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Judge Merchan’s Instruction to the Jury Will Leave Your Jaw on the Floor

by Stephen Green

Legal scholar Jonathan Turley called it “the coup de grace instruction” from Judge Juan Merchan to the men and women of Donald Trump’s NDA/Campaign Finance/Whatevs trial in New York City when he told jurors on Wednesday that they don’t have to reach a unanimous guilty verdict to reach a unanimous guilty verdict.

Wait, wut?

Reporting live on X from the courtroom, Turley posted that Merchan instructed the jury “that there is no need to agree on what occurred. They can disagree on what the crime was among the three choices. Thus, this means that they could split 4-4-4 and he will still treat them as unanimous.”

So if a majority of jurors find Trump “not guilty” on all three charges, but they managed to scrape up a combined 12 votes from each charge, Judge Merchan will assemble those into a single unanimous guilty vote — a Frankenverdict, if you will.

Or if your tastes, like mine, run a bit darker…

Some readers might have to look up the Jame Gumb reference, but I won’t judge.

My jaw really did (figuratively) drop to the floor at the news, but I was far from the only one. David “Iowahawk” Burge posted that “this kinda feels like some blow-up-in-your-face judicial Calvinball,” and called Merchan’s instructions “wishful thinking on the level of ‘hey let’s trap Godzilla with the high voltage lines.'”

SPOILER: Godzilla always busts right through the power lines, which seem to somehow give his atomic fire breath extra charge.

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