Tue. Jun 18th, 2024

False right-wing reports about Trump trial jury instructions fuel threats against judge

By 37ci3 Jun2,2024



WASHINGTON – Fake news about former President Donald Trump’s grand jury instructions hush money trial spread in the right-wing media, causing threats against the judge overseeing the case.

Several conservative news people, including those affiliated with Fox News, have falsely claimed that New York State Judge Juan Merchan, as one Fox News anchor said in a viral post on X, “didn’t need a jury to be unanimous to convict Trump he said.” .

This is not true. Merchan told jurors Wednesday that they “must unanimously find that the defendant conspired to promote or prevent the election of any person to public office by unlawful means,” adding that “as to what those unlawful means were it is not necessary to be unanimous”.

This means that jurors must unanimously agree that Trump committed a crime by engaging in a criminal conspiracy to falsify records with the intent to commit one or more other crimes in order to convict him. But jurors can choose from three options as to what those other crimes are: violations of the Federal Election Campaign Act, falsification of other business records or violations of tax laws. These “unlawful means” are not indictments themselves, and they will not result in separate convictions, so jurors are not bound to agree on them unanimously.

The jury instruction was complicated and “nuanced,” Fox anchor John Roberts tried to clarify in another op-ed an hour later. post With less views on X – but some right-wing accounts ran with false reports.

Follow live updates on Trump’s trial and sentencing

Responding to inaccurate reports that Trump could be convicted of a crime without unanimous consent, a user of Gab, a site popular among far-right extremists, said on Wednesday that it’s time to “find out where the judge lives and protest.” the left is calling.” Another user wrote: “I hear bad things happen to referees.” One user on Telegram called for a “military tribunal” for Merchan, and one user on Steve Bannon’s official “War Room” Telegram channel said Merchan “and everyone involved” should be hanged.

On another pro-Trump forum, one user said: “Merchan wants to be a merchant of death to sell more rope, but he could easily sell the rope that hangs him.” Another user added: “Betrayal. With full punishment.”

A right-wing influencer on X asked viewers who they would like to see Mercha jailed for treason. Another user who identified himself as a Marine replied: “Let me run the Justice System and be the Judge and Prosecutor, Prompt judgments and well reasoned punishments, Funeral Directors many Democratic Socialist Elites ready to go your way.”

Trump continued to post on social media about the jury instructions early Thursday morning, citing a Fox News commentator who called the indictment “an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ case with a mad hat judge” where “the cherished principles of justice” were overturned. .

The trial in the four cases against Trump has repeatedly resulted in threats of violence and, in at least one case, actual violence. Trump supporters in August published their names and addresses A grand jury in Fulton County, Georgia indicted Trump and 18 defendants. In August 2022, a January 6 protester named Rickey Walter Shiffer broadcast calls for violence. The FBI searched Trump’s Mar-a-Lago mansion in Florida and beyond He opened fire on the FBI field office in Cincinnati with a nail gun before being killed by law enforcement.

Trump and his congressional allies recently accused President Joe Biden of lying planned to kill Trump relied on the release of a standard FBI use-of-force form that limits the use of deadly force during the Mar-a-Lago search and must be filled out for each operation. In fact, federal authorities planned the search for a time when Trump was known to be out of state and contacted the Secret Service in advance to make sure the plan went as smoothly as possible. Even right-wing former FBI special agents who called for the bureau to be abolished have pushed back against the false narrative. The FBI’s use-of-force language is called a “boiler.” and expressed frustration that viral misinformation on the right made them appear to be defending the bureau.

Attorney General Merrick Garland last week called the lies about the use-of-force policy “lies.”extremely dangerous” and pointed out that the same standard operating plan was used to search Biden’s own home (yet not leading to conspiracy theories that Biden was planning to assassinate himself).



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