From Hartmann Report
We should not have a two-tier justice system like this in the United States; America should hold the rich to the same level of accountability as the rest of us
Bill Cosby got the Rich Man's Deal.
Seriously. The only reason Bill Cosby is out of jail right now is because initially prosecutors offered him a civil settlement that allowed him to pay for his crimes financially rather than by going to prison. And they only did that because he was rich enough to pay.
That prosecutor, who then went on to become one of Trump's lawyers and promoted Trump's "big lie" about the election, essentially acted as an agent for some of the women Cosby raped, to extract millions of dollars from Cosby on their behalf in exchange for a promise not to put him in jail.
Then, when the public-opinion blowback became severe as the "Me Too" movement was gathering steam, that prosecutor's office broke his promise and went ahead with a criminal prosecution, which was why the Pennsylvania Supreme Court let Cosby go free. Prosecutors can't make deals and then go back on them when public opinion hits them.
Donald Trump also got multiple sweetheart deals to avoid jail time.
Consider what would happen if you were I, who are not hyper-rich, were to commit a fraud as large as Trump University. If we sold fake degrees and promised people they'd end up with a college degree with value and would be able to earn a living, when in reality it was all a scam that made us millions, prosecutors would have tossed us into the slammer.
Instead, Trump and his co-conspirators made a fortune and he avoided jail by paying back a measly $25 million.If we'd done the same thing, we'd be in jail because we're not rich, so the people we'd defrauded couldn't recover anything and thus would demand that we go to prison instead.
Similarly, Trump violated campaign finance laws by ordering his attorney and CFO to pay off to women he'd had sex with so their stories wouldn't go public and he could win the 2016 election. Average-wealth politicians go to jail for these kinds of campaign finance violations.
When Michael Cohen went to prison for facilitating Trump's crime the court believed Trump couldn't be prosecuted until after he left the White House. And now, with the passage of time, prosecutors have "closed the case," compounding the injustice. It needs to be re-opened for both Trump and Weisselberg, his CFO who cut the checks.
This all shows vividly what a two-teir justice system we have in America: one for the rich and another for everybody else. The only reason Bill Cosby is out of jail is because he was offered a civil settlement, and the only reason he was offered a civil settlement was because he was rich.
Similarly, the only reason Donald Trump and his grifter children are out of jail today is because they're rich. If you'd run hundreds of thousands of dollars through a fake charity to avoid taxes and enrich yourself, for example, you'd be in federal prison right now.
Offering rich people the ability to buy their way out of their crimes through civil settlements is largely the norm now in America, whereas average people, when they get caught for anything from tax or bank fraud to rape, go straight to jail.
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Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program on the Air America Radio Network, live noon-3 PM ET. www.thomhartmann.com His most recent books are "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights," "We The People," "What Would Jefferson Do?," "Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle (more...)