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How fitting it is that the Exonerated Five, formerly the Central Park Five, get to watch the Manhattan justice system descend upon the MAGA movement’s main man.


Karma is a … well, you know the rest.

Does this text format look familiar to you? It should. It’s roughly the same format Donald Trump used in a 1989 newspaper ad calling for the return of the death penalty in the state of New York after five innocent Black and Latino teenagers were falsely accused of a vicious attack in New York’s Central Park. The teenagers — all of whom served hard prison time for a crime they didn’t commit — are men now and are known collectively as the Exonerated Five.

Trump has never apologized for this extremely public crusade, despite the fact that the actual attacker confessed. To the contrary, he has suggested the five are still “guilty.”

Oh, how fitting it is, then, that these men get to watch the Manhattan justice system descend upon the MAGA movement’s main man. When Yusef Salaam of the Exonerated Five refers to Trump’s New York indictment as “karma,” he’s speaking both personally and patriotically.

Trump arraignment: Follow our live blog beginning at 10 a.m. ET on Tuesday for the latest updates and analysis on Trump’s arrest in New York.

What has happened to our country over the past decade or so as Trump has poisoned our politics? His actions have led many people to feel the powerful are beyond reproach. Many New York families, in particular, have had a front-row seat to Trump’s troubling behavior for years — including allegations of housing discrimination and fraud, which were settled, and the documented tax evasion by the Trump Organization. (And that’s not to mention the long history of sexual assault allegations, which Trump has denied.) 

Neither New Yorkers nor the rest of the nation should have to deal with the consequences of a wannabe authoritarian unencumbered by laws the rest of us must follow.

No matter what Trump’s groveling supporters say, a grand jury’s decision to bring charges does not amount to a grave injustice. In fact, this is the process of criminal justice working as intended. If Trump were subjected to the same type of treatment he has sought for other criminal suspects, police officers would bump his head against the squad car before hauling him to court. 

There are some who tell us a Trump indictment is a somber moment, unworthy of celebration. I do not think so. Can you hear my Champagne bottles popping? I want any serial abuser of the law held to account. And I want the legal system, which often protects such people so long as they’re rich and powerful, to do it. How can our great society tolerate Trump’s apparent brutalization of the rule of law? How could one expect our society to survive it?

In Trump’s 1989 ad, he claimed that criminals “must be told that their CIVIL LIBERTIES END WHEN AN ATTACK ON OUR SAFETY BEGINS!”

Well, I stand with the millions of others who won’t feel safe if our criminal justice system involves carve-outs for former presidents to circumvent the law.