Al’s Afternoon Tea: Trump ‘Doesn’t Rest,’ But His Defense Does; Closing Arguments to Come

Plus New Jersey gym owner who gained fame defying draconian lockdown orders has had all charges against him dropped.

"Hey, your honor, wait up! You forgot these balanced scales of justice."

By Al Perrotta Published on May 21, 2024

Welcome back in for Al’s Afternoon Tea. Shall we sip and savor the latest news?

The Trump Defense Rested Today

Donald Trump rested his defense today in the so-called “hush money” trial after the testimony of former Michael Cohen attorney Robert Costello. Beforehand, Trump declared, “I don’t rest. I’d like to rest sometimes, but I don’t get to rest.”

So we end the evidentiary portion of the trial with still no explanation of what felony Trump has been accused of, let alone proven guilty of. Even CCN is acknowledging that Michael Cohen admitting he robbed Trump while working for him is enough to show reasonable doubt. Less surprising, MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell tried explaining away Cohen’s theft. Trump Derangement Syndrome is a terrible disease.

The defense had wanted to call federal campaign finance expert and former Federal Elections Commission Chairman Brad Smith to explain why District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s argument that Trump somehow violated federal campaign finance law was nonsense, but Judge Juan Merchan would not allow him to testify to that. So Smith posted a thread explaining what he would have said, including these key points:

Merchan is considering a defense motion for a directed verdict. But his daughter has given him about 100 million reasons why that’s not likely to happen.

If Merchan doesn’t do the right thing and end this charade, closing arguments are scheduled to begin May 28.

Victory: New Jersey Gym Owner Battled COVID Mandates and Now He’s Won

During the dark days of the COVID lockdowns in spring of 2020, New Jersey businessman Ian Smith defied orders to close his Atilis Gym. You may remember Smith from his TV appearances — the jacked, tatted dude with the Duck Dynasty beard and quick turn of phrase, telling off Gov. Phil Murphy in ways we cannot repeat.

Smith argued that not only were the draconian mandates from Murphy unconstitutional and destructive to small businesses, but that exercise and fitness were a prime way to ward off serious cases of COVID. His loud defiance did not sit well the Democratic governor. Murphy sent swarms of officers to arrest Smith, boarded up his gym, and seized his bank accounts.

Smith ended up facing 80 charges. However, on Saturday, Smith announced a New Jersey court has thrown out all of them.

But it ain’t over. In a post on X, Smith vowed to go on the offensive. (WARNING: There is some vulgarity in the tweet.) “This victory opens the battlefield again and gives us options to continue to push back and bring justice to the treasonous actions of Phil Murphy and his lackies.”

Huh? Kansas City Star: Cut Harrison Butker … in Favor of a Female Kicker

The assault on Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker for his impassioned defense of motherhood and family has now descended even further into woke madness. The Kansas City Star has not only urged the Chiefs to dump the kicker from their roster, but to replace him with a woman.

The headline is an eye-opener: “The KC Chiefs should fire Harrison Butker and hire someone who kicks like a girl.”

Editorial writer Jack Hamm declared, “For poetic justice after Harrison Butker’s Neanderthal outburst — and because the pipeline of talent is real — the Kansas City Chiefs’ next kicker should be a woman.”

Hamm argues there are plenty of women who can kick. Sure. But none have yet proven to be elite enough for the NFL. (The key word being yet.) Perhaps the solution is for Butker to don a dress for post-game interviews. Identify as female, the woke will be happy, and Hamm can’t say Butker’s not a real woman or he’ll be cancelled.

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This probably doesn’t count in the minds of his critics, but Butker not only has the longest field goal in Chiefs history, he is one of the most accurate kickers in NFL history with a career field goal percentage of 89.1.

So what’s the only rational explanation for the editorial for dumping Butker in favor of some unproven female? Writer Hamm is a closeted Bills fans. Or satire worthy of Jonathan Swift.

At least the Kansas City Star doesn’t have the doofiest headline of the week. That honor goes to TIME magazine, with “Florida Making It Hard for Men to Have Abortions.”

Why We Have to Win School Board Elections, Take 99: Michigan District Orders Teachers to Stop Using “Boy” or “Girl”

Another jaw-dropper uncovered by Libs of TikTok. The “Executive Director of Teaching and Learning” for the Saline (Michigan) School District has notified staff that they are no longer to use the terms “boy” and “girl” Oh, what Kara Davis writes is a beaut. Take this gem:

I also recognize that there is historical accuracy to this practice, however I want to ensure we aren’t replicating harmful practices on students of today to model what happened historically.

With this in mind, an adjustment that needs to be communicated to the docents/schoolmasters is that they should not use “boy/girl” to refer to students.

So forget that in all of human history we had boys and girls. Kids today are different.

But wait! There’s more. Saline Superintendent Steve Laatsch doubled down on ditching “boy” and “girl,” and in an email uncovered by Libs of TikTok basically instructed staff not to talk about the ditching of those terms publicly.

Which gets us to a perfectly timed new series starting today on The Stream.

On The Stream Menu

Hot out of the oven, bestselling author John Amanchukwu begins a 14-part series on how to confront leftist indoctrination in schools called “Protect the Children.” Today, we ran Part One, “Why You need to Protect Your Kids from Administrators at School.”

Also freshly posted, “The Hunting of Sidney Powell, Part 2” from legal expert Daniel Street. This one lays out the multitude of dubious actions taken by the state of Michigan to ensure victory for Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election, particularly with the use of mail-in ballots in ways Michigan courts later found illegal, and how state officials went after Powell in court for exposing it.

Plus John Zmirak scores with “You May Not Be Interested in Lawfare, But It’s Interested in You.”


Al Perrotta is The Stream’s Washington bureau chief, coauthor with John Zmirak of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Immigration, and coauthor of the counterterrorism memoir Hostile Intent: Protecting Yourself Against Terrorism.

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