Attorney watching NYC trial says Trump may win appeal but Dems may get their headline

Attorney watching NYC trial says Trump may win appeal but Dems may get their headline

Attorney watching NYC trial says Trump may win appeal but Dems may get their headline

While jurors in the New York City trial of Donald Trump consider the charges, they do so with instructions that guarantee a guilty decision will not stand on appeal, attorney Ron Coleman predicts.

Deliberations began Wednesday afternoon, minutes after Judge Juan Merchan, a contributor to Democrat causes, gave jurors their final instructions … including his guidance that they need not be unanimous on Trump’s alleged lawbreaking.

According to Jonathan Turley, a nationally recognized attorney and legal scholar, the “coup de grace” of Merchan’s instructions came when he told jurors a free-for-all on the subject of what crime had actually been committed would be perfectly acceptable.

Merchan told jurors “There is no need to agree on what occurred. They can disagree on what the crime was among the three choices,” Turley wrote on X.

If Trump’s attorneys are hoping for a hung jury, Merchan made that outcome a lot harder.

“Thus, this means that they could be split 4-4-4, and he will still treat them as unanimous,” Turley said.

Andrew McCarthy, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney, told Fox News Merchan’s instructions should be considered “constitutional outrage in any case.”

“Juries have to find unanimously beyond a reasonable doubt that the prosecution has proved all of the elements of the case," McCarthy told Fox viewers. "So the idea that they don't have to agree on something that essential in any case would be outrageous."

Trump is accused of falsifying business records -- seven years ago -- to conceal a payment made to former porn actress Stormy Daniels to buy her silence about an alleged affair.

He’s also accused of campaign finance violations -- for allegedly using campaign funds for the pay-off – and of tax fraud.

In New York, falsifying business records in the first degree is a Class E felony. Trump faces 34 counts with each carrying a maximum sentence of up to four years in prison.

The unusual latitude given jurors by Merchan makes the verdict weak in the appeal, Coleman, of the Dhillon Law Group, told show American Family Radio on Thursday morning. 

“These jury instructions were the final nail in the coffin of the sustainability of any possible conviction here. It is absolutely shameful. It’s simply a political, it's a political witch hunt,” Coleman said.

Coleman: Merchan bias in full view

Conservative critics have slammed the trial as politically motivated and Merchan’s jury instructions add fuel to that fire.

“Merchan does not seem to be the least bit embarrassed or concerned about the way his actions are perceived by lawyers and scholars. He has a job to do, he knows what it is, and the New York court system has aligned in a way to let him do it, at least at this level,” Coleman told show host Jenna Ellis. 

Coleman says Merchan has “profoundly” overplayed his hand, but the reality is that a confident and eventually successful appeal doesn’t help Trump in the short term on the campaign trail.

Coleman, Ron (Dhillon Law Group) Coleman

Since his constant presence is required in the courtroom, Trump has been limited in the scope of where he can physically campaign. There have been social media images and sound bites from speeches around the New York metro area, but it’s been difficult for Trump to speak in important swing states as much as he might like.

A guilty verdict by the jury, made easier by the judge, is more fodder for Biden.

Biden’s campaign wants desperately to accurately say that Trump has been “jury convicted,” Coleman said.

Trump’s best hope is for the system to work the way the founders intended, and early indications are positive.

The jury on Wednesday afternoon was already asking to re-review some of the evidence. They’ve also asked for clarification of Merchan’s instructions – after he took the unusual step of not providing the instructions in writing.

“They’re deliberating. I think this is not good news for the prosecution because the fact that questions are being asked and discussion is taking place and that people, someone, is obviously engaged. I think a lot of people thought they would be in and out, that it was going to be rubber stamped,” Coleman said.

Much has been made of the likely Democrat political leanings of most on the jury, Trump’s New York peers, but the fact that two known attorneys are among the jurors is a plus for Trump. Regarding those two attorneys, they should be able to “see what a train wreck this is and at the very least hold out, whether or not they’re able to convince their fellow jurors to acquit,” Coleman said.

The trial’s ‘providential’ feel

For now, there’s discussion among the jurors, and that’s a good thing on several fronts.

“For people of faith, this to me is a providential development, the whole way that this has gone is really God pulling aside the curtain," Coleman, an Orthodox Jew, observed. "People can realize what has actually been going on in the courts for a very, very long time. The reason that they're aware of it now is because it matters to a lot more people than the individual and anonymous parties who are flushed down the system and no one ever hears about it."