Paula Duncan, who says she served on the Paul Manafort jury, told Fox News that all but one juror wanted to convict Manafort on all of the 18 counts against him.
She indicated she was a Trump supporter, but did not believe “politics had any place in that courtroom.”
More importantly, she said, “I did not want Paul Manafort to be guilty, but he was, and no one’s above the law.”
No judge or lawyer could have stated America’s dedication to the rule of law more succinctly than Ms. Duncan. The justice system and courts should always remain non-political and should not bend to the wishes of the powerful.
The jury obviously listened to both sides in the trial and found Manafort to be a fraud and tax cheat. It does not appear they found the proceeding to be “a terrible situation” or the case to be a “Rigged Witch Hunt,” as proclaimed by the President. They likely did not see Manafort as the good and “brave” man Trump claims him to be. Thank God that ordinary citizens understand what it means for Americans to live under the rule of law.
The President has repeatedly blasted Special Counsel Robert Mueller as a “disgraced and discredited” person and called Mueller’s team a “National Disgrace.” In keeping with his unimpeachable ethics and professionalism, Mueller has declined to fire back. Rather, this honorable Republican has forged on with his work in keeping with the best traditions of the American legal profession.
As another life-long Republican, William Ruckelshaus, recently put it, “Mueller is living up to his superior reputation as a model public servant. His is a search for the truth; we should not complicate his job.” In 1973, Ruckelshaus resigned his position as Deputy Attorney General after refusing President Nixon’s order to fire the special Watergate prosecutor. Referring to the famed Saturday Night Massacre, he stated, “President Trump is acting with a desperation I’ve seen only once before in Washington.”
William Webster, another life-long Republican, was appointed as head of the FBI in 1978 to clean up after the Watergate scandal and later appointed as Director of the CIA to clean up after the Iran-Contra scandal. He has wisely counseled that “We should not run down our own institutions, trivialize the impartial actions of our own grand juries, degrade our own justice system, or bully a free press for doing its job.” Amen!
The rule of law is a fragile thing. It depends on the trust and confidence of the people. When those in positions of authority in the executive and legislative branches of government make unfounded charges against prosecutors and courts, it corrodes the very foundation of our legal system.
Those in positions of power and influence, like our Senators and Congressmen, have a responsibility to step forward and loudly defend our legal system against false claims and charges. Three members of our Congressional delegation are lawyers and should understand that they must not stand idly by when our legal system is under attack.
As William Webster noted, the “Constitution demands” those who take the federal oath of office to defend “values like truth, justice and civility, because the idea of an America united by the rule of law is too important to lose.”