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Media Summary: Manafort Trial Insights from David S. Weinstein

August 20, 2018

Hinshaw's David S. Weinstein, a former federal prosecutor, has provided analysis on the Manafort trial proceedings. He discussed the latest sequence of events with several national media outlets, including the defense's decision to rest without bringing evidence or calling any witnesses, and the threats received by Judge Ellis throughout the trial, as well as his decision not to sequester the jury. A summary of his commentary follows.

Politico: Manafort trial Day 15: Jury goes home without reaching verdict

In their article, reporters Josh Gerstein and Darren Samuelsohn discuss the jurors' failure to reach a verdict following their third day of deliberations. "It takes time to reach unanimous decisions," Weinstein said. "While I was among those who expected a verdict prior to the weekend, I realize that this will take some time because ultimately Manafort's intent is at issue."

Read "Manafort trial Day 15: Jury goes home without reaching verdict," on the Politico website

Law360: Manafort Judge Talks Threats In Not Releasing Jurors' Names

Chuck Stanley of Law360 discussed Judge Ellis' decision to not release the names of the jurors because it could "put their 'peace and safety' at risk." He also addressed the fact that the jury was still deliberating after two days. "At this point, the defense must be feeling better than the prosecution," said Weinstein. "But often, it just takes time to reach a unanimous decision. In fact, they might already have reached a decision on some of the counts."

Read "Manafort Judge Talks Threats In Not Releasing Jurors' Names," on the Law360 website (subscription required)

The Hill: Trump tweets raise questions about why Manafort jury isn't sequestered

Reporters Lydia Wheeler and Morgan Chalfant focused on Judge Ellis' decision to not sequester the jurors of the Manafort trial. "In this particular case it's highly unusual these people are not sequestered," said Weinstein. "With everyone talking about it, myself included and our president, it's hard for these jurors to keep eyes and ears closed and not pick up comments on the peripheral."

Read "Trump tweets raise questions about why Manafort jury isn't sequestered," on The Hill's website

CNBC: Jurors in Trump ex-campaign boss Paul Manafort trial could start deliberating Wednesday after closing arguments from Mueller's team and defense

Reporter Kevin Breuninger focused on the closing arguments and potential strategies in his article. Both the prosecution and defense said they'd need two hours, but Judge Ellis thought otherwise, noting they "live on a different planet" if they think they can do that. Weinstein agreed, adding "jurors don't have the longest attention span … at a certain point, [they] begin to lose interest."

Read "Jurors in Trump ex-campaign boss Paul Manafort trial could start deliberating Wednesday after closing arguments from Mueller's team and defense," on the CNBC website

WIOD Radio's First News with Jimmy Cefalo: Manafort Defense Rests

Weinstein joined Jemmy Ceflao on WIOD Radio on an episode of First News to discuss the defense's decision to not have Manafort testify. According to Weinstein, the decision comes as no surprise, because Manafort had so much to lose by taking the stand. He goes on to discuss the forthcoming arguments the defense will likely bring, including that the government has not met its burden of proof.

Listen to "Manafort Defense Rests," on WIOD Radio's First News with Jimmy Cefalo on iHeartRADIO

Law360: Manafort's Defense Rests Without Bringing Evidence

Chuck Stanley of Law360 included extensive commentary from Weinstein in his article "Manafort's Defense Rest Without Bringing Evidence." In an article that focused on the defense's decision to rest without calling any witnesses, Weinstein noted that "by calling witnesses, or especially taking the stand himself, Manafort would give the government the opportunity to poke holes in his version of events and undermine his credibility."

Read "Manafort's Defense Rests Without Bringing Evidence," on the Law360 website (subscription required)

Bloomberg: Paul Manafort Defense Rests Without Calling Any Witnesses

In an article which discussed the defense's choice to rest without calling any witnesses, including Manafort himself, Weinstein discussed what was at stake for Manafort in testifying. "Manafort had far more to lose than to gain if he testified or called any witnesses," said Weinstein. "If jurors hear him on the stand and they think he’s lying, it’s over for him."

Read "Paul Manafort Defense Rests Without Calling Any Witnesses," on the Bloomberg website

Bloomberg: Manafort Lived Large, But Here's How He Could Beat the Rap

Weinstein weighed-in on the "legal burden" the prosecutors are facing, namely proving that Manafort had criminal intent on each of the 18 counts he is facing. "There's a difference between a mistake and an intentional criminal action," Weinstein said. "They'll say you can't look inside my client's mind from a simple box on a piece of paper. He signed a lot of documents. It's possible he didn't read all of these documents."

Read "Manafort Lived Large, But Here's How He Could Beat the Rap," on the Bloomberg website

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