Judgement Day Looms, Will The Jury Convict?

After four long weeks in an ice-cold Manhattan courtroom featuring a tabloid publisher, a porn star and a former fixer for Donald Trump, People v. Trump will be steamrolling to a grand finale as closing arguments begin on Tuesday.

  • Politico has wallowed in the muck to judge the odds of the outcome, and their team believes the odds of Trump being convicted are fairly good — but not overwhelming.
  • And an acquittal, that would require a unanimous decision of all 12 jurors, appears slim at best.
  • But there is also a very real chance that one or more jurors will refuse to convict — most likely because they are unwilling to fully credit the testimony of Michael Cohen — and that the jury will hang, resulting in a mistrial and a de facto victory for Trump.
In order to establish Trump’s guilt on the felony charges that have been brought, prosecutors have to persuade all 12 of the jurors beyond a reasonable doubt that Trump falsified those records with the intent to conceal “another crime,” such as breaking election laws. 

How Trump Gets Convicted

There are two logical paths for jurors to use to convict Trump — one that goes through Cohen and one that goes around him.

  • Jurors can believe Cohen’s testimony that Trump knew and willingly participated in burying Stormy’s story to win the 2016 election. Jurors don’t need to believe every detail, as long as they follow along with the premise that falsifying business records was intended to conceal the commission of a crime.
  • Or, they can believe the circumstantial evidence, using inference and common sense.
  • For prosecutors to prevail, the jurors don’t have to agree on their reasoning, either, as long as they agree to convict.

How Trump Avoids Conviction

  • Team Trump has to convince at least one juror that there is reasonable doubt on one or more elements of the charges for falsifying his company’s records, relying on the presumption that Cohen is not being a credible witness.
  • Judge Merchan has already told Team Trump that they cannot use the “advice of counsel” defense.
  • But defense lawyers have fairly clearly advanced the notion that Cohen had a couple of motives to lie about Trump: vengeance and greed.

Regardless of the Verdict, Trump Will Continue With His War

If convicted, it’s certain he will appeal. His get-out-of-jail-free card would be a win in November.

But The Don is already pressuring his GOP sycophant allies to solve his problems by passing legislation that would protect a president from non-federal prosecutions.

If Trump gets into the White House again, a MAGAfied attorney general can shut down Special Counsel Jack Smith’s federal criminal cases against Trump, therefore killing the two planned federal trials. But Trump sees a GOP-led House and Senate able to codify the ability to shut down state prosecutions — like Fani Willis’s case in Georgia — by moving them to a federal court.

Last year, Rep. Russell Fry (R-S.C.) introduced the “No More Political Prosecutions Act of 2023.” The bill, just a few lines long, would allow current and former presidents and vice presidents to remove any state or civil cases against them to federal court for any acts committed in the course of their official duties. 

Among the bill’s co-sponsors is House Speaker Mike Johnson.

Rolling Stone

*** With special thanks to our clever administrator Forkless for the snappy Sinatra-esque tune!!