Johnathan Turley says Trump's New York trial may end in a hung jury

 May 26, 2024

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg made headlines last year by indicting former President Donald Trump over an alleged hush-money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels.

While many on the left cheered Bragg's move as a way to damage Trump politically, one legal expert says it could backfire in the form of a hung jury. 

Turley compares indictment to an abstract painting

Johnathan Turley is a professor at George Washington University Law School, and he made that argument in an op-ed piece published by The Hill on Saturday.

Turley began by comparing Bragg's indictment of Trump to the work of abstract artist Jackson Pollock, writing that the district attorney "has created a new school of abstract law."

As with Pollock's paintings, "there is no need for objective meaning." Instead, jurors are "simply supposed to enjoy it for what it is: a chance to convict Donald Trump."

For an example of this, Turley pointed to Bragg "regenerating a dead misdemeanor on falsifying business records as 34 felony counts."

That feat was achieved by asserting "that the document violations (which expired long ago under the statute of limitations) were committed to hide some other crime."

Judge to give conflicting jury instructions

Turley noted that whereas Bragg once "vaguely referenced four crimes," he has since settled on just three: "state and federal election violations and taxation violations."

He also pointed out that Judge Juan Merchan will permit jurors to disagree over which of those crimes the records were falsified in furtherance of.

Thus, "there could be three groups of four jurors, with one believing that there was a conspiracy to conceal a state election violation, another believing there was a federal election violation (which Bragg cannot enforce), and a third believing there was a tax violation, respectively."

"In other words, they could look at the indictment and see vastly different shapes, but still send Trump to prison on their interpretations," Turley explained.

Prosecution's star witness Michael Cohen is a convicted perjurer

The law professor then turned his attention to the prosecution's star witness Michael Cohen, recalling how the disgraced former lawyer has already pleaded guilty to perjury.

"You can throw paint on Cohen all day, but it will not cover up the fact that he is a pathological liar and grifter," Turley wrote.

Given Cohen's untrustworthiness and the confusing instructions, Turley thus concluded by arguing that a hung jury might be "the most likely possibility."

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
© 2015 - 2024 Conservative Institute. All Rights Reserved.