Juan Merchan

Attorneys Rip Judge Merchan on CNN for Throwing the Constitution “Out a Window” With His Ludicrous Jury Instructions

DCNF(DCNF)—Defense attorney Randy Zelin and former Trump attorney Tim Parlatore said on Friday that Judge Juan Merchan violated the U.S. Constitution with his instructions to the jury in former President Donald Trump’s trial.

Merchan instructed the jury that it is not a requirement for them to be in unanimous agreement about what “other crime” Trump committed, instead receiving a choice of three separate crimes they can select to convict the former president. The two attorneys on “CNN Special Report” said Merchan’s jury instructions were flawed to the point that an appeals court could conceivably overturn the conviction.

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“I hate to do this, but I would be remiss if I didn’t,” Zelin said. “Whether you are driving in a Ford or a Ferrari, if someone gives you bad directions, you’re going to end up lost. And those jury instructions were just a complete, just take the Constitution, throw it out a window, burn it, shoot it and hang it.”

“I think that the jury instructions had a very key flaw here, which is the falsification of business records had to be in furtherance of some other crime and there wasn’t really great instructions on what that other crime was,” Parlatore said in response to a question about whether the jury instructions might lead to an appeals court overturning the verdict. “Under New York State law, they’re not required to say which it is. But when they do, the judge has to instruct them on that specific crime. And the problem here is they don’t have to prove that they actually committed that other crime. They don’t have to prove that they actually had FEC violations, but they have to show that what they intended to do was in fact a crime. And that I think is really the shortfall in the jury instructions is the lack of an explanation to this jury as to the federal election law.”

The jury on Thursday convicted Trump in the case brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg on all 34 counts of falsifying business records.

CNN senior legal analyst Elie Honig and criminal defense attorney Michael O’Mara on Friday said Trump’s appeal will plausibly be based on the case’s unprecedented nature and Merchan not sequestering the jury.

“I think there’s a great likelihood, and the reason why is there are a number of issues,” O’Mara said in response to a question about the likelihood of the appeal succeeding. “I have always complained about the way this jury was or was not handled during the trial. I think with the massive focus on this case that they should have been sequestered. They certainly should have been sequestered during the deliberations. I think they should have been sequestered for the week before.”

House Speaker Mike Johnson on Friday called on the Supreme Court to “step in” because of the conviction of the former president.

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