Thursday, May 30, 2024

BREAKING: Manhattan Jury Finds Former President Guilty in Bookkeeping Case


AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura

Donald Trump was found guilty today of 34 counts of falsifying bookkeeping records. 

There was already little doubt when this trial began on April 15, 2024, with jury selection that this collection of Manhattanites would find Donald Trump guilty. Manhattan voted overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton in 2016 and Joe Biden in 2020. 

As the trial dragged on for weeks, keeping the 2024 GOP candidate on the sidelines, it became crystal clear that Judge Juan Merchan was the prosecution's plus-one to this party. Merchan was all-in on the prosecution's confusing, Jenga-like legal theory of the case and did all he could to hold up the rickety superstructure for prosecutors. Merchan allowed the prosecutor to testify to facts not in evidence in the five-hour-long closing argument, yet ruled out witness testimony that was helpful to Trump's case during the trial.

It was an embarrassment of the "judicial" process. Lady Justice didn't just peek under her blindfold; she gawked. 

The list of reversible errors in this case will need a Lizzo-size binder to contain them all, but it will be too late for Trump in his run for 2024. Mission Accomplished for the Democrats, DNC, DA Alvin Bragg, Team Biden, and these prosecutors. It's all they wanted. Trump will win his appeal, but from here on out, he will be known as "convicted felon" Donald Trump, just as the lawfare left planned.

Bragg won't prosecute men who bash women in the head on the streets, the illegal aliens who beat up cops, or roll up a guy who sets people on fire, but by gawd, he fulfilled his stated goal to get Trump on statute-run bookkeeping charges. 

By all means, go through the stories my PJ Media colleagues and I have written about this case in detail and consider that this case should never have been brought, but I think the seven-man, five-woman jury verdict comes down to ten main things that were the first things I thought of as closing arguments wrapped up.

  • Slapping Trump with a gag order.
  • Hiding the underlying crime from the defense until it was included in jury instructions.
  • Prosecutors putting Michael Cohen on the stand, knowing he would lie.
  • The judge shutting down Cohen's former lawyer on the stand when he testified that Cohen had lied.
  • Allowing prosecutors to introduce, indeed testify, in closing arguments, that Cohen committed campaign finance violations, though the judge said they couldn't.
  • Cohen's plea bargain with the feds on campaign elections violations. Cohen took the plea bargain and copped to unrelated campaign violations to get less time in prison for personal tax and bank fraud convictions.
  • Failing to put CFO Allen Weisselberg on the stand, the one guy who knew about Trump's involvement in the bookkeeping of payments. He was kept in prison, not given immunity, and not allowed to testify.
  • Merchan limiting the top expert in campaign elections law Brad Smith's testimony so much that he couldn't explain why he'd previously ruled that Cohen's payments to Stormy Daniels were not campaign donations. He would have been allowed to give definitions of words. Merchan limited the testimony so his understanding of campaign law wouldn't be countermanded by an expert. He said it would be "confusing" to jurors.
  • The switcheroo by the judge allowing prosecutor Josh Steinglass to testify about elections law during closing arguments.
  • Allowing Stormy Daniels to testify in a bookkeeping case to give her gratuitous, X-rated, scripted rendition of sex with Trump back in 2006 in her renewed extortion of him before the 2016 election.
  • Giving jurors an a la carte menu of "crimes" that didn't have to be committed but just imagined by Trump. Juror instructions said they could find their own, nonunanimous, main crime, a tax crime, or state or federal campaign finance violation to attach to the 34 indictments to elevate them to felonies. The bookkeeping charges must be unanimous. Apparently, this was not considered confusing to jurors. 

After watching closing arguments in the courtroom, Georgetown Law professor and defense attorney Jonathan Turley said, "It's not that I've never seen anything like this, I haven't even read anything like this. What I saw in that courtroom was really otherworldly. I've really attempted to give the judge the benefit of the doubt on many occasions, but what I saw [during closing arguments] was, frankly, outrageous.”

"At one point, the prosecutor actually said that Michael Cohen committed a federal election violation upon the orders of Donald Trump," Turley gasped. 

"Now, Merchan has given an instruction that the jury is not supposed to attribute Cohen's plea deal [as guilt] towards Trump. The defense objected and Merchan just overruled him and allowed the prosecutor to repeatedly state that federal elections violations by Trump are a fact and that there's not any dispute of that," the shocked attorney added. 

"And Merchan just sat there. He was as useful as a ficus plant in that courtroom. I kept looking, waiting on him for any sign that the judge was even listening to some of these arguments," he plaintively explained. "I can't imagine a jury member going into deliberations and not assuming that this is an established fact that federal elections law violations have occurred in this case because [the judge] has allowed prosecutors to say it dozens of times."

This, of course, makes Merchan's ruling on limiting the federal elections expert testimony all the more pernicious.

Turley said the judge also allowed prosecutor Josh Steinglass to "testify" that former Trump aide "Hope Hicks burst into tears because she knew that she had destroyed any defense by Donald Trump. Really? How do you know that?" 

At one point during the closing argument, the prosecutor testified that "catch and kill" — killing embarrassing stories before they see the light of day — were uniquely done in this case and that they'd never been done before. "That's not in the record," Turley said. 

"Some of the most outrageous hoaxes were killed and perpetrated [in the same campaign] by the Hillary Clinton campaign with an enabling media," Turley fumed. "In fact," he noted, "many of the reporters listening helped the Hillary Clinton campaign do that. And that was what was so otherworldly today."

Turley's shocking examples of unethical behavior in the courtroom characterize the entire trial. 

You can see what the Trump defense team was up against. 

Let the appeals begin.