Law and Order MAGA

Shortly after eleven on the morning of April 15, while I was in a meeting with a Kenyan diplomat, Gretchen sent me a DM that popped up on my workstation monitor. “A Mr. Daniello Finocchiona from Mulberry Street, who says he is your sister Rose’s maid of honor’s cousin’s boyfriend, has requested one of your free consultations, via telephone, as soon as possible.”
This immediately brought back some memories from the neighborhood where I grew up – Manhattan’s Little Italy. I remembered the Finocchiona family; they ran a local delicatessen, where Danny used to work weekends and after school, and I realized I hadn’t laid eyes on him since I was a kid. The next thing that occurred to me was that I had absolutely no idea why he would want to talk to me, and the curiosity about that started gnawing away in the back of my mind like a store room cat on a freshly caught mouse. “Find a place for him in my schedule today at the first opportunity,” I discretely typed back as my current client droned on about coffee exports and monetary exchange rates. Gretchen booked Danny for 1:30 p.m.

Danny: Hello? Tom? Tom Collins Martini?
Tom: Yeah, that’s me, Danny. How you doing?
Danny: Not bad, still in the old neighborhood.
Tom: The old deli still there?
Danny: Nah, it closed after my father died in 2013.
Tom: Oh, I’m sorry to hear that.
Danny: Nobody lives forever, right?
Tom: No, I guess not.
Danny: But I ain’t worked there since 2005, anyway. No more retail sales for me. I learned a trade.
Tom: Sounds good. What’s that?
Danny: I’m a butcher. Got a job in the meat packing district.
Tom: Good money?
Danny: Oh, yeah. The best – they operate twenty-four-seven and I got the highest paying shift.
Tom: Which one’s that?
Danny: Graveyard.
Tom: You mean, you been cutting up carcasses from midnight to eight?
Danny: Yep – nineteen years next month.
Tom: Damn, Danny, all’s I can say is – wow! What can I do for you?
Danny: Yeah, I hate to bother you, see, but I got this summons for jury duty the other day.
Tom: Your first one?
Danny: That’s right. But anyway, looks like I’m in this jury pool for some kind of big trial that’s coming up and when I told my girlfriend about it, she talked to your sister Rose and Rose said, Danny’s gotta call my brother Tom about this, so here I am.
Tom: I see. Whose trial is it?
Danny: Donald Trump – you know, the guy who used to be on The Apprentice.
Tom: He was also president of the United States.
Danny: That’s the same guy? I thought the president guy was Donald J. Trump.
Tom: Take it from me, they’re the same guy.
Danny: Yeah, okay, so he was like president from… uh… when was it?
Tom: He was president from 2016 to 2020.
Danny: And then, uh… this Biden guy?
Tom: Right. So you don’t follow the news much, Danny?
Danny: Never did. What do I care who’s president, who’s mayor, who’s on the city council, you know? I gotta pay taxes and parking tickets no matter who, know what I mean?
Tom: I can relate.
Danny: Yeah, right. But my girlfriend, Marcella, she’s all bent out of shape about it. She don’t know if I should be on this jury or not, see?
Tom: Actually, I think I can understand her misgivings. So you’ve been working the graveyard shift for the last nineteen years and don’t read the news?
Danny: Just the sports page.
Tom: And what else do you like to do?
Danny: Go to the ball game in the afternoons. When I have a day off, I go to the movies, see a Knicks game, take Marcella out to a restaurant, a nightclub, to the beach, hey, you only live once, right?
Tom: Absolutely. So you have no idea what this trial of Donald Trump is all about?
Danny: Nah. Couldn’t care less. He do something wrong?
Tom: Hold on a minute here while I look something up on the Internet… there… all right. Let me ask you some questions, okay?
Danny: Sure, shoot!
Tom: Have you ever considered yourself a supporter of or belonged to any of the following: The QAnon movement.
Danny: The what?
Tom: The Proud Boys.
Danny: Proud Boys? Sounds gay.
Tom: The Oathkeepers.
Danny: Sounds like a religious thing.
Tom: The Three Percenters.
Danny: Three percent of what?
Tom: Boogaloo Boys.
Danny: Now that – that’s got to be gay.
Tom: Antifa.
Danny: Bless you.
Tom: I didn’t sneeze. “Antifa” is the name of a group. It’s short for “Anti-fascist.”
Danny: Anti-fascist? Is that like from World War II or something?
Tom: Do you participate in any organizations or advocacy groups?
Danny: I donno. Does UFCW Butchers and Meatcutters Local 1808 count?
Tom: Which of the following do you read: The New York Times.
Danny: That’s for eggheads. No offense.
Tom: None taken. USA Today.
Danny: Boring. Never read it.
Tom: New York Daily News.
Danny: Like I said, the sports section.
