Jerry Kremer

Sometimes you just may be guilty until proven innocent


In recent months, former President Donald Trump has been hit with 91 charges in four criminal indictments. As an attorney, I’ve paid close attention to all of the cases, which may be hard for most non-lawyers to follow. His actions on Jan. 6, 2021, are well known, but it’s up to the special counsel, Jack Smith, to prove criminal conduct.
Most people I know have said nothing about Trump’s alleged retention of classified documents. An eventual trial will reveal what kinds of papers were involved, and then it will be up to a jury to decide right or wrong.
When it comes to the Georgia indictment, I’m not willing to give Trump the free pass he demands by yelling that the case is a “political witch hunt.” The 96-page indictment spells out conduct that’s best described as colossal chutzpah. While some of the other indictments used overly broad language, the Georgia case spells out conduct that is typical of what would happen in Russia, Hungary or Venezuela.
The day after his 2020 election loss, Trump embarked on a comprehensive campaign to change the results of the election in Georgia. Despite a number of statements by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp that the election in his state was run “according to law,” and his denials that there was any fraud, Trump continued his efforts to have the results thrown out. The whole world has heard Trump’s conversation with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger demanding that he find 11,780 votes, which would have given Trump one more vote than he needed to win the state.
As a further display of pure arrogance, Trump also called the speaker of Georgia’s House, David Ralston, demanding that he convene a special session of the Legislature for the purpose of overturning the results of the election. Once he knew what Trump was asking, Ralston refused to take his calls. That was followed by more calls from the president to other election officials, asking them to find fraud. Those calls were coupled with calls allegedly made by a Trump lawyer accusing a Black worker of fraudulent conduct. Those accusations led to right-wing hate threats to her life.

If you think the other indictments are difficult to understand, this one is, as they say, a piece of cake. The case of the fake electors sounds like something you’d see in a movie. Over a dozen people, many of whom were Republican Party officials, gathered at the Georgia Capitol and signed a document certifying that Trump had won the state — in spite of Kemp’s statement that the returns had been counted three times and no fraud had been found.
And then there are the allegations concerning Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani. Once hailed as America’s Mayor, Giuliani had sunk to the depths of being something of a traveling conspiracy salesman, going from state to state, peddling tales of alleged election fraud. He went to Georgia to testify in front of a number of legislative committees, under oath, claiming that 11,000 dead people had voted and that thousands of ballots had been delivered in suitcases to polling places. Giuliani is now charged with multiple counts of election fraud and lying under oath. Sadly, his license to practice law is currently being challenged in three states.
Of the six lawyers who have been indicted along with Trump, four worked directly under Giuliani. One of them, Sidney Powell, claimed multiple times that Dominion’s voting machines were easy to manipulate, and were controlled by Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez. Those allegations cost Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News $787.5 million in damages, with one other major lawsuit yet to be resolved.
I’ve heard frequently that Trump is, like any other criminal defendant, considered innocent until proven guilty. I know that as a lawyer, I, too, should adhere to that noble sentiment. But the Georgia case has too many specifics — too many emails and too many voicemails — to merit that kind of thinking. There is no way Trump can deny that he never said what he said and never took the actions that he took. To my way of thinking, all the facts go against him, and I don’t believe that, like Harry Houdini, he can escape.

Jerry Kremer was an Assemblyman for 23 years, and chaired the Assembly’s Ways and Means Committee for 12 years. He now heads Empire Government Strategies, a business development and legislative strategy firm. Comments about this column?