Politics

Legal Expert Sounds Alarm On Judge’s Jury Instructions in Trump Trial

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.


Jury deliberations began on Wednesday in the historic trial of former President Donald Trump.

Judge Juan Merchan gave the jury instructions to “set aside” their preconceived notions about Trump to evaluate the case’s facts and refrain from making assumptions about the potential punishment for the president.

Merchan stated, “If [the] people satisfy their burden of proof you must find the defendant guilty,” indicating that it is the prosecution’s responsibility to establish Trump’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

“Merchan also cautioned the jury against convicting Trump based only on Michael Cohen’s testimony, Trump’s former fixer, as Cohen was an accomplice. If they believe it is supported by additional data, they may utilize it anyway,” Axios reported.

Deliberations might last several days due to the case’s complexity and the number of counts.

If the jury cannot reach a unanimous decision, a mistrial will be declared.

Fox News contributor and legal analyst Andy McCarthy took note of Judge Merchan’s jury instructions, saying he believed them to be incorrect.

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Below is a transcript of the exchange on Fox News, via Grabien:

Host Bill Hemmer: What happens if you get a conviction for an active candidate and how it changes his campaign. This commute did not take long at all. We’ve got an early summer in late may here in New York and it is an otherwise beautiful day. The former president just passed screen to the left. Andy, before a commercial break you were talking about the complications for the jurors and what they need to consider. Don junior is there as well and others. I don’t have a list. Jason Miller. He was in front of the camera yesterday. Habba, an attorney. Turley wrote this yesterday and important to the entire matter what the jurors get. I will read it and I apologize for getting away from the screen here. I have to show viewers this. He wrote the following. Judge merchan has even ruled that the jurors can disagree on what actually occurred in terms of the second crime. This means there could be three groups of four jurors with one believing there was a conspiracy to conceal a state election violation. Another believing there was a federal election violation that Bragg cannot enforce and a third believing there was a tax violation respectively. The judge will treat that as a unanimous verdict. They could see vastly shapes but send Trump to prison on their interpretations. Is that the way it works, Andy?

McCarthy: No, it is not. It is really — it would be a constitutional outrage in any case, bill, because juries have to find unanimously beyond a reasonable doubt that the prosecution has proved all of the elements of the case. So the idea that they don’t have to agree on something that essential in any case would be outrageous. But considering the historic nature of this case and also considering and I think this is very important, the other crime is what turns this from a misdemeanor on which the statute of limitations has run, to a four-year felony that has a six-year statute of limitations and why we’re all here. That crime has to be one that everybody agrees on. It is outrageous that they don’t have to agree on that.

Hemmer: Wow.

WATCH:

 

A noted legal analyst told a CNN panel on Tuesday as closing arguments were being made in former President Donald Trump’s so-called ‘hush money’ case that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s prosecutors fell “way short” of proving guilt.

“They fell way short,” defense attorney Randy Zelin told CNN’s Kate Bolduan.

“Let’s start with reasonable doubt. What is reasonable doubt? And it’s not simply a doubt based upon reason. Any time a human being needs to make an important decision in life, if you have enough information, for example, doctor says you need open-heart surgery, ‘Doc, go ahead and schedule. I don’t have a reasonable doubt,”’ Zelin added.

“Conversely, if I say, ‘I appreciate it, but I need a second opinion, I need more information,’ that is having a reasonable doubt. There is reasonable doubt all over this case,” he said.

Zelin continued his criticism of the prosecution, questioning why Trump bodyguard Keith Schiller and former Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg did not testify. He also highlighted Michael Cohen’s lack of credibility as a significant flaw in the prosecution’s case.

“He’s a fixer. If the plumber comes to my house to fix my leak, I could be home — that doesn’t mean I know how he’s doing it and what it’s taking to be fixed,” Zelin said.

As the nation awaits the verdict in Trump’s “hush money” trial in Manhattan, New York, a legal analyst is noting one moment from adult film star Daniels’ testimony that could have had a lasting impact on the jury.

Legal analyst Harry Litman, reporting from the Manhattan courtroom, noted that Daniels might have caused some confusion among the jury with her “wild” testimony.

“There was a lot to see as far as the jury. We’re talking about a very, very colorful witness who detailed kinds of events and just efforts and ways of being that, I think, for the jury, were fairly foreign. She spoke very quickly, nervously, she told a lot of jokes, but not all of them landed,” he tol MSNBC.

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