Tom: Huffington Post.
Danny: Never heard of it.
Tom: CNN.
Danny: What’s that?
Tom: Cable News Network.
Danny: Never heard of it.
Danny: Uh… I watch regular NBC sometimes with Marcella. She likes The Voice. What’s the MS thing mean?
Tom: Google.
Danny: What’s that, baby talk?
Tom: X.
Danny: Eggs?
Tom: Tik Tok.
Danny: What am I supposed to say, “Who’s there?”
Tom: The Wall Street Journal.
Danny: You gotta be kidding me.
Tom: The New York Post.
Danny: Oh, come on, Tom. You and me both know only retards and morons read that. What are you gonna ask me nextThe National Enquirer?
Tom: No, it’s not on the list, but you may hear about it during the trial. How about the The Washington Post?
Danny: Do I look like I live in Washington?
Tom: Fox News.
Danny: Fox has a news channel?
Tom: Newsmax.
Danny: Never heard of it.
Tom: MSN.
Danny: Never heard of that, either.
Tom: Yahoo.
Danny: What, I’m a yahoo ‘cause I never heard of that MSN thing?
Tom: No, no, Yahoo is a web site.
Danny: I don’t know nothing about web sites.
Tom: You don’t own a computer?
Danny: I got a flip phone, that’s it.
Tom: Right. How about Truth Social?
Danny: Truth? Social? What’s that, some kinda socialist thing where they spout Russian lies and call it the truth?
Tom: No, it’s… somewhat different than that. Okay, do you listen to any podcasts?
Danny: What’s a podcast?
Tom: How about talk radio?
Danny: You mean like that Rush Limbaugh guy who used to shoot his mouth off on the radio back when we both lived in the neighborhood?
Tom: Yeah, there are still people like that on the radio. Do you listen to any of them?
Danny: I like listening to Q104 – classic rock. I put it on while I’m cutting up the meat.
Tom: Um… okay. Have you or a close relative ever been a victim of a crime?
Danny: Oh, Jesus Christ, Tom! We’re from Little Italy! Nobody would dare commit a crime here! Cosa Nostra would feed them to the fish in the East River!
Tom: True. Have you, a relative or a close friend ever been employed by a law enforcement or government agency?
Danny: Nah, nah, everybody I know works for a living.
Tom: Have you, a relative or a close friend ever been employed in accounting or finance?
Danny: I flunked math in tenth grade.
Tom: Have you, a relative or a close friend ever had any legal education?
Danny: Only what the old men at the Ravenite Club told me when I delivered their salami sandwiches.
Tom: Have you, a relative, or a close friend ever worked for any company or organization owned or run by Donald Trump or anyone in his family?
Danny: How am I supposed to know who’s in his family?
Tom: Have you, a relative, or a close friend ever worked or volunteered for a Trump presidential campaign, the Trump presidential administration, or any other political entity affiliated with Donald Trump?
Danny: What are they, nuts? I’m a butcher!
Tom: Have you ever attended a rally or campaign event for Donald Trump?
Danny: Who’s got time for that?
Tom: Are you signed up for or have you ever been signed up for, subscribed to, or followed any newsletter or email listserv run by or on behalf of Donald Trump or the Trump Organization?
Danny: What’s a listserv?
Tom: Do you currently follow Donald Trump on any social media site or have you done so in the past?
Danny: What’s social media?
Tom: Okay, and how about the last three questions with “anti-Trump” plugged in everywhere “Donald Trump” was?
Danny: Who’s got time for that, what’s a listserv and what’s social media?
Tom: Do you have any strong opinions or firmly held beliefs about whether a former president may be criminally charged in state court?
Danny: Holy Mother of God! What the hell did he do, anyway?
Tom: Do you have any feelings or opinions about how Mr. Trump is being treated in this case?
Danny: How could I? I don’t even know what they say he did!
Tom: Have you read or listened to audio of any of the following books by Micheal Cohen or Mark Pomerantz: Disloyal, a Memoir
Danny: I’ve never heard of either of those guys, and the last book I read was Silas Marner, because I had to, in high school!
Tom: The defendant in this case has written a number of books, have you ever…
Danny: Same answer.
Tom: Do you have any opinions about the legal limits governing political contributions?
Danny: Why the hell are they asking that?
Tom: You’ll find out at the trial. What’s your answer?
Danny: I got no opinions about stuff I don’t know nothing about, obviously.
Tom: If Donald Trump does not testify in this case, can you assure the court that you will not hold that against him?
Danny: Why should I hold anything against him? I ain’t never even met him!
Tom: Well, based on your answers, it looks like you are one of a very special group of jury candidates who could offer Donald Trump a truly fair, unbiased trial.
Danny: Okay, I got no problem with doing that. It’s like, my civic duty and stuff, ain’t it?
