Donald Trump was convicted of 34 felonies by a New York jury, and it was an example of our criminal justice system working exactly as it is supposed to.

A lot of people are telling a different story—one that claims the system is rigged and the jury’s decision was rooted in politics—but that story is no more than Donald Trump’s self-serving fiction.

What we saw in New York over the past weeks and months is actually a textbook demonstration of the fairness and resilience of the American criminal justice system, in sharp contrast to the cries of politically motivated prosecution and the aspersions aimed at a “New York jury.” Each aspect of what we witnessed was a delivery of justice, and examining every aspect truly allows us to understand how thoughtfully and fairly this case was handled. 

District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who brought this case forward, was reluctant to prosecute Donald Trump at first. As those who followed this investigation from the start will remember, Bragg faced tough criticism when he first came to office for backing off the Trump investigation. His actions essentially shut it down and resulted in two leading prosecutors on the case resigning. His decision to move forward with prosecuting Trump came much later, only when he was apparently convinced after more investigation of the strength and importance of the case.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office is an independent office within the New York state government. Bragg does not answer to President Biden, the United States Department of Justice or national and New York state Democrats. There has never been a shred of evidence to suggest that Biden or other Democrats influenced Bragg’s thinking. In fact, Biden has seemed extremely conflicted about the idea of prosecuting Trump, as has his attorney general, Merrick Garland. But regardless of their possible discomfort with Bragg’s decision, this is a state case brought by state officials under state law, and has nothing to do with Biden.

The case as prosecuted, presented and tried was thorough and fair. It moved at a deliberate pace, even with a delay at the last minute to ensure Donald Trump’s team had adequate time to review all evidence. Despite Trump’s insistence that this trial was rigged, his story is belied by the fact that he arrived at court well represented. His attorneys filed many motions, made many arguments, and ensured that Trump’s position was aggressively stated and preserved for appeal.

Michael Cohen has been subject to much criticism as a witness, but it would be irresponsible to disregard that Cohen underwent withering cross examination and harsh criticism in closing arguments. The jury knew all about his shortcomings when it evaluated the evidence, and had the ability to take his credibility into account when making their decision. The jury’s verdict was stronger because Trump’s defense was strong. In the end, this was two aggressive and capable teams of advocates facing off against each other, which is how our system is supposed to work.

“It is dangerous to perpetuate the notion that depending on someone’s politics, they will only be guaranteed a fair hearing in certain parts of the country. Surely those who say that Donald Trump could not get a fair hearing from a New York jury would not say that a Democrat couldn’t get a fair trial in Texas?”

As to that “New York jury,” dismissing them as such is a disservice because this was a jury of regular Americans, selected after a lengthy and rigorous process to ensure that they were not coming in with prior judgments about Donald Trump or the case. Many prospective jurors were dismissed by the judge on his own, or based on objections from the lawyers. None of these jurors asked for this job, and they participated at their own peril, and still strove to go above and beyond to be fair and impartial. The jury’s requests to review key evidence and jury instructions demonstrated they were engaged and took their responsibilities very seriously. 

It is dangerous to perpetuate the notion that depending on someone’s politics, they will only be guaranteed a fair hearing in certain parts of the country. Surely those who say that Donald Trump could not get a fair hearing from a New York jury would not say that a Democrat couldn’t get a fair trial in Texas? If we are in a place where the justice system can only be fair to someone in a place where that person’s favored candidates always win, then our system is irreparably broken. I don’t believe that’s even close to the case in the United States now. When we hear Trump’s insistence that this New York jury could not be impartial, it’s important to remember that previously, an ally of his was actually acquitted of charges in New York. Close Trump ally Tom Barrack was acquitted of charges related to the Trump administration by a New York jury in 2022

Ironically, the one threat to the fairness of this process was Donald Trump himself. Despite repeated warnings and a gag order in place, he repeatedly made statements that appeared intended to intimidate witnesses, court personnel and the jury. Ultimately, Justice Merchan was largely able to reign in Trump, but had Trump been acquitted, prosecutors would have had a semi-reasonable argument that the process was unfair to their case. Trump has no such argument given his antics.

This was a case subject to unprecedented political pressures and strong feelings on all sides, but the criminal justice system was somehow able to proceed as it should: fairly and effectively. Our system is far from perfect, but this should be a moment for Americans to renew their faith in our justice system. Those who instead are using this moment to attack the American justice system are creating a narrative that Donald Trump is being unfairly treated for his criminal acts to serve their political agenda. They are spinning a story to try to keep Trump from looking like what he is – a convicted felon. Don’t buy what they’re selling.