If you’ve never watched the show Better Call Saul, it’s well worth your time and effort.
The prequel to Breaking Bad follows an aspiring attorney who becomes a “criminal lawyer”. A key theme of the show is protagonist Jimmy McGill’s conflict with his brother, Chuck, who urges him to follow the ethos that the law is sacred and should be protected at all costs.
I’ll refrain from any spoilers, but the key theme is relevant today. Lawyers for Donald Trump are being charged, and pleading guilty, to crimes for which they have been accused.
We use lawyers when we need assistance with the laws that govern us and play a huge role in our day-to-day lives. From civil disputes over defamation to high-profile criminal cases over a subversion of democracy, lawyers are there when we need them – they are meant to be a trusted guardian of the law.
Fulton County Co-Defendants
In Georgia, lawyers for former president Trump are pleading guilty to their involvement in his alleged election interference efforts. Three of them, namely Kenneth Chesebro, Sidney Powell and Jenna Ellis, have pleaded guilty for their involvement in a bid to avoid jail time.
Lawyers are protected from attorney-client privilege. During a murder case, for example, a lawyer will not be prosecuted for obstruction of justice when their client confesses to the heinous crime they’ve committed. Otherwise, how would the attorney be able to represent the accused with full confidence?
There is a difference when the lawyer is a willing participant. A lawyer in a murder case can hide details from the court in order to protect their client, but they cannot dispose of the body and pretend it never happened.
That crossover applies across the board, whether it’s an attempted murder of a victim or democracy. The three lawyers – and there are others who’ve been accused – have all admitted that they broke the law which they’re supposed to protect.
Law Thrown Into Doubt
One must wonder what the future is for trust in the United States legal system.
On the one hand, the law has arguably worked as it’s supposed to. Three lawyers who have been accused of breaking the law have admitted doing so, and will see the appropriate punishments, let alone the end of their legal careers.
On the other, there will be questions as to how many lawyers are actively involved in the criminal aspect of their role beyond the accepted attorney-client privilege. Former president Trump and his 18 co-defendants will certainly not be the last controversial high-profile case, but the involvement of lawyers may undermine trust in the judicial system which governs our lives.
A lack of trust in the law is the first step towards anarchy. After that, then one can only fear what lies ahead.
Shay Bottomley is a British journalist based in Canada. He has written for the Western Standard, Maidenhead Advertiser, Slough Express, Windsor Express, Berkshire Live and Southend Echo, and has covered notable events including the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.