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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

THE MYSTERIOUS ENGLISH LANGUAGE


This post may be overtaken by events before it is even online, but I cannot resist.  The jury in the Paul Manafort trial has just sent a tantalizingly ambiguous note to the judge.  They ask, if we cannot reach agreement on a single count [of the eighteen], how shall we fill out the jury response form?

This could mean:  we have agreed on 17 counts, but are at odds on the 18th – which would almost certainly be good news for the prosecution.

Or it could mean: we have not agreed on a single count, not one.  Which would be spectacular news for the defense.

Ah, English!

7 comments:

MS said...

Lord, I hope it's the former and not the latter.

I can't bear to hear Trump's crowing if its the latter.

To repeat Gerard Manley Hopkins' plea that I quoted yesterday, "Lord, send [our] roots rain."

Anonymous said...

To MS:

Whatever the outcome, we'll never hear Trump eat-crowing.

MS said...

Upon contemplation, I'm thinking that it must mean the former, not the latter. If they could not agree on any counts, their instruction would be clear - they are a hung jury. If the former, it would be unclear how to fill out the jury form, since they are a hung jury on only one count.

I hope I am not allowing my hopes cloud my brain.

s. wallerstein said...

CNN suggests that it's one of the eighteen counts that is problematic.
https://edition.cnn.com/2018/08/21/politics/paul-manafort-trial-jury/index.html

Anonymous said...

Great.

Conviction on 17 counts will be enough to send him to prison for a long, long time.

The next question is, will Trump have the chutzpah to pardon him? And what if he does?

Anonymous said...

Apparently I am allowing my hopes to cloud my brain.

Upon even further contemplation, I realized that even if they reached consensus on 17 of 18 counts, their message does not necessarily mean that they reached consensus on conviction; it could be that they reached consensus on acquittal.

I am going to stop thinking about this. Que sera sera.

Dean said...

Looks like it's the former. NYT provides a full quote: “If we cannot come to a consensus on a single count, how should we fill out the jury verdict sheet for that count, and what does that mean for the final verdict?” The qualification "for that count" clarifies the ambiguity.