AuthorTopic: Manafort Rests Without Calling Witnesses  (Read 62 times)

Online Eddie

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Manafort Rests Without Calling Witnesses
« on: August 14, 2018, 01:34:01 PM »
The mills of the Gods grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly fine.

                           ------Sextus Empiricus



Why Trump will pardon Paul Manafort

By Paul Waldman

Today saw a major development in the trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, as the defense decided not to call any witnesses. So not only wonít Manafort be testifying, neither will anyone else on his behalf.

Which brings us a bit closer to what could be the final disposition of this case: the day when President Trump pardons Manafort.

We should acknowledge that criminal defendants often decide not to call any witnesses; there are a number of situations in which you might choose to do so. Maybe you feel the prosecution did such a poor job that thereís nothing more to add. And since the burden is on them to prove that the defendant is guilty, not calling any witnesses can be a way of making sure the jury focuses on the prosecutionís case, instead of muddying up their deliberation with questions about whether the defense witnesses were credible. You also might be concerned about what the cross-examination of your witnesses could reveal.

But in Manafortís case, itís certainly a risk. The prosecution offered not only people who testified that he committed crimes but also extensive documentation of bank fraud and tax fraud. Thereís another explanation, though, one well put by Franklin Foer, who has reported extensively on Manafort:


Franklin Foer

@FranklinFoer
 I have spent the last couple of days pondering who Manafort would call in his own defense. I couldnít come up with any good names. And apparently neither could he.

11:08 AM - Aug 14, 2018
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Going on the stand himself was probably never under consideration, since cross-examination would have been a nightmare. Itís unclear whether Manafort had any fact witnesses who could refute the evidence that was offered in the prosecutionís case. And there may not be anyone around who would testify to Manafortís sterling character, both because few people want to be associated with him today and because he has long been known as a particularly immoral schemer, almost a walking caricature of the mercenary lobbyist willing to do anything for a buck. Itís unclear whether, even if they had wanted to, his defense could find someone to stand up and say Manafort is a great guy who would never do the things he is accused of.

From the beginning, there has been a question hanging over Manafortís case: Why wonít he flip? After all, other Trump aides have when faced with possible jail time, and Manafort is facing more than anyone. Thereís a real possibility heíll never see another day as a free man. One popular explanation is that heís afraid that if he tells everything he knows, some people in Russia would become displeased enough to kill him.

So Manafort may have decided that itís better to take his chances with a jury than to find a strange substance smeared on his door handle one day. Itís also possible Manafort really has nothing to offer special counsel Robert S. Mueller III about Trump, that his activities, criminal though they might have been, never actually involved the president. That would mean he has no one to flip on.

But letís imagine for a moment that he knows something incriminating about the president ó or even that the president isnít sure what Manafort knows, but suspects that he might know something. (This, by the way, is Adam Davidsonís extremely plausible theory of Russian kompromat: Trump acts the way he does toward Vladimir Putin not because he knows Putin has damaging information on him, but because he just isnít sure what Putin might have.) Would Trump actually go so far as to pardon Manafort, given the firestorm of criticism heíd get?

There are some lines even Trump is unwilling to cross. For instance, while he complains loudly about Attorney General Jeff Sessions not being able to protect him by shutting down the Mueller investigation, so far he hasnít actually fired Sessions and replaced him with someone more pliable, presumably at least in part because his aides have convinced him that doing so would be a political disaster.

At the same time, Trump has spent the past 15 months since Mueller was appointed trying to discredit the investigation, in a campaign designed less to persuade the broader public than to convince his base that it is a witch hunt from start to finish and therefore everything it produces, no matter how factual and supported by evidence, should be ignored and discounted. He has obviously calculated, and rightly so, that if he can keep that base firmly behind him, Republicans in the House will never vote to impeach him, and even if Democrats took control of the chamber and did so, Republicans in the Senate would never vote to convict.

The wheels of justice grind slow, but they grind exceedingly fine.

You can already see the argument heíll make: The whole thing is a witch hunt, the charges are bogus, the jury was a bunch of Angry Democrats, and Iím intervening in the interests of justice. Trump also seems to genuinely believe that the investigation is unfair, and pardoning Manafort would be a great way for him to both assert control and stick it to Mueller.

Itís important to remember that no matter what the jury in this case decides, itís only the first of two trials Manafort faces. The next one, in a federal court in Washington, will deal more directly with Manafortís relationships in the former Soviet Union. Thatís when Trump may start feeling the heat and feeling oppressed, and look for a way to let everyone know whoís really in charge. And thatís the day Manafort, sitting in his jail cell, is fervently hoping for.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2018/08/14/why-trump-will-pardon-paul-manafort/?utm_term=.add6735b1ec3

Manafort looks to get nailed for fraud. The evidence presented in court will be hard to ignore, in spite of the SODDI Defense* presented by his attorneys. Only The Donald can save him, and if he does, it''ll be the biggest miscarriage in that department since Bill Clinton pardoned Marc Rich after taking campaign money from his wife.

* Some Other Dude Did It
« Last Edit: August 14, 2018, 01:38:04 PM by Eddie »
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Offline Surly1

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Re: Manafort Rests Without Calling Witnesses
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2018, 03:45:35 AM »

Why Trump will pardon Paul Manafort

By Paul Waldman

Today saw a major development in the trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, as the defense decided not to call any witnesses. So not only wonít Manafort be testifying, neither will anyone else on his behalf.

Which brings us a bit closer to what could be the final disposition of this case: the day when President Trump pardons Manafort.

I have followed this trial with some interest, especially the acrobatic of the presiding judge. FWIW, I believe a pardon is Manafort's end game strategy.

As I have said before in re 45, "Who's gonna stop him?"
"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

 

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