Harmeet Dhillon Appears on Fox Business’ The Evening Edit’ To Discuss Manafort Trial
According to Dhillon:
Anybody who tries to read the entrails of jury questions and predict the outcome is generally a fool and will be disappointed. We definitely can take some clues as to what they are focusing on. They are doing their job, focusing on the definitions and burden of proof. I think some of the questions weigh in one favor, on one side, and some of the questions weigh on the other side. For example, what is the definition of reasonable doubt to me I think is a pro-defense question because it means that some of the jurors at least think that it’s close to the line and they have to really think hard as to whether the prosecution has proven its case. A question about requirements on filing those foreign bank account reports I think is more of a prosecution question because that’s kind of a technical issue on whether you have to file it or not. The question about can we see tying the exhibits to the charges in the indictment I think is a bad question for the prosecution, because it suggests the jury is confused. There were too many exhibits and they can’t really tie the exhibits in their minds or in their notes to the case that the prosecution put on. Finally, shelf company seems to suggest to me the prosecution tried to make the concept of a shelf lawyer something sinister. Everyone knows it’s a common thing so the jury seems to be confused about why that’s an issue, that you create a company to do your business. I think it’s a mixed bag.
If they are asking that question after sitting through this long trial, it means the prosecution didn’t make that super clear. Now, to be fair, the defense did not put on its own witnesses, which is also quite common. So you know, the reasonable doubt question comes in, if there’s a question as to whether Mr. Manafort, a, controlled those accounts and B, had an obligation to report them, that’s a big hole. But remember that there are 18 counts here and the jury has to be unanimous on each of them. Some of the counts are on tax fraud. I think those may be some of the easier ones to look at. The bank fraud is at the opposite end of the spectrum. There, basically the government is saying that if he was inaccurate in his tax filings, then he was also committing bank fraud because the tax filings were used to get loans. Victimless crime, maybe, so I think those are some of the things the jury is probably thinking about.
On President Trump calling on the justice Department to look into suing drug companies that make opioids:
About half the states and a lot of municipalities are already suing the opioid manufacturers, mainly for issues relating to fentanyl as well as some of the other opioids. You know, something needs to be done. There’s clearly a lot of false advertising there about the side effects of these drugs and their addictive nature, you know, but maybe starting your own lawsuit at the Federal government a year or two behind the localities may be less effective than simply joining them or intervening there. I’m sure the doj will look closely at what’s the most effective strategy to get involved in these cases. Bottom line, there’s a lot of money that these companies spend in D.C. So that’s something to look at as well.