Rule of Lawfare: Jury Instructions from NY Judge to Manhattan Jurors in Trump ‘Hush Money’ Case Contained Made-up and Selectively Chosen Language

A New York jury found former President Donald Trump guilty on all 34 criminal counts related to falsifying business records last week, prompting outcry that New York Judge Juan Merchan, who was handpicked to handle the case and who donated to Joe Biden, committed misconduct during the trial, including how he handled the jury instructions. A CNN senior legal analyst reported that the case was full of so many legal stretches that employees of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office referred to it as the “zombie case.”

Daniel Street, an attorney in Louisiana who writes about lawfare, told The Tennessee Star the jury instructions were “terrible.”

“The judge literally MADE UP the ‘intent to defraud’ instruction,” he said. “That is not what the New York case law says. And the verdict form was trash too. No finding required for ANY of the underlying ‘crimes.’ None. Not one finding on the State law ‘unlawfully influencing the election’ . . .  and NOT ONE finding on any of the three underlying ‘crimes’ the influencing the election charge was predicated on. Just unreal.”

Judges normally choose sections from standardized jury instructions, taking into account input from the attorneys on opposing sides. They can pick and choose which parts of the templates they use, and add specialized instructions of their own. Merchan used many sections from New York’s template for jury instructions that appeared to favor the prosecution, and added new sections of his own.

Read the rest of the article at The Tennessee Star