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How to Know If You’re Above the Law

(If You Have to Ask, You Aren’t)

My dad was a small-town lawyer in Pennsylvania. I remember going to his office as a kid and gaping at a large pig’s head sitting on his desk. A man had sent it to his ex-wife along with her monthly alimony check (the check was stashed in the mouth attached to a felt tongue labeled “pull me”). The ex-wife intended to sue the man for emotional damages. My father thought it was a bit overblown, but didn’t want to insult her. He also took on less colorful cases: a kid crippled by a drunk driver, a farmer crushed by a poorly-designed tractor, as well as countless locals (many of whom he knew from high school) needing help with wills and other routine legal matters.

My dad wasn’t especially drawn to the law; he just enjoyed helping people and liked having a profession that was more or less self-explanatory. I didn’t always understand the appeal of the latter, but I’ve come to realize that the more convoluted the job description, the more bullshit is involved.

Consider the far more “high-powered” lawyers behind the Trump indictment. Notice how once you get beyond the usual vague, highfalutin talk of “our democracy” and the “rule of law” it’s seems hard to get a straight answer to a simple question: what exactly did the guy do wrong?

Well, nobody owes you an explanation. Don’t bother “whatabouting” with the many examples of arguably worse presidential misdeeds we were happy to let slide at the end of previous administrations. And forget invoking “norms” — that’s for when someone’s being mean to reporters, not for cautioning against politically-motivated legal overreach. If any of this strikes you as unjust or dangerous, you obviously haven’t grasped the first rule of Indict Club: Orange Man Bad.


No matter how flimsy the charges brought against our 45th president, rest assured that Justice Juan M. Merchan will oversee the case in Trump-approved “America First” fashion: by wearing a robe sewn at Roanoke, VA’s own Oak Hall Cap & Gown.

For more than 125 years, judges have sworn by the company’s elegant, easy-wearing Bentley & Simon line, available in a number of customizable fabrics and designs. They add dignity to even the most shabby proceedings, while helping keep our textile industry alive.


It may be true that anyone who represents himself in court has a fool for a client; what’s also true is that jails are full of people who put too much trust in their counsel.

David Freiheit aka Viva Frei is a lawyer-turned-YouTuber dedicated to providing clear and unbiased breakdowns of legal news without the jargon and obfuscation endemic to the field. His latest video, appropriately enough, takes a hard look at the potential ramifications of the current unprecedented legal action against a former president and leading presidential candidate.


The character “Donald Trump” as imagined by the fevered minds of those who hate him is a shockingly uninspired creation. Even the real Trump, as entertaining as he can be, suffers from overexposure. By contrast, the criminal interrogations presented and analyzed by the the popular YouTube channel JCS-Criminal Psychology are Dostoevskian descents into the depths of the human heart. Watch school shooter Nikolas Cruz ineptly feign insanity, cringe as family annihilator Chris Watts slowly realizes he’s not as smart as he thought he was, and cheer for the oddly likable Jeff, a heroin addict with no patience for the cops’s ham-handed attempts to “win him over.” It’s all far more compelling and educational than the latest installment of The Resistance vs. Trump now playing out on screens everywhere.


In some ways it doesn’t matter what they charge Trump with. Anyone who’s been paying attention knows that his real crime was eschewing the respectability and decorum with which American elites seize and maintain power and winning anyway. Turns out people prize honesty.

Legendary Houston trial lawyer Joe Jamail cut a Trump-like figure during his more than 50-year career (he died in 2015 at 90). He was crass, loud and arrogant. But he was also incredibly effective. He won what remains the largest jury award in history, as well as hundreds of seven and eight-figure verdicts, ultimately making him a billionaire.

Does that count against him? We don’t like lawyers any more than we like politicians. Surely someone proud to be known as “The King of Torts” should evoke our worst stereotypes about money-grubbing ambulance chasers. Except that for all his flaws, Jamail was fundamentally honest about who he was and what he wanted. He had a talent for connecting to jurors without it feeling manipulative; this is because he genuinely enjoyed their attention. The same could be said of Trump and his voters. Both men found outsized success by appealing directly to the very people they were meant to serve, people many of their peers had long gotten used to ignoring.