From Reality TV to Courtroom Drama: Will Televising Trump’s Trial Help or Hurt His Campaign?

AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

Ladies and gentlemen, you might be grabbing your popcorn in the not-too-distant future if former President Donald Trump and the Democrats weaponizing the legal system against him get their way. After the Justice Department indicted the former president over charges related to his claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen, both the prosecution and defense have signaled that they would like for the trial to be broadcast on television. If this happens, it could very well play in Trump’s favor.


During an appearance on “Fox News Sunday,” Trump lawyer John Lauro indicated that he and his team would absolutely love for the proceedings to be televised:

Donald Trump’s attorney called for the upcoming January 6 trial against the former president to be televised, arguing Americans deserve to see the proceedings.

Attorney John Lauro made the argument during an appearance on “Fox News Sunday” with host Shannon Bream. Lauro argued that prosecutors and President Biden’s administration as a whole are seeking to withhold information from the public by sticking to the tradition of not having cameras in federal courtrooms.

“Would you be OK – would the president support – a televised trial?” Bream asked. “It would have to go through all sorts of hoops and rule changes and those kinds of things, but let the American people see every minute of it and decide for themselves.”

“I personally would love to see that,” Lauro responded. “I’m convinced the Biden administration does not want the American people to see the truth. They acted on it by filing this protective order, which is an effort to keep important information about this case from the press.”

“I’m shocked, actually, that all the networks haven’t lined up and filed pleadings already objecting to this very broad attempt by the Biden administration to keep information away from the American people,” he added.


This development highlights a rare point of agreement between Trump’s camp and the leftists intent on seeing him behind bars.

Columnist Neal Katyal penned an op-ed in which he argued in favor of blasting the trial on the airwaves:

Most important, live (or near-live) broadcasting lets Americans see for themselves what is happening in the courtroom and would go a long way toward reassuring them that justice is being done. They would be less vulnerable to the distortions and misrepresentations that will inevitably be part of the highly charged, politicized discussion flooding the country as the trial plays out. Justice Louis Brandeis’s observation that “sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants” is absolutely apt here.

Author Steve Brill wrote a piece in which he argued for televising the trial:

As a result, detractors of Mr. Trump logging on to their favorite websites or watching their favorite news channels would have to see and confront the defense argument that there is not sufficient evidence that Mr. Trump knew he lost the election, which almost certainly must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt to convict him on any of the charges he faces. These are truly strong arguments. That may surprise many Trump haters, given their likely current media diets. They need to be better informed.

Mr. Trump’s defenders, on the other hand, would have to confront the fire hose of detailed evidence of multiple plots to overturn the election, which were outlined convincingly but sparingly in an indictment that few of them have likely read. That, too, is evidence that might not be available in their regular media diets. In fact, they may not have even seen or heard anyone describe the details of the indictment. But they will if they see the trial.


If Trump plays his cards right, folks on the left might later regret a televised trial. Advocating for broadcasting a trial against the greatest showman in American politics is a risky move. Can you imagine how his team would use various clips from the proceedings to further show how politically motivated this circus is?

Trump himself would use parts of the trial to fire up the conservative base and cast himself as the target of a government-led effort to influence the outcome of the upcoming 2024 election. It would be a prime opportunity for the former president to shape public opinion in his favor.

Of course, it is also worth noting that the left could use the broadcast for similar purposes. Undoubtedly, members of the elite media would spin their own narratives about the proceedings to inflame people against Trump. However, the former president has shown time and time again that he plays this game far more skillfully than the CNNs and MSNBCs of the world. It is a gamble that is probably not worth making if they want to turn public opinion further against Trump. Either way, one thing is clear: If the trial is televised, it will be quite a show.


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