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Testimony for money opportunity is knockin’

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Donald Trump becoming the first American president to be convicted of a felony is truly a mystery that will never be understood:

Nine witnesses in the criminal cases against former President Donald Trump have received significant financial benefits, including large raises from his campaign, severance packages, new jobs, and a grant of shares and cash from Trump’s media company.

The benefits have flowed from Trump’s businesses and campaign committees, according to a ProPublica analysis of public disclosures, court records and securities filings. One campaign aide had his average monthly pay double, from $26,000 to $53,500. Another employee got a $2 million severance package barring him from voluntarily cooperating with law enforcement. And one of the campaign’s top officials had her daughter hired onto the campaign staff, where she is now the fourth-highest-paid employee.

These pay increases and other benefits often came at delicate moments in the legal proceedings against Trump. One aide who was given a plum position on the board of Trump’s social media company, for example, got the seat after he was subpoenaed but before he testified.

Significant changes to a staffer’s work situation, such as bonuses, pay raises, firings or promotions, can be evidence of a crime if they come outside the normal course of business. To prove witness tampering, prosecutors would need to show that perks or punishments were intended to influence testimony.

Donald Trump being shocked to actually face consequences for a lifetime of criminal misconduct is like Orval Faubus being surprised when Eisenhower tried to enforce Brown for the first and last time by sending the Screaming Eagles into Little Rock — he wasn’t wrong to be surprised, but that doesn’t make Ike’s actions wrong on the merits.

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