Is The Truth Being Ostrichized in Paul Manafort’s Trial?
August 1, 2018
Note: This special coverage of the trial of Paul Manafort in Alexandria, VA features team coverage by TWITPOL, Pete Williams and Ken Dilanian of NBC News, and William Brangham of PBS Newshour. No, seriously. You’ll see.
The trial of President Trump’s one-time campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, began this week in Alexandria, Virginia. Defense attorneys had argued unsuccessfully that the venue should be moved, as Alexandria is the home of news giant “TWITPOL,” and this may have tainted the jury pool.
That’s actually not true; we just giggle every time we write the word taint.
The trial proceedings began on Monday with prosecutors and defense attorneys screening jurors before one was finally empaneled. One of the prerequisites for the jurors was that they shall not have read sufficient pre-trial coverage of the case prior to the start of the trial. This put the prosecution at a disadvantage as Trump supporters are not exactly known for reading the news. Or reading anything.
Once a jury was empaneled (which sounds horribly painful to us), the proceedings began with the prosecution laying out the case that Manafort has weird taste in clothes, and that some of his sartorial choices involve ostriches. There were other things they talked about, but with the court not being our normal beat, it involved many legal terms that we don’t particularly understand. Terms like voir dire. Voir dire, pronounced “voir dire,” is a latin term meaning “as the nosey deer sees,” meaning act as though you are a deer watching these proceedings, not a consumer of news.
For those who are interested in learning more of what we in the business like to call “legal stuff and the such,” late last year we created a guide which can be found here under the name “Legal Terms You Need to Know in the Age of Trump.”
Before we wander off into legal territory in which we are not terribly familiar, we will turn now to our colleagues, the aforementioned @PeteWilliamsNBC, @KenDilanianNBC, and @WmBrangham to join us in analyzing the proceedings. @KatyTurNBC was not invited (so don’t go thinking she declined).
For the record, in addition to NBC and PBS, we sought analysis from a Fox “News” reporter covering the trial, but it turns out Fox “News” is unaware there IS a trial and is instead focussing on covering Hillary Clinton’s emails. We also sought out Court TV, but it turns out it is no longer 2009.
Our colleagues, Pete Williams, Ken Dilanian, and William Brangham (in case you’ve forgotten), and TWITPOL are not the only ones following the case with astute eyes. The president himself weighed in this week, reiterating his claim that the Mueller probe writ large (our term, not his — he can’t spell writ) is a rigged witch hunt, and adding that his Campaign Chairman and his Deputy Campaign Chairman had nothing to do with his campaign. He also called Mueller and his team corrupt and biased, based on his almost singular ability to correctly judge character. He then complained that no one told him that Paul Manafort was a shady character or that Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, III, whom he again called on to end the probe, would recuse himself. He also compared Manafort to Al Capone, but…you know…in the good way.
The president’s legal team also weighed in. Specifically, Rudy Giuliani — the president’s “lawyer” — in classic Giuliani style, twisted his pinky ring, sucked on the rotting-stump carcass of his bottom teeth, and disclosed that Trump was not at a planning meeting that didn’t take place, and that the other people who attended it can attest that Trump wasn’t there.
With that image to tide you over, we will end this special edition here. Don’t forget to tune in tomorrow for our regularly scheduled TWITPOL, in which we will do for ALL the news what we’ve done for the Manafort trial here.
If you enjoy reading TWITPOL please seek help. But please also follow us, “clap” for this story, recommend it, share it, tweet it, and do all sorts of other things that the kids these days do. Follow us onMedium.com and on twitter at @sbouchard67
SERIOUS NOTE: Pete Williams, Ken Dilanian, and William Brangham were willing to play along. Each sought assurance that their contribution wouldn’t be personally insulting to anyone and wouldn’t be partisan. In fact, we do not know the partisan affiliation of any of the reporters with whom we spoke. They were, to a person, kind, funny, and decent. They are excellent representatives of their profession, and they deserve the gratitude of each us — a free press is the linchpin of a democracy. Also, deep down, I think they all sort of knew they were in the presence of journalistic greatness when they spoke with us.
Or, as Trump supporters would put it: