Supreme Court ruling could be a big help to Trump: report

By 
 June 24, 2024

A recent ruling by the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court could be a big help to former President Donald Trump. 

This is according to a new report from the Washington Examiner, titled, Trump hush money appeal could be bolstered by latest Supreme Court ruling.

The Supreme Court case is Erlinger v. United States. 

The justices handed down their opinion in the case on Friday. It was a 6-3 decision, with Justice Neil Gorsuch writing the majority opinion.

Background

To understand why legal experts believe that the Supreme Court's ruling in this case could help Trump, one has to know a little bit about the case.

According to ScotusBlog, this is what the justices decided:

The Fifth and Sixth Amendments require a unanimous jury to make the determination beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant’s past offenses were committed on separate occasions for purposes of the Armed Career Criminal Act.

The key, here - for Trump's case - is that the justices ruled that the Constitution requires a unanimous jury to decide certain facts - not the judge - before the judge can hand out an enhanced sentence under the statute.

It is worth noting that the case is not directly on point to Trump's so-called hush-money case, where he has been found guilty, by a jury, of criminally misrepresenting a nondisclosure agreement on business documents.

Nonetheless, legal experts believe that the Supreme Court's ruling could help Trump as he pursues his appeal of his guilty verdict.

The "why?"

The Examiner explains how the justices ruling could help Trump.

"Ahead of Trump’s conviction, [Judge Juan] Merchan told the 12 jury members that they would have to find unanimously that Trump created a fraudulent entry in his company’s records or caused someone else to do so and that he did so with the intent of committing or concealing a crime," the outlet reports.

"However," it continues, "the judge gave the jurors three possible offenses that could serve as the 'unlawful means' by which Trump sought to influence the 2020 election, which included: falsifying other business records, breaking the Federal Election Campaign Act, or submitting false information on a tax return. And to secure the conviction, jurors were told they did not need to agree unanimously on the unlawful means."

Merchan's jury instruction would seem to go against the Supreme Court's ruling in Erlinger, that "requiring a unanimous jury to find every fact [is] essential [to the punishment of offenders]."

Legal experts are now expecting Trump's legal team to cite Erlinger in their appeal.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
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