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OPINION

How Jury Nullification Could Play Role in Trump Case

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Former U.S. President Donald Trump with attorney Todd Blanche speaks to the media during his trial at Manhattan Criminal Court, on May 21, 2024 in New York City. (Curtis Means-Pool/Getty Images)

Steve Levy By Tuesday, 28 May 2024 09:13 AM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

If our judicial system was truly one of blind justice, the charges in Donald Trump’s hush money trial would have never been brought.

Yet, despite the fact that the prosecution never cited a federal law that was broken, or that paying hush money is not illegal, or that paying off a porn star is not a campaign related matter requiring a filing, there is still a very real possibility that Trump may be found guilty in this bogus matter based upon the concept of jury nullification imposed by a Trump hating deep blue jury that simply wants to send a message.

The jury nullification case that hits closest to home with Trump is the acquittal of Hillary Clinton operative Michael Sussmann in 2019.

The entire Russia hoax scenario started when Hillary Clinton’s campaign concocted the story that Donald Trump would be acting as a Russian agent, and that Putin would be assisting Trump in the campaign as a quid pro quo for Trump‘s allegiance.

They promoted their attorney, Michael Sussmann, to do their dirty work.

In 2016, Sussmann placed an unsolicited call to James Baker, a deep state FBI official, with an urgent message that he had invaluable national security information. That information was the outright false accusations that Trump was colluding with the Russians.

Sussmann affirmatively stated to the FBI that he was acting independently and not on behalf of the Clinton campaign.

This was proven false by the fact that he billed the Clinton campaign for his meeting laying out these false accusations.

There was no doubt that this was a crime.

The charges were taken so seriously that the FBI authorized the spying on Trump’s campaign and placing a cloud over Trump‘s presidency.

But if the evidence was so overwhelming that Sussmann had committed a crime, why did the jury acquit him?

Firstly, the judge issued rulings that limited the jury’s consideration of Sussmann’s lie in the overall conspiracy to aid Clinton in the campaign.

The judge's wife was a lawyer for Lisa Paige, the FBI operative who concocted the "insurance policy" to knock Trump out of office if he were to miraculously get elected.

It’s no wonder the judge didn’t want to allow the greater conspiracy to be heard in his court. It might’ve highlighted his conflict.

Secondly, that lack of context led to a juror admitting she ignored the facts, because:

" . . . we have better time or resources to use or spend to other things that affect the nation as a whole than a possible lie to the FBI."

So now we see how the Trump verdict may suffer a similar fate.

The Trump trial judge, Juan Merchan, is conflicted as his daughter — a Democratic operative — stands to reap financial benefit with a Trump verdict.

The Bragg prosecution should never have been brought for numerous reasons.

1)…The payment to Stormy Daniels was not a campaign contribution, so there was no requirement that it be filed as such.

A campaign contribution is something that is solely for campaign purposes, such as buying buttons or conducting a poll. It’s not for a nondisclosure settlement with a paramour who can embarrass the subject’s family or trigger a moral clause in his TV deal.

The feds failure to convict John Edwards on paying his paramour is proof that there was no legal predicate to the Trump charge.

2)…Unlike the Trump hush money, which was not a campaign expenditure, Clinton’s payment to Sussmann to dirty up Trump was indeed a campaign expenditure.

But Clinton did not want her fingerprints on Sussmann’s meeting with the FBI, so she filed it as a "legal expense," just as Michael Cohen‘s payoff was.

The FEC fined the Clinton campaign, but did not indict her, or raid her home.

They didn’t even charge Sussmann for the improper filing.

They charged him for lying to the FBI. The same charge that led to numerous Republicans being jailed, including Roger Stone, George Papadopoulos, and yes, even Michael Cohen.

3) . . . But even if it was considered a payment that had to be filed for campaign purposes, it’s not clear how it should be classified on the report. If it’s not a legal expense, what should it be labeled as?

4) . . . And even if it was improperly filed, there had to be a link to Trump to prove that he knew about it, and knew it to be illegal, but promoted it anyway.

There was absolutely no evidence to make any link to Trump, except for a statement from Cohen that he told Trump of the payment in a phone call.

But in a jaw-dropping moment on cross examination, it was revealed that that call was actually with the Secret Service agent to complain about prank phone calls to Cohen.

At that stage alone, the case should’ve been dismissed. Alas, it was not, and will not be.

So it goes to a jury in the nation’s deepest blue election precinct. If anyone thinks jury nullification is not a strong possibility here, they haven’t been paying attention.

Steve Levy is President of Common Sense Strategies, a political consulting firm. He served as Suffolk County Executive, as a NYS Assemblyman, and host of "The Steve Levy Radio Show." He is the author of "Solutions to America’s Problems" and "Bias in the Media." www.SteveLevy.info, Twitter @SteveLevyNY, [email protected]. Read more of Steve Levy's reports — Here.

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stevelevy
Despite the fact that the prosecution never cited a federal law that was broken, or that paying hush money is not illegal, or that paying off a porn star is not a campaign related matter requiring a filing, there is still a very real possibility that Trump may be found guilty.
cohen, clinton, sussmann
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2024-13-28
Tuesday, 28 May 2024 09:13 AM
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