Op-Ed: Trump's Indictment Is Another Shot Heard 'Round the World


On April 19, 1775, American colonists in Concord, Massachusetts, shot and killed three British soldiers. That American volley was later immortalized by Ralph Waldo Emerson as “the shot heard ’round the world.”

248 years later, another shot has been fired. This time, the trigger was pulled by a New York district attorney in the form of an indictment. While it may not signal the beginning of a protracted revolution, it’s nonetheless an act of war.

On March 30, 2023, the 45th president of these United States was indicted by a grand jury on charges related to the payment of “hush money” to a porn star. He appeared in a Manhattan court today following this historic act of prosecutorial overreach.

As tawdry as Donald Trump’s payment to an “adult film” actress may appear, it seems unfathomable that it constitutes a crime.

Not satisfied by Justice Department lawyers and his predecessor, both of whom decided there was “no there there” in regard to the payments, Alvin Bragg found a crime where none had previously existed. He stitched together a Frankenstein of indictments totaling 34 felony charges.

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Bragg ran with a stated goal to “get Trump,” and thus unquestionably politics is the basis of his pursuit of the former president.

The legal soundness of Bragg’s decision to convene a grand jury has been criticized by legal scholars. If those analysts are correct, Bragg has either sought to file federal charges, which he cannot because he is not a federal prosecutor, or filed charges for which the statute of limitations has passed.

I am not a lawyer nor a legal scholar, so I will not add my voice to those whose education and experience are better suited to discuss these aspects of the case. But as a former police officer, I do know injustice when I see it.

Americans recognize injustice when they see it too, and they don’t need any lawyer to tell them that law enforcement weaponized against political foes is unjust.

Is Trump's indictment unjust?

They see two failed impeachment attempts and now the empanelment of five grand juries seeking criminal charges against Trump as proof that a two-tiered justice system exists — one for outsiders and one for the political/cultural establishment.

Trump’s adversaries in government, politics and the media are too like the warring Mafia society depicted in “The Godfather.” Vicious people whose allegiance to “family” (party) is priority No. 1. Never acting in any way that might diminish their power or wealth.

The law is not a cudgel with which to bash political foes or meant for the sole purpose of keeping the political status quo intact. The law is intended to be an agent of equality to ensure that all people are treated fairly, without regard to their status or political views.

If 400 or so protesters on Jan. 6, 2021, are “insurrectionists,” then what are the tens of thousands of rioters who looted and rampaged in the streets of America the summer before?

Most Americans expect the rioters in Washington, D.C., to be held to the same standard as those who participated in the “fiery but mostly peaceful protests” during that “summer of love.” When they are treated differently, rhetorically by the media and legally by the courts, then “the system” is no longer fair.

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I​n their efforts to keep Trump out of the nation’s political establishment country club, every tool and weapon in the swamp creatures’ arsenal has been brought to bear — spying, lying, impeachment and now indictment.

Trump’s indictment is another shot heard ‘round the world. Let’s hope it’s the last shot from our double-barreled justice system before someone really gets hurt.

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Steve Piccirillo is a husband, father and patriot. His writings have appeared in several publications. His first novel, "Evil Stalks the Emerald City," is now available on Amazon. He is a former police officer and small business owner. He is a twice-elected school board director and is active in local politics.