John Durham says politically biased juries made bringing cases difficult

 May 23, 2023

Special Counsel John Durham's final report contained a number of disturbing revelations, including that the FBI was "markedly different" in how it treated Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign versus Hillary Clinton's.

Yet although Durham had tough words for law enforcement and the intelligence community, his most shocking conclusion concerns D.C.-area federal courts. 

Durham chose not to bring criminal charges due to biased juries

As The Federalist contributor Margot Cleveland pointed out in an article published on Monday, Durham discovered just how challenging it is to win a conviction when jurors have a strong partisan.

In explaining why he brought few criminal indictments despite coming across multiple individuals who deserved "censure or disciplinary action."

"In examining politically-charged and high-profile issues such as these, the Office must exercise — and has exercised — special care," Durham wrote.

The special counsel stressed that "juries can bring strongly held views to the courtroom in criminal trials involving political subject matters."

DOJ insists that J6 trials remain in D.C. despite partisan jury pool

He argued that such "views can, in turn, affect the likelihood of obtaining a conviction, separate and apart from the strength of the actual evidence and despite a court’s best efforts to empanel a fair and impartial jury."

Cleveland noted that Durham's led to accusations that he is undermining faith in the court system, with the Washington Post publishing a piece called, "Did the Durham Report’s Criticism of Juries Go Too Far?"

Yet according to Cleveland, the evidence for Durham's claim isn't just "the unsuccessful cases Durham brought against Michael Sussmann in the D.C. federal court and Igor Danchenko in the nearby federal court in Virginia."

Instead, she also drew attention to "the DOJ’s insistence that the scores of J6 prosecutions remain in the nation’s capital."

This is despite the fact that federal courts must grant a defendant's request for a change of venue if "so great a prejudice against the defendant exists … that the defendant cannot obtain a fair and impartial trial there."

Congress can create new rules on venue change

Cleveland reminded her readers that "cases against individuals viewed by the local populace as political pariahs make for easy convictions," something which has been proven in D.C., where 90% of voters opposed Trump in both 2016 and 2020.

"In fact, so great is the concern of a pro-DOJ bias that several defendants have made the nearly unheard-of decision in a criminal case to waive their right to a jury trial and have the judge decide their fate," she added.

Cleveland called on Congress to "amend the venue rules to give defendants a better opportunity to relocate highly politicized cases to less partisan locales" as well as to increase the number of peremptory challenges that the defense and prosecution can use to eliminate suspect jurors.

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