Nader urges judge to imprison Trump, citing grave threat to democracy

Ralph Nader calls for a prison sentence for Donald Trump, arguing his actions endanger the peaceful transfer of power.

Image Credit: Jacquelyn Martin/AP

Ralph Nader, the renowned consumer advocate and attorney, has called on the New York judge presiding over Donald Trump’s hush money trial to sentence the former president to prison. Nader argues that the case for jail time is “open and shut” and asserts that Trump poses a grave threat to the peaceful transfer of presidential power and to democracy itself.

Nader, along with constitutional law expert Bruce Fein, addressed their concerns in a letter to New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan. They urged the judge to exercise his discretion and impose a prison sentence of up to four years based on the circumstances of the felonies and the character of the offender. “Your task is to ensure that the sentence matches the character of the offender, including his clear and present danger to the peaceful transfer of presidential power,” the letter stated.

Nader released the letter on June 28, the same day the U.S. Supreme Court’s right-wing majority ruled that current and former presidents are entitled to sweeping immunity from criminal prosecution. This decision complicated the hush money case and the separate election-subversion case led by Special Counsel Jack Smith.

On Tuesday, Judge Merchan granted a request from Trump’s legal team to delay the sentencing. The new sentencing date is set for September 18, “if such is still necessary,” according to Merchan. In response, Nader took to social media, arguing that “a prison sentence is more imperative than ever.”

In their letter, Nader and Fein emphasized the critical impact of the sentencing on the future of the United States. “Mr. Trump threatens a counter-revolution against the American Revolution and the United States Constitution in favor of executive absolutism indistinguishable from French King Louis XIV,” they wrote. The letter also highlighted Trump’s refusal to endorse the peaceful transfer of power, likening his ambitions to those of authoritarian leaders like Vladimir Putin.

Nader and Fein drew historical parallels, warning against ignoring Trump’s actions, much like the world ignored Adolf Hitler’s rise to power. “Germany’s Weimar Republic invited its demise by ignoring Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf, a playbook for the Nazi ascent to absolute power for which the world paid a staggering price,” they wrote. They urged Judge Merchan to set a precedent with a jail term that reflects the seriousness of Trump’s offenses.

A prison sentence for Trump would not necessarily end his bid for the presidency. Legal experts have debated the implications of a presidential run from prison, with many noting the unprecedented nature of such a scenario. “I don’t think that the Framers ever thought we were going to be in this situation,” Jessica Levinson, a professor at Loyola Law School, told The New York Times.

Nader, a four-time presidential candidate, has been vocal about the fascist threat he believes Trump and the GOP pose. He argues that the danger has only increased following the Supreme Court’s decision in Trump v. United States. Trump’s advisers have indicated that the former president plans to leverage the high court’s ruling if he wins the November election.

“The six Supreme Court dictators have issued an opinion that ‘the king can do no wrong,’” Nader wrote in response to the decision. He criticized the ruling for granting presidents absolute immunity, allowing them to use the Insurrection Act and other declarations to suppress dissent and political opposition.

“Today will live in infamy as a dictatorial, judicial putsch against the American Republic,” Nader declared. “Our founders, led by Jefferson, Madison, Franklin, and George Washington, would have been stunned.”


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