Manafort Demands Jury Of White Yokels Without Newfangled 'Internet'
Sure, why not?
Paul Manafort has an active fantasy life. Sometimes when he's all alone in his cell, he likes to imagine a beautiful jury of a dozen yokels in matching MAGA hats. They'll reach a unanimous "not guilty" verdict, and then the judge will send Robert Mueller and his vicious sidekick Andrew Weissman to jail for being SO MEAN to poor Paul Manafort. He'll ride off into the sunset and go dig up the money he's got buried in fifty (-hundred) offshore accounts.
Miracles can happen! So Manafort tells his lawyers to draft some motions and make it a reality, and they say, "Uhhh, okay. It's your money, dude." (Probably.) Which is how they ended up filing three separate motions on Friday, backed up by three different supporting memoranda. Rich people buy a lot of stupid shit!
That's Why They Call It the Rocket Docket, Paulie!
Back in March, Manafort had the bright idea to insist that the government prosecute him in each state where he allegedly committed crimes. In lawtalk, he could have "waived jurisdiction" and had one, consolidated trial in DC. But he told his lawyers, "Nah, fuck 'em. Make that Mueller guy chase me all up and down the East Coast." Which is how he wound up with a September trial in DC, and a July 25 date with justice in Alexandria. Not for nothing the Eastern District of Virginia is called the Rocket Docket!
But now that it's actually July, Paul Manafort would like a postponement. See, it's NO FAIR that he has to defend himself from jail now that mean DC Judge threw him in the slammer. How was he to know that contacting witnesses via Signal and talking to them about their possible testimony was against the law? So, Manafort can haz continuance plz, Yr Honor?
Let's Move The Whole Thing To MAGAville, 'Kay?
Paul Manafort has a constitutional right to be tried by a jury of rubes with dial-up internet service! How can he possibly get a fair trial in Northern Virginia where people read the papers?
The Washington, D.C. metropolitan area has over 60 online news outlets in addition to websites run by major print and broadcast media companies. Gloria & Hadge, An Information Case Study, Washington, D.C., New America Foundation, Aug. 5, 2010.10 It ranks first in the nation in households with computers (82.9%) and internet access (80% of adults receiving information online). For news consumption, the city's major mainstream print and broadcast outlets command the most online page views in the United States. In comparison, Roanoke is the 70th largest media outlet in the United States and 38% of households in Roanoke lack broadband compared to 3% in Northern Virginia.
Besides which, GOP crimers are entitled to be tried by a jury of Republicans. IT'S THE LAW! (It's not the law.)
It is not a stretch to expect that voters who supported Secretary Clinton would be predisposed against Mr. Manafort or that voters who supported President Trump would be less inclined toward the Special Counsel. Notably, however, voters in the Alexandria Division voted 2-to-1 in favor of Secretary Clinton (66% Clinton; 34% Trump).6 This split is more balanced in other places in Roanoke, Virginia, located in the Western District of Virginia.
"More Balanced" Via Politico
In support of his argument that the upcoming trial MUST be shifted to Trumpland, Manafort cites a Supreme Court case upholding the propriety of trying Enron's Jeffrey Skilling at the "scene of the crime" in Houston.
The Prosecution Leaks Like a ... Sponge???
Manafort's lawyers filed a motion alleging that Mueller's team is leaking grand jury info to reporters. Their smoking gun is this excerpt from an internal memorandum summarizing an April 2017 meeting between six members of the Mueller team, including Andrew Weissman, and four AP reporters.
At the conclusion of the meeting, the AP reporters asked if we would be willing to tell them if they were off based or on the wrong track and they were advised that they appeared to have a good understanding of Manafort's business dealings.
If you squint really, really hard, this looks like the FBI is possibly confirming the AP's story. There's only one problem with that:
ALMOST EVERYTHING THE AP TOLD THE FBI WAS NEW INFORMATION TO THE SPECIAL COUNSEL.
So Manafort's lawyers can GTFOH pretending that the Mueller team leaked to reporters! The AP tipped the FBI to the existence of the storage locker (including the combination), information on a likely Manafort/Deripaska scam involving a Ukrainian cable company, dates and amounts of possible transfers of laundered money, and the identity of a shell company Manafort may have used to get money into the US.
(If you feel like wading into the weeds, the last ten pages of this are fascinating .)
Nice try, assholes!
Manafort's lawyers are plastering the DC and Virginia courthouses with motions trying to delay his upcoming trials and throw sand in the gears any way they can. They might have some luck persuading the Virginia judge to postpone the July 25 trial date, since Manafort is now in jail with curtailed access to his lawyers and no ability to receive electronic communications. But his motion accusing the FBI of "leaking" to the AP is probably going to be ... less persuasive.
We'll keep you posted!
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