Tom: Spoken like the outstanding Italian-American citizen everybody in the neighborhood always knew you were.
Danny: So why’s Marcella so worried about it that she’s got me calling you to give me advice?
Tom: I haven’t spoken with her, but I would speculate that there is a pretty good chance she’s concerned for your safety.
Danny: My safety? What are you talking about?
Tom: Donald Trump has a large, fanatical group of followers who he uses coded messages in his public speeches to direct severe harassment of, and attacks on people he wishes to punish or intimidate.
Danny: Oh, so it’s gonna be like a mob trial, where they gotta keep all the juror’s names and addresses and stuff like that secret?
Tom: Yes, exactly like that.
Danny: Okay, this is getting ridiculous. You gotta tell me what the hell they say Donald Trump did.
Tom: Very understandable. I don’t want to prejudice what looks like a pristinely unbiased juror, though. Not only Donald Trump, but the people of New York also deserve that he get a fair trail.
Danny: Okay, okay – don’t tell me nothing that’s gonna… whattaya call it… prejudice me about nothing, but I’m going bananas here! What’s this all about?
Tom: All right, it goes like this. About a year after you started working the graveyard shift in the meat packing district…
Danny: Great job, by the way; best money, I love the hours actually.
Tom: Right. It did sort of isolate you from current events, however. Which is a good thing, as it turns out. So anyway, about that time, Donald Trump’s wife had a baby, and right afterward, as with quite a few new fathers in that situation, he wasn’t getting any action with her.
Danny: And what, having a baby gave his wife lockjaw?
Tom: Well, let’s not get into that. Bottom line, he steps out on her with this… adult film actress, Stormy Daniels…
Danny: Stormy Daniels? No kidding! I know her!
Tom: You do?
Danny: Well, not personally, but I got a lot of her porno.
Tom: Oh? You do porno?
Danny: Hell, yeah! I’m a consenting adult, ain’t I?
Tom: Of course. Nothing illegal, immoral or fattening about it. Approximately how many of her… works… do you own?
Danny: Uh… I never actually stopped to count, ya know… um… let’s see… I got Class Act, American Girls 2, Cupid’s Arrow, Love Potion 69, Busty Beauties 2, Island Girls, Kink, Skin Deep, Young and Anal, Pussy Sweat, Porking with Pride 2, Slave to Love, Spreading My
Tom: Okay, okay, I get it.
Danny: But don’t tell Melissa!
Tom: No, never. Just between us guys.
Danny: Porn makes it hotter with her – that’s why I do it.
Tom: Like a lot of guys, I’m sure. This is interesting, because there are forty-two questions in that jury questionnaire, but not one of them asks if the juror has ever watched any movies with Stormy Daniels in them. Nothing about Karen McDougal, either.
Danny: Who’s Karen McDougal?
Tom: That’s another woman Trump paid hush money to; a former Playboy model.
Danny: So Trump got jiggy with these broads while his wife cut him off ‘cause she had just had a baby, and he paid them to keep their yaps shut? This is a crime?
Tom: Yes he did, and no, that’s not a crime.
Danny: So what’s he in court for?
Tom: They’ll tell you all about that, I’m sure. Briefly, Donald Trump is accused of thirty-four counts of business fraud in connection with commission of a felony.
Danny: Okay, so I’ll get the details if they pick me for the jury, right?
Tom: Right.
Danny: And you don’t wanna tell me more than that because you want Trump to have the fairest trial possible?
Tom: Correct.
Danny: And what about me watching Stormy Daniels porno? What’s that gonna do?
Tom: Good question. On the one hand, the prosecutors might like you because Stormy Daniels is one of their star witnesses. On the other hand, the defense might like you because you’re a guy who watches the porno that a prosecution witness made and therefore you could be counted on to be sympathetic to a defendant who had sex with her.
Danny: Is that really how those guys think when they pick jurors?
Tom: Stuff like that, yeah. Jury selection is a modern version of voodoo. They have experts analyzing everything about every juror and then thinking about it like that. And what’s more, for instance, the prosecution might not like you because their jury selection experts would consider you to be too close to the defendant, and the defense jury selection experts might want to strike you because they would be afraid you’d be too sympathetic to Stormy, who the prosecutors are going to be portraying as a victim of the defendant’s actions.
Danny: Crazy stuff.
Tom: Nevertheless, we call it justice.
Danny: So what should I tell my girlfriend?
Tom: Tell her I said that even the worst of Trump’s followers isn’t going to mess with a butcher from Mulberry Street.
Danny: Okay, and um… in court, should I tell them about my Stormy Daniels porno collection?
Tom: Only if they ask.
Danny: Got it. Thanks.
Tom: Give my best to the old neighborhood.
Danny: Will do. ‘Bye.