Featured News

Trump Organization Stumbles in Criminal Trial with Nightmare Start

Judges are human, they don’t know every rule off the top of their heads, but they all know one. In an opening statement to a jury trial, the attorneys get one punch in the first sentence of an opening statement that has nothing to do with facts but accuses the other side of blatantly violating the law, and thus that side will win. After the one-sentence punch, the attorneys’ opening statements are confined to a recitation of facts that the jury is about to hear, slanted in a way that will help their case.

In the criminal trial against the Trump Organization (Not to be confused with the civil trial against Trump himself that opened today in the Bronx)), Trump’s attorneys made an “argument” in response to the prosecutor, an argument that was so egregious, the judge interrupted and sent the jury out for a 15-minute break.

According to Vice’s Greg Walters, who is live-tweeting the trial, the prosecutor made a statement in his opening, one which I find borderline improper unless it was the opening punch. The prosecutor told the 12-person jury that “benefits that covered their personal expenses ‘was a clever scheme; it just wasn’t legal,’ Fine as an opening punch, borderline improper afterward.

But things fell apart when the Trump Organization’s defense attorney,  Susan Necheles, was giving her opening statement and said that this was really a personal tax fraud case. (Remember, she’s defending the Corporation and not the Trumps personally.) She had nowhere to hide. That’s a blatant legal argument.

It was at that point when Judge Juan Merchan interrupted and excused the jury, saying he understood some of the jury members wanted a break. Even if one or two wanted a break, a judge would never interrupt an opening statement, and most jurors would be furious, wanting to hear the facts uninterrupted. A judge may occasionally caution an attorney for arguing in an opening statement but not dismiss the jury.

Once the jury was out of the courtroom, Judge Merchan warned Necheles not to get into the law: “I will permit you to say that he [Trump] acted solely for his benefit, and that’s it. It’s a confusing area of the law, and for them to get confused at this point is not going to help anybody.”

“Acting for his own benefit” is an interpretation of fact.” “This is a personal tax fraud case,” is a legal argument. The Judge will explain the law in jury instructions. Totally improper.

As Walker wrote for Vice:

“Man, I have never seen a judge excuse a jury for 15 minutes in the middle of an opening argument. For those who’ve never sat through a trial before, lawyers DO NOT like to be disrupted while making these openers. It’s their chance to paint the big picture for the jury.”

Me, neither.

Walker then said what I noted above.

: “Like, multiple sustained objections (3x so far) are one thing, but a lengthy break in the middle is just… weird. It seems a juror, or more than one, needed a break (relatable). But I think it’s fair to say this not an auspicious start for the Trump Org defense.

Even multiple objections are weird. All judges know the rule, one punch, then facts… so do all attorneys, and they don’t like having their opening “story” interrupted.



Recent Posts

Senate Democrats To Discuss Putting Conditions On Future Aid To Israel

Senate Democrats say that they will discuss putting conditions on future US aid to Israel…

16 hours ago

As Trump Tries To Avoid Jail, Biden Extends Middle East Ceasefire

Trump spent the Thanksgiving holiday ranting about the criminal and civil cases that he is…

20 hours ago

Trump Melts Down And Claims He Is Not In Cognitive Decline

Trump claimed that he is just being sarcastic when he thinks that Obama is the…

22 hours ago

Republican Party Donations Plunge Under Trump To Their Lowest Level Since 2015

In another sign that Trump is literally killing the Republican Party, donations to the RNC…

1 day ago

Fact Sheet: Biden Takes Steps To Strengthen The Supply Chain And Fight Inflation

Biden is taking dozens of new steps to fight inflation by strengthening the supply chain.

1 day ago

Senate Democrats To Break Tommy Tuberville’s Military Promotions Blockade

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has announced that the Rules Committee has acted on…

1 day ago