try Trump associates and opponents. Manhattan will be just as bad or worse. Both Manhattan and D.C. are defined by sharply divided populations of hyper wealthy liberal whites and poor minority residents with no political balance or middle ground.
“There is no possibility he will get a fair trial in Manhattan,” Alan Dershowitz, a resident of the island who is quite familiar with life as a trial lawyer, warned.
“It’s going to be a massive uphill effort if that venue is not changed,” former Rep. Lee Zeldin said.
Trump’s lawyers are reportedly considering asking for a change of venue, but that likely won’t be granted. Much as they may dream of taking the case in front of a Staten Island jury, more likely to have voted for Trump, Merchan and Bragg are not about to let a sure thing walk away from them. Take the case to a jury in any other borough and the odds of honest jurors go up.
American juries, regardless of their political views and biases, generally do their job. That’s one reason why the system works. The exception to the rule is hyper-political bias. Few human beings can be asked to be dispassionate when it comes to someone they really love or hate. Trump Derangement Syndrome has been a systemic experiment in tainting the jury pool and while there are millions of potential jurors in the country who could do their jobs, it’s doubtful that any of them will be found in the hyper-political enclave of Manhattan where Wall Street financiers and gender studies graduates, publishing executives and television journalists, drug addicts and newly minted lawyers share the busy streets and a mindless political monoculture.
I know Manhattan like no other place on earth. I have walked from the Battery all the way up to the George Washington Bridge. I can tell you where to get the best bagels and used books, where to find the hideaways in Central Park that can make you feel like you’re in the woods and the fastest way to get anywhere by subway. I’ve sat at grungy theaters so far off Broadway that they might have been in the East River and at private clubs whose walls were filled with paintings that museums would kill for. There are many things that can still happen amid the walls of glass and steel, gracious hidden gardens, uptown brownstones and museums, housing projects and street life, but I can tell you a fair trial for Donald J. Trump is not one of them.