As Paul Manafort’s trial wraps up, the “9,000-pound elephant in the room” remains whether President Donald Trump’s name will be directly mentioned, Harvard Law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz said Wednesday.
“The key question is whether or not Trump’s name will come up during the deliberations, during the instruction,” Dershowitz told Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom.” “The judge doesn’t like this case. He thinks Manafort is on trial not because of what he did, but because they want to get him and squeeze him and make him sing or compose.”
If Trump’s name does get in to the case, “it’s a knife that cuts both ways,” said Dershowitz, as Manafort’s association with Trump, as his former campaign manager, could hurt him with some jurors and help with others.
Dershowitz said that the prosecution bears the burden of proof, but that may be difficult given its two witnesses, “both of whom were admitted criminals and liars.”
Manafort’s defense lawyers did not put him on the stand or call witnesses, and Dershowitz said he would not second guess that, as it’s a difficult decision to make.
He also said he thinks special counsel Robert Mueller is waiting for a verdict in the case to decide how to proceed with the Russian investigation.
“If he wins this, he will start squeezing right now, but if he loses this, he has a case in Washington D.C. where he will have a more sympathetic jury and judge,” said Dershowitz.
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