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NBC Legal Reporter Goes Rogue, Calls Out Judge’s Shocking Jury Instructions

A legal reporter with NBC went off script as she described the tangled legal web spun by Manhattan Judge Juan Merchan in dozens of pages of jury instructions that complicate the path to a verdict in former President Donald Trump’s hush money trial.

Jury deliberations began late Wednesday morning and continued for the rest of the day. Notable moments came when jurors asked Judge Merchan for reminders about some of the instructions he gave over 53 pages, which shockingly are not allowed to be seen by the jury while they decide the former president’s fate.

Senior legal correspondent Laura Jarrett broke down just how destabilizing that can be for a 12-member team of mostly non-legal minds.

“These are the instructions that the jury has to follow in Donald Trump’s hush money trial before they can reach a verdict,” Jarrett explained as she waved the pages out front of the courthouse. “53 pages! This is complicated, this is lengthy stuff. It took the judge over an hour to read it. But guess what? The jury doesn’t get this in the room during deliberations.”

If that sounds completely at odds with the tall task in front of them, Jarrett sounded like she felt so. While he was providing instructions, Judge Merchan reminded the jury that they hold Trump’s fate in their hands.

“You are the judges of the facts, and you are responsible for deciding whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty,” Merchan said, according to the Washington Post. In addition to requests for portions of witness testimony, jurors also asked Merchan to re-read portions of his instructions, exemplifying Jarrett’s assertion that a lack of written rules will exacerbate an already arduous undertaking.

“They can write questions, they can write notes, but they don’t get these instructions,” she continued. “In New York, both parties have to agree and the judge has to agree. In this case, it didn’t happen.”

As conservative journalist Kyle Becker noted, “It’s pretty bad when NBC’s senior legal correspondent is calling out how the Trump jury appears to be *rigged*.”

President Trump is facing 34 felony charges related to the concealing of a political campaign payment within Trump Organization business records, typically misdemeanors that have been upgraded by District Attorney Alvin Bragg. 

Legal observers have noted that the Democratic prosecutor failed throughout most of the trial to produce substantial evidence that Trump was aware of a repayment made to Michael Cohen after the former fixer paid $130,000 to adult film star Stormy Daniels to squash news stories about an alleged affair.

In closing arguments, Trump’s defense team perforated Cohen’s reliability as a witness for the prosecutions, declaring him the “MVP” of lying given his previous criminal conviction.

Attorney Todd Blanche noted that Cohen left a 2017 White House meeting with Trump unsure about how much he would be reimbursed, a sign, Blanche said, that Trump was not involved in any settlement between Cohen and former CFO Alan Weisselberg.

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