Personally, I think that this has happened to most of us, at least once. I know it’s happened to me twice. We have a hero, somebody we look up to and admire from afar. And they can do no wrong. And then we actually just happen to meet them in person.

It could be anywhere. It might be a reataurant, or a sports memorabilia show. It might be at a live show, where they walk right by you, or a ComiCon, with a favorite character. And most of the time, it hapens.

The illusion goes bust. Maybe the idol is a pompous ass. Maybe he has spinach in his teeth when he smiles. Maybe your favorite actress looks 10 years older when the camera isn’t masking it. Don’t get me wrong, you still love and admire them, if that’s what you feel, it’s the illusion od perfection that is shattered.

I twigged to this last week when MSNBC reporter Vaughn Hillyard was talking to a prospective juror who was released. She related that the experience surprised her, She related that while she was no particular fan of Trump, he was a known figure to her for decades. Media appearances, The Apprentice, the presidency for four years. And here she was sitting no more than 10′ away from a larger than life figure.

And that’s when i9t hit me. It has always been a given that Trump’s omnipresent persona would have some sort of impact at trial. To get a jury with no recognition or opinion of Trump, you’d have to naturalize 18 Maori tribesman, and even that may not do the trick. Thus that woman’s knee jerk response.

But it turns out that this is a twin edged sword. Rachel Maddow of MSNBC was in the courtroom today, in an aisle seat. She has seen trump in person several times over the years. She was asked how he looked. Her response was stark, He looked older. He looked tired. He looks like he may have lost a little w eight due to all of the stress. And he looked mad. I guess that’s how I’d describe him briefly, a tired, mad old man.

But here’s the McGuffin. Maddow has seen Trump in person several times, and these were just her fleeting first impressions of seeing him again in person for the first time in several years. But the 18 people of this jury are all intimately familiar with at least the persona of Trump, even though carefully scripted, and perfectly dressed and made up for the cameras.

Not anymore. For the next six weeks or so, when they walk into the courtroom, the first they’ll see is Trump, like somebody you met online, and saw pictures and video of, bunking on your sofa while he’s in town.

If Maddow thinks he may have lost a little weight, that’s most lilely because his suit hangs on his frame. And he can’t walk into court made up camera ready, that just makes you look like a corpse propped up in a chair at an Irish funeral. If he nods off, it’s going to make him look old and feeble, like your grandfather in his chair after lunch.

And the jury will notice everything. There’s a good reason why the defense table is the one closest to the jury box in a courtroom, about 10-12′ away. And as a former juror, take my word for it. Jurors don’t watch the attorneys, they don’t watch the judge, most of the time they don’t even watch the witnesses, unless they’re displaying an exhibit.

They watch the defendant. Because that’s where the action is, after all, he or she is the star of this real life Law and Order: SVU. Don’t get me wrong. They’ll listen to every word spoken in court, and take notes. And they’ll look at every exhibit and video that is shown to them and take notes. But they’ll almost endlessly watch the defendant. because they all want to know how the defendant reacts to what’s going on in the courtroom.

Maddow just said on air that Trump looked miserable to be sitting in court. Miserable can look an awful lot like guilty, especially if former friends are describing your criminal activities. And this is going to go on day after day, for 4-6 long weeks, four days a week.

If Trump nods off, they’ll see it. If he angrily shakes his head or tosses his pen in the air, or scribbles angrily, they’ll see it. If he angrily grabs his lawyer’s sleeve, leans over and whispers theatrically in his ear, they’ll see it. if he glances slyly over to see how they’re taking things, most of them will be meeting his eyes, and their visages will be straight out of the WSOP. And if he farts, they’ll smell it.

Whatever their preconceived illusion of Trump’s persona is, they are about to see, without the perfections of scripts, makeup, carefully crafted staging, and properly angled cameras the man behind the persona. And what will they see? A tired, cranky, overly theatrical pissed off old man, disbelieveing that he’s being called to account for his actions. And not bothering to hide it.

