OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
Democrat California Rep. Nancy Pelosi was among those who tweeted after former President Donald Trump was indicted by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.
The announcement of the indictment came on Thursday and it did not take long for Democrats to celebrate the unprecedented news. But it was Pelosi’s comments that were likened by some to being reminiscent of Joseph Stalin and the former Soviet Union.
“The Grand Jury has acted upon the facts and the law. No one is above the law, and everyone has the right to a trial to prove innocence. Hopefully, the former President will peacefully respect the system, which grants him that right,” the former Speaker said.
But it the United States no one is required to prove their innocence. And that got her a fact check from Twitter readers who added context.
“Ms. Pelosi mistakenly says that Trump can prove his innocence at trial. Law in the US assumes the innocence of a defendant and the prosecution must prove guilt for a conviction,” the note said.
The Grand Jury has acted upon the facts and the law.
No one is above the law, and everyone has the right to a trial to prove innocence.
Hopefully, the former President will peacefully respect the system, which grants him that right.
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) March 31, 2023
“A presumption of innocence means that any defendant in a criminal trial is assumed to be innocent until they have been proven guilty. As such, a prosecutor is required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person committed the crime if that person is to be convicted. To do so, proof must be shown for every single element of a crime,” Cornell University Law School said.
“The right to ‘prove innocence’? This is America, not Stalinist Russia,” Republican Missouri Senator Josh Hawley said.
The right to “prove innocence”? This is America, not Stalinist Russia. https://t.co/v5ELf9Rth6
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) March 31, 2023
“Nancy Pelosi is dead wrong here. Does she really have no clue that the burden is not on a defendant to prove their innocence at trial?” Lee Zeldin, former Republican candidate for governor of New York said.
Nancy Pelosi is dead wrong here. Does she really have no clue that the burden is not on a defendant to prove their innocence at trial? https://t.co/h2i25rMeyM
— Lee Zeldin (@leezeldin) March 31, 2023
“Wrong. So obviously wrong. Most Middle Schoolers know this—at least they used to, when civics and the Constitution was respected in schools,” former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani said. “You’re innocent until proven guilty.”
Wrong. So obviously wrong. Most Middle Schoolers know this—at least they used to, when civics and the Constitution was respected in schools.
You’re innocent until proven guilty. https://t.co/edaKuOlxbe
— Rudy W. Giuliani (@RudyGiuliani) March 31, 2023
“Stalinist Pelosi. Prove innocent? It’s innocent until proven guilty, moron. Or at least used to be,” Fox News host Mark Levin said.
Stalinist Pelosi. Prove innocent? It’s innocent until proven guilty, moron. Or at least used to be. https://t.co/BbaJlLvLmU
— Mark R. Levin (@marklevinshow) March 31, 2023
All officers with the NYPD have been instructed to show up Friday morning in “full uniform” following a Manhattan grand jury’s indictment of former President Donald Trump on Thursday.
The grand jury determined that sufficient evidence existed to indict Trump concerning the concealment of quiet money payments made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels in 2016, even though legal experts have expressed doubt about Trump’s culpability and though federal authorities passed on filing similar charges.
The department has instructed its detectives to wear their full uniform, even those who typically dress in plain clothes, as the city prepares for potential unrest. Additionally, more law enforcement officers will patrol all five boroughs of the city, although there have been no credible threats reported, the Washington Examiner noted.
“The department remains ready and available to respond to protests and counter-protests,” NYPD said in a statement to the Wall Street Journal, adding that the department will be working with state and federal authorities regarding safety protocols.
Trump urged his followers to demonstrate on the streets of New York after initially alerting them to his potential arrest earlier this month. In the subsequent weeks, city and law enforcement authorities have convened to strategize security measures.
Conversations between the NYPD and the FBI have centered on the likelihood that a criminal indictment against Trump could heighten risks to Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and his team, as reported by CNN. Additional subjects encompassed courthouse safety and the prospect of demonstrations near the courthouse. A barrier had been previously set up around the New York courthouse where a grand jury devoted months to hearing testimonies related to the Daniels inquiry.
“The police department said it will respect the public’s First Amendment rights but won’t tolerate property damage or violence,” the Examiner added.
Trump was indicted late Thursday afternoon, according to previous reports, but it came after some believed he would not be indicted this month.
“The break would push any indictment of the former president to late April at the earliest, although it is possible that the grand jury’s schedule could change. In recent weeks, the Manhattan district attorney’s office hasn’t convened the panel on certain days. But it is District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s prerogative to ask the grand jury to reconvene if prosecutors want the panel to meet during previously planned breaks,” Politico reported earlier in the week.
“The grand jury, which heard testimony in the Trump case on Monday, isn’t meeting Wednesday and is expected to examine evidence in a separate matter Thursday, the person said. The grand jury, which typically meets Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, is scheduled to consider another case next week on Monday and Wednesday, the person said, and isn’t expected to meet Thursday due to the Passover holiday,” the outlet added.