I have the fantasy of Trump presenting a "not guilty by reason of insanity" defense in a trial. Of course he would never allow this, but nonetheless I thought it might make for an interesting thought exercise.
Because I was a psychotherapist for 40 year and have been writing and reading about Trump’s dangerous psychopathy since before he was elected I enjoyed imagining his insanity defense. Really, I am like 99% of those who read Daily Kos in that I want Trump to stand trial trying to mount a defense filled with lies and/or his claim that anything he did was justified because he was basically an emperor.
I realized that anything I posted for a general, if very progressive readership like Daily Kos has, would take a lot of time to write if I wanted to have links to the well known mental health experts I'd reference. Feeling lazy I decided not to do this in this diary leaving it up to readers to look up names I reference here (including me) and also topics, for example search Google Trump mentally ill, they want to learn more about.
Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity
The experts in his trial would testify for the prosecution saying he was quite capable of understanding that what he did was illegal. They would be those who have been published in books like The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump and in major media, and have been interviewed on TV shows, particularly on Lawrence O'Donnell. They would include John D. Gartner, David Reis, Lance Dodes, Bandy Lee and even the well-published naysayer Allen Francis. Francis has his opinions included in numerous articles for counterpoint since he says Trump does not meet the criteria for being diagnosed as having narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).
Most amateur diagnosticians have mislabeled President Trump with the diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder. I wrote the criteria that define this disorder, and Mr. Trump doesn’t meet them. He may be a world-class narcissist, but this doesn’t make him mentally ill, because he does not suffer from the distress and impairment required to diagnose mental disorder.
Of course since he wrote this the description of Trump not having NPD, saying her did (and worse) has been not only something offered by so-called amateur diagnosticians. Many professional diagnosticians from well known mental health experts to this diarist have assessed him as a malignant narcissist which combines NPD and sociopathic disorder with other characteristics such as sadism.
I’d find how mental health experts would make a case for the defense and the prosecution to be interesting. Generally to be found not guilty by reason of insanity the case has to be made that the defendant did was so mentally ill that they didn’t know or understand that what they did was against the law because of their mental illness.
The prosecution experts would explain that the disorders Trump had did not make him irrational. In fact, people with the majority of psychiatric disorders besides in only a few instances some untreated psychosis are rational enough to stand trial for crimes they are charged with. If anybody with a disorder listed in the DSM could get off for crimes our jails would be nearly empty considering the exhaustive list of disorders included there, for example: those which cause suffering like anxiety and depression, substance abuse disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, and of course those who make others suffer like someone with anti-social personality disorder which many criminal may have, and narcissistic personality disorder.
The defense would have to find experts who would testify that at the time Trump did the things he was being charged with he was so severely mentally he couldn’t tell right from wrong. They would have to find credible experts who would present evidence that showed him to be clinically delusional.
I can see them calling other witnesses who work in the White House who described how they helped cover up behavior so bizarre that had he not have been president he would have been committed to a psychiatric hospital for evaluation. I think it is quote possible that it would be revealed that there was talk about invoking the 25th Amendment long before January 6th.
It will never happen but thanks for indulging my fantasy and reading this.
- The are also cases where a potential defendant is judged to be so mentally ill they can’t understand the charges against them. This could happen if Trump had a psychotic break prior to his trial.
- There are instances where people have been convicted of crimes when they truly didn’t understand that what they did was wrong. For example a paranoid schizophrenic may have had command hallucinations telling him to hurt someone (some people who tried to or actually kill presidents or presidential candidates heard voices telling them to do this).
- There are also people who have development disorders and are intellectually so impaired they didn’t know that what they did was wrong.
- Here’s just one link about how the DSM gained the nickname of The Bible of Psychiatry.