John Durham Faces New Challenges After Jury Selection in Sussmann Case

John Durham Faces New Challenges After Jury Selection in Sussmann Case
AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

The trial of Michael Sussmann, a Hillary Clinton apparatchik who spread false conspiracy theories about Donald Trump to the FBI, begins on Tuesday. That follows the selection of the jury, which is presenting new challenges for John Durham’s first major prosecution in his investigation of the Russian collusion hoax.

Sussmann’s prior attempts to get the case dismissed failed miserably after Durham expertly responded to the contradictory arguments presented. Going forward, though, the final decision will be in the hands of a jury that includes a Hillary Clinton donor and a woman who claims she can’t be impartial regarding Donald Trump.

Many of the members of the broader jury pool, as well as some selected for the jury itself, expressed strong disdain for former President Donald Trump and/or support for Clinton. Most said they hadn’t heard of the Sussmann case until the judge told them about it last week.

“I remembered that the 2016 election was kind of a mess and that there were a lot of shenanigans,” one of the selected jurors told the court. She said she “strongly” disliked Trump and that she didn’t think she could be impartial if the case was about someone on his team but noted that “if it’s not directly about Trump,” then she could be impartial.

The obvious problem here is that the case is about Donald Trump. No, it’s not a Trump associate on trial, but the entire basis of the case is that Sussmann went to the FBI and lied to them about the Alfa Bank conspiracy theory, which asserted that the former president had a secret server communicating with the Russians.

On what planet can a juror who outright says they have a strong animus against Trump be impartial in judging someone who’s on trial for actively trying to destroy Trump with falsities? It’s absolutely insane that this woman made it into the final jury pool.

She’s not the only one, though. Other jurors also revealed that they donated to Hillary Clinton in 2016 and/or donated to Joe Biden in 2020. Given that most people never donate to any political campaign for president, it seems unreasonable that doing so wouldn’t be disqualifying. There are plenty of other possible jurors to choose from who aren’t overtly political to the point where they gave money to Clinton.

Further, the jury pool itself is comprised of 11 women and only five men. Why does that matter? Because women, specifically liberal women like you’d find in Washington, DC, represent one of the strongest demographics for the Democrat Party.

Unfortunately, this is the problem with holding criminal trials against those involved in corruption at the federal level in the nation’s capital. DC is the most liberal city in the country, voting 92.5 percent for Biden in the last presidential election. The bias among possible jurors there is unbelievable. Past that, the judge that allowed the above jurors into the pool is also an Obama appointee. Make of that what you will.

There is one sliver of good news, though. Usually, when a prosecution is brought, the case is so air-tight that a conviction is all but assured.

Regardless, color me skeptical those stats apply in the Sussmann trial. Most cases that go to trial in federal court are inherently non-political. What Durham is doing is relatively rare, and whether he can get a fair shake in prosecution is certainly a concern. Besides, I’m a natural cynic on this stuff given the lack of justice handed down in the past.

Still, we can assume that if Durham chose to go to trial, he’s got an open and shut case. Whether the jury will see it that way? That’s another question.

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