David: Well, you have a prediction on the Manafort trial?
Speaker 2: I think he might be not guilty because this whole thing has so many twists and turns, and there’s so much hype and expectation that I just want … I don’t know, but I am curious to see what happens if he’s not guilty. What happens to the Mueller investigation.
David: I’m not going to make a prediction until we hear from our next guest that is Brad Micklin-
Speaker 2: That is a trick question, David. Bad on you.
David: Brad Micklin, he’s an attorney who joins us here in studio. Brad I’m gonna ask about Manafort in just a sec, but the other topic that’s sort of swirling out there involving President Trump and his defense team is this issue of collusion. The President has now said no collusion, but if there was collusion it’s not a crime.
Brad Micklin: Right.
David: Technically he’s correct. There’s nothing in the Federal Code about collusion, but doesn’t that miss the point? I mean if you work with a foreign national and you get something of value to your campaign, that’s against the law.
Brad Micklin: I agree. I think he’s playing semantics with the American people and when it comes out it’s not gonna be well received, because collusion is just planning to defraud, where conspiracy is planning to do something unlawful. So it’s a word choice. So instead of using collusion we spell it as a conspiracy and we have a crime. So I don’t think it’s gonna really fall too well if that does later come out that there’s a conspiracy.
Speaker 2: Right, the crime is the conspiracy. That’s on the books as a crime and collusion, the word collusion is not on the books. Basically it’s the same thing.
Brad Micklin: Right, so technically I don’t think the statutes across the nation use the word collusion, but they certainly do use conspiracy.
David: But to be clear, if somebody colludes or somebody works with a foreign national in your campaign and its to do something that is not of, say value to your campaign, suppose they were talking about policy, that is legal. So even if they had a meeting at Trump Tower or wherever they did and they’re talking about, okay here’s what our policy’s gonna be, as long as the Russians are not providing some benefit to the campaign like dirt or money, that’s legal.
Brad Micklin: Sure. You can conspire to do something that’s lawful, the key is doing something unlawful, which is why it’s an important point. Everybody’s talking about that there’s supposed to be no tie to the Russian investigation in the Manafort trial, but that’s actually not accurate entirely because I think there was a pre-trial decision that states that there one conversation with a bank officer where he was promised influence in either the campaign or after the election so there’s gotta be a thread that’s gonna tie this Manafort trial possibly to the collusion and the Russian investigation.
Speaker 2: Let’s talk about the trial. 12 jurors, six men, six women, how could anyone guarantee that they’re impartial given the wall to wall coverage of the Russian investigation?
Brad Micklin: I don’t think anybody can be completely impartial. You’re hoping your as impartial as possible and that you can separate the facts from your own personal beliefs, but everybody from the judge to the jurors to the attorneys, they’re all people, we’re all gonna go in with our pre-conceived ideas and it’s gonna influence how we view the testimony and the ultimate decision.
David: I was struck that the prosecution estimated this trial would only last three weeks. Normally these kinds of fraud and tax trials are at least two months. Is this an indication the prosecutors are aiming for a very tight, narrow case?
Brad Micklin: It’s hard to say. I think that this case is almost like killing a fly with a sledgehammer. They’re going in with 18 different charges in two different states, there’s no way that they can have this done that quickly unless they’re just gonna present a lot of documents that are going to be boring and dry for the jury, but they must be very clear that that’s what they have because their putting them on for 305 years of sentencing.
Speaker 2: Manafort’s right hand man, Rick Gates, he turned state witness and the defense already is arguing that he’s an unreliable witness. Do you see him testifying during this court?
Brad Micklin: I believe he will be testifying. I think that’s part of his plea deal was that he’s gonna testify in return for leniency in his sentencing. I’m not really sure what his sentencing was inside the plea, but I’m almost certain he’s gonna be testifying.
David: And the strategy with the defense knowing that Gates is going to be a prosecution witness and on their first day, in opening arguments, the defense said, “Paul Manafort didn’t know what Rick Gates was doing, this was all Rick Gates that was lining his own pockets. Paul Manafort was oblivious to it, didn’t know. Paul Manafort was theretraveling around the world while Rick Gates was cooking the books essentially.” Is that a good defense strategy when you know, okay the entire prosecution case, not the entire case, but a big part of it is going to rest on this prosecution witness, if you can get the jury to focus on that prosecution witness and away from your client. Is that helpful?
Brad Micklin: I think so and I think that’s the whole approach. I think that Mueller’s looking to make this like his first big domino to fall and if he can get Gates to testify against Manafort and he can get any kind of conviction out of these 18 different charges, then he can at least say we did something, we were successful and then go move on and had political clout behind it.
David: But as far as the Manafort defense strategy for them to pin so much from the beginning on discrediting Gates as opposed to necessarily defending Manafort?
Brad Micklin: I don’t think they had much other choice, because Gates is going to go up there as his partner and testify in some way or another that they committed these crimes and that he knew about it. The only way you can do that as a defense attorney is to discredit the testimony in the first place. I think that’s what they were trying to do in their opening arguments today.
Speaker 2: We know the President loves to tweet, he loves to tweet about what he calls a witch hunt. If he tweets out about this court case, is there any legal issues that he might be trying to influence the judge in this case?
Brad Micklin: I don’t think so. He has been unusually quiet but I don’t think that any tweet that he’s gonna make is gonna influence the judge and I don’t think there’s any way to stop him from doing it anyway.
David: I asked Michael Short at the top and it was sort of a joke about what is a ostrich feather jacket, but this does feel like a lot of trials. In order to make it relatable to a jury you put something in there about the defendant that is way beyond what most normal Americans can conceive of and that is a $15,000.00 ostrich feather jacket and right from the start, they’re painting the defendant as somebody who is not like you and me.
Brad Micklin: Also, and I agree, but I also think they’re trying to make him look like he must have been doing something to maintain this lifestyle because the stacks are that he was very successful at a point in time until around 2014 and that’s when it dried up and he started with the bank fraud. So if he had this lifestyle in place already and his income dried up, then he had to do something to maintain it. I think that’s where these pieces are gonna come in.
Speaker 2: And the argument is also, he signed on for free to the Trump campaign because he thought he might get some more business dealings once that happened and Trump lost-
Brad Micklin: Right.
Speaker 2: Which he didn’t. All right, attorney Brad Micklin. Always a pleasure to have you on. Thanks for your insight.
Brad Micklin: Thank you very much.
David: And based on what Brad says, based on what he just said, I’m convinced now that Manafort’s gonna be found guilty.
Speaker 2: Wait, you’re making a … you’re saying what you think?
David: Well, I’m saying what I think. Well you offered the feeling that you think [crosstalk 00:06:25]
Speaker 2: But then you criticized me for it. So now you’re doing it too.
David: I’m inviting you to criticize me, but I do like the idea that they’re a sledgehammer to a fly.
Speaker 2: I like that metaphor, it’s a good metaphor.
David: And it is, I mean look, it’s a lot that they’re throwing at him and even if they can get just a couple of charges to stick, that’s a victory for the special counsel and then they got another trial still to come.
Speaker 2: Fair enough.
David: You can criticize me.
Speaker 2: I’ll do it after the show. Still ahead Facebook-