Pretty much every legal analyst and talking head agrees that Trump would be the world’s worst witness, should he decide to testify. But you know what? They’re not keying on something even more damaging to Trump’s chances, regardless of whether he testifies or not.

Trump is also the worst criminal defendant in the history of the American legal system. because it’s embedded in his mental and emotional DNA. Trump is an obsessive narcissist with a Messiah complex. His ego requires that he be the center of attention in every situation. And without speaking a word, simply by sitting at the defense table, he will use his adequate non verbal skills from his decade on The Apprentice to ensure that he is the center of the jury’s attention. And in doing so, will likely get himself convicted in less time than it takes for a speeding case that goes to a jury trial.

I have spent nine long, tortured, Trump obsessed years waiting for this moment. Trump strapped into a defendant’s chair, surrounded by a whole room of people who don’t give a sh(t about his status, wealth, or persona. And after nothing more than opening statements, and Pecker being sworn in, it’s bleach for my brain, and popcorn for my soul. And we’re just getting started. Don’t touch that dial.

I thank you for the privilege of your time.

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  1. I had a friend who was a realtor in Los Angeles. She met Trump maybe 20 years ago at a real estate function. She told me in 2016, when all this madness got going, “He had cruel eyebrows and I didn’t like his handshake.” His eyebrows look positively demonic and I imagine his handshake (this was a woman’s perspective) was probably one of those “dominant” handshakes that some asshole men use. I have literally had my fingers crushed by some guys. I am go to hell if I understand what that is supposed to achieve, except instant alienation.

    Point being, I was given first hand testimony of how underwhelming Trump was in real life, eight years ago.

    • For a while as President Trump liked to pull another asshole move when shaking hands – yank a man he was shaking hands with forward/off balance. A dominance kind of thing. Until Justin Trudeau made his first visit to the WH after Trump was there. Trudeau knew of Trump’s little trick and was prepared for it. Being younger and much fitter it didn’t work on him because as their hands met for the “shake” Justin put his other hand (seemingly lightly) on Trump’s chest. It was quite the moment and Trump was no doubt steaming. “Melanie” I think was amused at someone one-upping Donald and that might account for the pics of her dreamily gazing at him. But Trump? He LOST in his little game of dominance and Trudeau was an instant enemy to him.

      I’ve often wondered how much force Trudeau had to apply to not get yanked forward. Anyone who’s played basketball at the college level or against a pro (I’ve done both – the latter at basketball camps) knows how someone strong and skilled can make a “hand check” look effortless while applying a LOT of force to keep you from going where you want to go. What I remember is there was some talk about what Trudeau pulled off, and even examples of Trump yanking other leaders off balance. Trudeau showed everyone how to handle it. I thought it was pretty cool, even funny at the time and thinking back now it still makes me smile!

        • Perhaps I’m biased but it seems looking at it again Trump’s the one exerting effort and Trudeau not nearly so much. In addition to playing I also refereed for a few years after college before heading off to the Marines. You have your opinion and I have mine. But thanks for posting this so anyone can look for themselves and make their own determination.

      • Here are a few other videos showing trump’s handshake style:
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  2. I had a reverence for my grandparents. They were both self educated, ran a successful business. Were fairly wealthy by 1970’s standards. World travelers. (also pretty racist, but they were born at the turn of the century), anyway, I was the youngest grandchild, so I never knew them but when they were older, retired, My grandmother played solitaire, drank cold coffee, napped in the afternoons, kept a spotless house. My grandfather went to the office, played cards, napped, read three or four newspapers, had dinner, fell asleep to Johnny Carson. They were sharp people, but I never interrupted their naps. They were up early and in bed early. They had a routine.

    Trumps an old man. His routine is upset. This is not going to go well. He can take a week, maybe two, but he is an old man. I am not as old as trump, I can get up early for an all day event, maybe two, but every day for a week and I am done. I know what I used to do when I was 20 or 30, but I know I can’t do the same things I used to do. age catches us all, trump even more so.



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