For over a year the liberal left has been salivating over the prospect of the Mueller investigation closing in on Donald Trump. The longed for day has arrived, Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager is on trial. CNN covered this with breathless anticipation. But instead of fireworks, they were treated with a big dud. There is no mention of Donald Trump at all. There is no mention of collusion with Russia or anyone else. There is no mention of the Trump Campaign. Zero, nada, zilch. Manafort is charged with bank fraud and tax evasion regarding events that took place long before he was working for Donald Trump.
In addition, the Judge has refused to let the prosecutors show pictures of Paul Manafort’s personal wealth. He won’t even let them use the term oligarchs. All these things add up to real problems for the Russian collusion myth. But there is more. The government planned on calling Rick Gates to testify against Manafort. Almost immediately his defense team worked to discredit him. They have a point. He already plead guilty to conspiring to defraud the United States and to lying to the FBI. He was given immunity in order to testify against Manafort.
To top it off, the prosecutors destroyed their own credibility by showing an invoice from Alan Corture, L.L.C. on court room TV monitors. Almost immediately Maximillian Katzman, the store’s ex-manager quickly pointed out that the invoice was an obvious fake because, among other things, the zip code was wrong. Then Katzman poured salt on the wound by saying he knew the invoice was not authentic because “We have never billed to Global Endeavor, or had a client named Global Endeavor.” This borders on legal malpractice by Mueller’s ace team of prosecutors. This mistake ranks right up there with the prosecutor in the O.J. Simpson case who asked Simpson to try on the bloody glove. Every time a federal prosecutor tries to present evidence the defense attorney is going to say something like: “how do we know this is a real document.”
It now seems likely that the Mueller investigation will primarily be remembered for gross incompetence. It is far from certain that Manafort will be convicted of anything. If he is convicted, there are already so many errors that it is likely to end up at the Supreme Court. Andrew Weissman, one of Mueller’s top prosecutors, knows all about this. He was responsible for obtaining a conviction, for a while, against Arthur Andersen regarding the Enron fiasco. That verdict was overturned by a 9-0 Supreme Court decision. That means even the most liberal judges on the Supreme Court ruled against him. The case was overturned because federal prosecutors pressed District Judge Melinda Harmon to set a ridiculously low hurdle for the Jury to reach a guilty verdict. This judge will not make that same mistake.
This begs the question. Why is Mueller trying Manafort? The obvious answer is that he has nothing else and he has to try somebody for something. But Manafort is not Michael Flynn or George Papadoplous. Both of them pled guilty to felony charges because they had no chance against a team of federal prosecutors. Neither of them could afford the cost of hiring legal counsel capable of withstanding such a legal assault. Paul Manafort is beyond rich and he can afford a world-class legal team. Odds are his team is far superior to the federal prosecutors for one simple reason. The really smart attorneys work for private firms, rather than the federal government because they can make a lot more money. Only very rich people can afford this talent, but the talent is always available for the right price.
The Manafort trial has already gone overboard and smart people will start abandoning ship. Even CNN realizes that this is beyond bad. The most likely thing now is that the MSM will stop reporting on the trial at all. The problem with that approach is that they have been promising big results for over a year. This reminds me of when Geraldo Rivera opened a secret vault at the Lexington Hotel allegedly linked to Al Capone. He did this live on TV, at the end of a two hour Television special broadcast on April 21, 1986. He even had a medical examiner on scene in case bodies were found and agents from the Internal Revenue Service to collect any found money. All he found was some empty beer bottles, which Rivera tried to claim was for moonshine bathtub gin. Geraldo finally admitted defeat and apologized to the viewers. I doubt that CNN will apologize, but they should.