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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

GOING OUT ON A LIMB

I have a theory regarding which of the 18 counts the Manafort jury cannot agree on.  Manafort is charged with misrepresenting his true assets in order to get a 16 million dollar loan from a small Chicago bank.  But it was testified to that the bank president, who had dreams of glory, wanted a cabinet appointment.  It is plausible that Manafort got the loan not because he exaggerated his collateral but because he pandered to the bank president's ambitions [not a crime in our glorious political system.]

If I turn out to be right, you heard it here first.

7 comments:

MS said...

Can things get any nuttier?

The Miami Herald has endorsed a woman in a Republican primary for the 27th Florida Congressional Districts who unabashedly claims that she was abducted by aliens at the age of 7, that "she was taken aboard a spaceship and, throughout her life, she has communicated telepathically with the beings, which remind her of the concrete Christ in Brazil." According to the Herald, these beliefs are irrelevant to whether she is qualified to become a Congresswoman.

"It's a Barnum and Bailey world, just as crazy as it can be ... ."

David Palmeter said...

I'm worried about the Manafort verdict. The judge was impatiently pushing the prosecution throughout its presentation, and made a number of remarks prejudicial to the prosecution. If Manafort is acquitted, there's no retrying him even if it is established that the judge acted improperly. The jury was also selected in a single day--unusual for a case of this complexity.

My only experience with juries is from sitting on two of them. Based on that experience, I can state unequivocally that I would never want my fate decided by a jury.

MS said...

David Palmeter,

But have you not seen "12 Angry Men"?

MS said...

Hurrah!

Manafort found guilty on 8 coutns!

MS said...

The fact that the jurors were able to reach consensus and convict on 8 counts, while not finding consensus on the remaining 10 counts, speaks to their faithful observance of the instructions they were given by the judge. The counts involved very complicated issues relating to tax evasion and bank fraud. A lot of the evidence was documentary. Manafort enjoyed the presumption of innocence. The prosecution had the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Manafort, as was his right, did not testify. So, the jurors, as was their obligation, did not conclude that Manafort's failure to testify was a sign of guilt. The jury system is not perfect; jurors are not perfect. But it is, I believe, the best form of adjudicating guilt and innocence (not quite technically accurate, since a not guilty verdict does not equate to innocence) that is humanly possible.

Charles Pigden said...

Has Professor Wolff's conjecture been confirmed? I gather that the Defence's plea on the relevant counts is that Manafort cannot have defrauded the Chicago bank if the CEO of that bank was effectively colluding with him by giving him badly secured loans in order to attain political office.

I am continually astonished by the comical greed and venality of these people. Mel Brooks' Governor in Blazing Saddles is scarcely a caricature (except that Trump himself is sober).

Anonymous said...

MS wrote: “Manafort enjoyed the presumption of innocence… [thus] the jurors, as was their obligation, did not conclude that Manafort's failure to testify was a sign of guilt.” This reminds me of a passage in The Critique of Pure Reason (B661), where Kant says: “no one should be charged with wanting to deny something just because he does not have the confidence to assert it,”—i.e., his innocence, in this case. Since this is the blog of a renowned Kant scholar, it seems to me appropriate to cite this here.