Here’s the thing about the Paul Manafort jury


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It’s happened yet again. In a trial in which every development has either been a good sign for the prosecution, or a sign of nothing at all, the mainstream media continues to feed us nonsensical reasons as to why Paul Manafort might magically be let off the hook. First it was the judge’s odd behavior. Then it was the fact that the jury did its job by asking the judge to define the term “reasonable doubt” after the defense used it. Now we’ve been fed a whole new tidbit to fret over.

This time the jury decided to – gasp – go home for the weekend. After two days of deliberations, jurors haven’t yet reached a verdict. Various pundits have rushed in to classify this as a sign that Manafort is going to be acquitted. Huh? This is trial involving more than a dozen different felony charges, many of them based on the kinds of financial fraud that doesn’t even exist in the world that non-wealthy people live in. This is complex work for the jury.

If they had already voted to convict after two days of deliberations, it would suggest that they weren’t doing their homework. So let’s talk about what’s actually going on here. The jury’s request for more information about “reasonable doubt” was part of a series of questions, all of which related to the claims made by the defense team. So this is a matter of the jury examining the defense’s argument, which is was they’re supposed to do, before deciding whether to send a man to prison for the rest of his natural lifespan. So what happens next?

Let’s say, hypothetically, that there is one juror who believes there may be reasonable doubt on one charge, or on a few charges. That’s simple enough: the jury would simply agree to convict Manafort on all the rest of the charges. The jury is not going to choose to hang itself over a disagreement about whether Manafort is guilty on, let’s say, fifteen charges vs eighteen charges.

The bottom line is this: it’s of course theoretically possible that Paul Manafort could somehow be acquitted, but only in the sense that it’s theoretically possible in every trial. When it comes to everything we’ve seen thus far, we haven’t seen anything that would even remotely hint at anything going in Manafort’s favor. If any media outlet tries to tell you otherwise, they’re just trying to spook you into staying tuned in for a largely mundane and predictable trial that hasn’t been particularly good for ratings.

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