‘Difficult to Believe’ It’s Standard Practice to Instruct Jury They Do Not Have to Agree on What Underlying Crime Occurred to Be Unanimous: Former Prosecutor

In former President Donald Trump’s New York criminal trial, State Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan gave the jury instructions in which jurors do not have to agree on the underlying crime. Prominent law professor Jonathan Turley expressed reservations about this. He said Justice Merchan delivered the “coup de grâce,” meaning death blow instruction. Mr. Turley says that means jurors could disagree on what the crime was, yet the judge would still treat them as unanimous. NTD speaks to Zack Smith, a former federal prosecutor and a legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation, who says, in his view, it’s “difficult to believe” that it’s standard practice to give these kinds of instructions.

 

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