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New Poll Shows Manhattan Trump Lawfare Verdict Offers No-Win Scenario For Democrats

Donald Trump
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A guilty verdict in Trump’s trial “makes no difference” for most voters, but a not guilty verdict would be devastating for Democrats.


A new poll out Thursday undermines Democrats’ primary campaign plan to imprison their top political opponent, proving the approach is not a winning strategy with majorities of American voters, who refuse to buy the partisan show trials as serious proceedings.

According to the May survey conducted by Marist National Poll with NPR and PBS, 67 percent of registered voters said a guilty verdict in the New York “hush money trial” “makes no difference” in their vote this November. Just 17 percent said a guilty verdict would make them less likely to cast a ballot for the former president, and 15 percent said a jury conviction would make them more likely to vote for Trump.

If the Manhattan jury finds the Republican presidential candidate not guilty, however, the result would be devastating for Democrats, with 14 percent of voters reporting exoneration would leave them more likely to vote for Trump. Another 9 percent said a not guilty verdict would make them less likely to back the Republican, and 76 percent said Trump’s jury-proven innocence would have no bearing on their vote this fall.

The Marist survey of 1,261 adults was conducted over the phone and internet between May 21 to May 23 with a +/-3.7 percent margin of error. Pollsters interviewed 1,122 registered voters.

The poll was released on the second day of jury deliberations in the former president’s Manhattan trial in which Trump was charged with 34 felonies related to years-old alleged bookkeeping crimes prosecutors previously declined to prosecute. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg rushed to unveil the indictment last year, becoming the first to issue criminal charges against a former president, who is accused of an improper filing of an NDA payment to pornographer Stormy Daniels.

New York Judge Juan Merchan has repeatedly prohibited Trump from speaking freely about the case throughout the proceedings, and Trump now faces four years in prison for each of the 34 charges — a maximum of 136 years behind bars.

Republicans on Capitol Hill blasted Merchan this week as a biased official improperly selected to conduct to politically sensitive trial. On Tuesday, Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., who chairs the House Republican Conference, filed a complaint with the New York State Unified Court System alleging Judge Juan Merchan was secretly selected in contradiction to a legal mandate for the random assigning of judges. Judge Merchan, Stefanik noted, was somehow randomly selected to preside over a previous trial against the Trump Organization, an upcoming trial against former Trump White House adviser Steve Bannon, and Bragg’s criminal trial against Trump himself.

“If justices were indeed being randomly assigned in the Criminal Term, the probability of two specific criminal cases being assigned to the same justice is quite low, and the probability of three specific criminal cases being assigned to the same justice is infinitesimally small,” Stefanik wrote in a letter to state officials. “And yet, we see Acting Justice Merchan on all three cases.”

Sen. J.D. Vance, R-Ohio, wrote a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland on Wednesday demanding the Department of Justice (DOJ) investigate Merchan’s trial misconduct, specifically gag orders imposed on Trump and the judge’s personal conflicts of interest.

“On Merchan’s orders, a Republican presidential candidate has been made powerless to question the credibility of the witnesses testifying against him, the motivations of the prosecutors pursuing him, or the impartiality of the apparently conflicted judge fining him,” Vance wrote. Merchan’s daughter, meanwhile, “seems to be an obvious beneficiary of Merchan’s biased rulings,” Vance added. “She works as a fundraiser for Democratic officials and organizations, and she helped her clients raise $93 million from donors during Trump’s trial in New York, partly by invoking the case and smearing the defendant in solicitation emails.”

Trump’s New York City bookkeeping trial may be the only case wrapped up before the November election, with the former president’s three other criminal cases facing courtroom delays. In Florida, the federal judge overseeing the classified documents case put an indefinite pause on the litigation earlier this month after prosecutors admitted to tampering with evidence. In Georgia, Fulton County Prosecutor Fani Willis is now facing an appeal to remove her from the case over accusations of corruption, and in Washington, D.C., the judge in Trump’s Jan. 6 case must wait for the Supreme Court to rule on the extent of the DOJ’s authority to bring certain charges.

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