NEW YORK – New York lawyer wasted no time in trying to use President Donald Trump’s argument is that cooperators, or flippers, in criminal cases, “almost should be illegal.”
Kafahni Nkrumah is still not very far in his closing argument Thursday when he tried to bring Trump’s statement to belittle an employee who was to testify against his client in a drug case. A judge has not allowed it, calling the attempt “to of the line.”
“I’m not going to allow you to argue here with respect to the statements of the president of the United States in a case that has nothing to do with this,” U. S. District Judge Gregory H. Woods said in a conversation with the attorneys out of earshot of the jury.
Trump’s note sent earlier in the day during a “Fox & Friends” interview, in which he suggested that it should be illegal for people with criminal prosecution to cooperate with the government in exchange for a lower sentence.
As for Trump note that the decision on the basis of a statutory audit to work together, “almost should be illegal,” the judge said: “As we all know, and if I’m going to instruct the jury, it is not illegal.”
Nkrumah and the principal, Jamal Russell, was eventually convicted on drug charges and fired on a weapons count. Nkrumah does not return a message seeking comment on Tuesday.
The courtroom development, illustrated by the concern of some lawyers that Trump’s comments and tweets about the criminal justice system begins to insist on the actual lawsuits.
“The president is the leader of the country. What he says can have the effect of, and possibly prejudice trials in many different ways,” said Carl Tobias, a University of Richmond Law School professor.
In his closing argument, Nkrumah urged jurors to disregard the testimony of an employee, which says that it was not true.
Then Nkrumah referred to the financial fraud trial of Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, who used in the part about the cooperation of the witnesses, saying: “You know what’s funny? Yesterday, Manafort was convicted.”
Assistant district Attorney of the V. S. Adam, S. Huisman objection, and the judge immediately called lawyers in a private conversation.
Nkrumah argued, unsuccessfully, that Trump’s comments were relevant “because the employees and the opinions of people of cooperators. … I am of the opinion that the president is in the opinion of employees is just as relevant as anyone else’s.”
After the jury left the room, the judge stressed that he rejected Trump is of the opinion, because “it is a politically loaded, polemic problem that should not be entered in this case.”
Trump went on “Fox & Friends” after his former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, entered a guilty plea to eight felony charges, including violations of the campaign finance law for payment to two women who alleged affairs with Trump.
Trump told “Fox and Friends” for the “30, 40 years I’ve been watching flippers. Everything is wonderful and then they get 10 years in prison, and they — they flip on who has the highest, or as high as you can go.”
Trump said cooperators “make up things” to leniency in sentencing and ” a national hero.”
A 2016 report of the U.S. Sentencing Commission found that the majority of the more than 10,000 federal defendants a reduced sentence from 2009 to 2014 for the cooperation with the government were used in the drug trade.
Annemarie McAvoy, a former Brooklyn federal and the state prosecutor, said cooperators were supplies in the American justice system.
“It was inartful at best,” she said of Trump’s comments. “I hope it was inartful.”