In response to the Saturday letter asking if any Democratic leaders have the "courage" to say that the indictment of former President Donald Trump is "an abuse of the legal system and miscarriage of justice," please understand that an assessment of the merits of the case requires reasoning and an objective view of the facts, not bravery. Could we see the indictment and hear the evidence first? That is what the jurors who hear the case will be instructed to do.
Yes, the charges could be a political overreach. But consider the fact that multiple individuals in Trump's political orbit have already been convicted of serious crimes. Those in his business orbit have fared no better. Both the Trump Organization and its CFO have recent felony convictions. Trump's former fixer, Michael Cohen, was convicted of crimes committed, according to the Department of Justice, in cooperation with and at the direction of Trump. Is it reasonable to claim both complete credit for a business's success and total ignorance of its felonies?
Reports suggest that many of the crimes to be charged involve fraud and tax evasion schemes similar to those proven in the criminal case against the Trump Organization. When given the chance to expose the "witch hunt" under oath, Trump invoked the Fifth Amendment over 400 times. If that was done in good faith, Trump himself has acknowledged that truthful answers to the questions posed would tend to incriminate him. Trump's jury cannot consider that as evidence of guilt, but a fair-minded observer certainly could.
Frederick L. Grunke, St. Cloud
The writer is a retired district judge.
The indictment of former President Trump exemplifies our legal system operating as intended with citizens reaching a decision that enough evidence exists to charge him for crimes alleged to have been committed by him. They can also decide not to indict if insufficient evidence of a crime is presented. Grand juries in New York consist of between 16 and 23 citizens drawn from the same jury pool as other juries. They are neighbors, co-workers and community members, not elected politicians. Grand juries and other juries are not chosen by political party affiliation. The grand jury is part of the criminal justice system, not a puppet of the prosecutor.
By contrast, Congress consists of elected members aligned with a political party, usually Democrat or Republican. The Senate twice acquitted Trump following his impeachment trials on articles of impeachment passed by the Democrat-controlled House. The votes to acquit him in the Republican-controlled Senate followed largely party lines. In New York, Trump will have the opportunity to face the facts and criminal charges at trial with citizens deciding the outcome and rendering a verdict like anyone else. He was not indicted by one person or a political party, but a grand jury of New York citizens. That's not politics. It's the law.
Stephen C. Fiebiger, Burnsville
Our state has some power here
Several well-written letters to the editor have appeared over the last few days regarding the need for legislative action to reduce gun violence ("It's time we mean business," Readers Write, March 29). Writers frequently called for action on the national level (Congress), which would be ideal. But let's not forget that commonsense gun safety measures are currently under consideration at our own Minnesota Legislature, and their passage is not assured. So, if you are among the overwhelmingly large percentages of people who favor red-flag laws and universal background checks, be sure to make that known your state representative and state senator. Polling statistics are valuable, but they don't speak for you.
Of course, specify in your remarks any other measures you favor — banning assault weapons is at the top of my list. Military-style weapons belong in the military, not in the public arena, where they are often the weapons of choice used in mass shootings.
You might also join one of the gun-safety organizations active in Minnesota, like Protect Minnesota and Moms Demand Action, which will keep you apprised of developing legislative efforts. Keep in mind this quote attributed to Margaret Mead: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."
Lisa Wersal, Vadnais Heights
In the recent letter "Make schools harder targets" (April 3), I kept waiting for the irony, the twist at the end where the writer revealed that the "safety" he envisioned for students and teachers was not to imprison them behind impenetrable walls and locked, bullet-resistant doors. It never came. Look at what you're proposing! Locking our kids up is not protecting them. Commonsense gun reform (banning assault weapons, requiring registration and insurance, red-flag laws, etc.) along with socio-emotional support for students and families will make students safer. Putting them in prison will not.
Heidi Wrenson, St. Paul
It's illegal for an 18-year-old to buy a pack of cigarettes. It's illegal for a 20-year-old to buy a beer. But it's OK for both of them to carry a handgun in public ("State age limit in gun law struck down," April 3). Absurd.
Erica Schmiel, Edina
In Monday's "State age limit in gun law struck down," the court ruled as it should. Why shouldn't 18-year-olds be trusted with a firearm? When I was 17 and in the Army, this nation trusted me with every kind of weapon imaginable, including grenades and bazookas. Additional to which, it trusted me to lay down my life, if necessary. How can we put that responsibility on a teenager and at the same time say he is not old enough to handle firearms? Law-abiding 18-year-olds are every bit as trustworthy with a firearm as are 21-year-olds.
Earl Faulkner Sr., Edina
A 'new era' of lawlessness?
Regarding "A new era ahead for Mpls. policing" (editorial, April 3): Minneapolis City Council, please explain how turning a blind eye to violations of the law is moving this city forward. Ask officers how many illegal guns are discovered by pulling over vehicles for minor violations. The answer may astound you. And, until city officials start to support our Police Department and judges start to hold perpetrators accountable, crime will continue to flourish.
Marlene Nelson, Minneapolis
How many normal homes could you rent for $17,000?
I am appalled to learn that the Democrats have approved spending more than $17,000 a month of taxpayers' money to provide a lake home for Gov. Tim Walz, while we also pay for the renovation of the governor's residence ("Walzes to move out amid upgrades," March 28). It is particularly galling that this is happening at a time when Walz and his fellow Democrats are proposing tax hikes on hardworking people who are struggling to make ends meet. It seems unfair that taxpayers should foot the bill for such an extravagant residence when most of Walz's constituents are simply trying to make enough money to cover their basic expenses. I wonder how this decision was justified and why it was allowed to happen.
Kathryn Egly, Lakeville
Interesting story and separate editorial in the Star Tribune last week. The governor will move into temporary housing renting for $17,300 a month while the governor's residence is being renovated. Meanwhile, the Star Tribune's editorial calls for rental assistance! ("The case for rental assistance," March 28.)
Ken Hiller, Chaska