Jonathan Turley Raises Alarm In Merchan Jury Instruction 

Daily Report May 22,2024

Judge Juan Merchan’s instructions to the jury in former President Donald Trump’s case are becoming a source of worry for legal experts.

The defense counsel and prosecutors concluded witness examination and are set to give their closing arguments next week. However, both parties —together with Merchan— went through potential jury instruction on Tuesday.

Speaking on Fox News, George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley said he was concerned about Merchan’s instructions. According to the legal expert, Merchan and prosecutors are pushing instructions that would see the jury hold the former president to a lower standard of proof for his case.

“The government is arguing some pretty sweeping positions,” Turley told host Neil Cavuto. “Among them, they are arguing, ‘I don’t have to prove willful intent on all of the elements on all of these actions.’ They’re suggesting that things like unlawful means, which is really an important term of influencing election, can be satisfied by less than the criminal standard, and the defense [is], I think, legitimately saying, ‘Whoa, you know, you’re going to convict someone on a lower than criminal standard on an important element. And this is really the result of this sort of Frankenstein case, you know… Bragg took this dead misdemeanor and zapped that back to life as a felony by sort of stitching together different crimes. And now, the government is trying to use that to say, ‘Yeah, we did that, but it also means we don’t have to prove the full criminal standard on all elements.’”

Earlier in the show, the law professor noted that while Merchan has made some good decisions in Trump’s favor, he has almost always granted prosecutors’ requests.

“He has made some good decisions, but they have largely gone in favor of the prosecution,” Turley told Cavuto earlier. “Some of the most important decisions he is taking on advisement, but some of the decisions he’s made today, quite frankly, are hard to figure out, you know, you – for example, with Costello the former attorney for Cohen and the prosecutors stopped Costello from fully answering a question on what he meant in an Email. And so when the defense got the chance, they said, ‘Would you like to explain”’ and the prosecution said, ‘No, you know, it’s beyond the scope.’ That should have been a ridiculous objection and Merchan, however, sustained it. It was the same scope, he was being asked what did you mean by that, and the judge sustained.”

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