After just six days of testimony and closing arguments the fate of Roger Stone is in the hands of the jury this morning. It was an unusual trial from the start, but who would expect anything less when the defendant has a reputation for political dirty tricks going as far back as Watergate. He famously has the image of Richard Nixon tattooed on his back, after all. Nevertheless, in spite of a courtroom full of kooks, the trial progressed in an orderly and efficient manner. I wasn’t there every day, and unfortunately missed most of the witnesses’ testimony. Politico has a good story on the trial here.
Yesterday’s hearing before U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta on President Trump’s efforts to block a House committee’s subpoena for financial records is likely just the first skirmish in a lengthy battle to be fought in the courts.
Paul Manafort, Trump’s one-time campaign chair, who last week received a 47 month prison sentence from U.S. District judge T.S. Ellis in Alexandria, Va, today appeared in a DC courtroom to be sentenced by judge Amy Berman Jackson on two counts to which he pleaded last fall. Manafort sat in a wheelchair as he had during last week’s sentencing, but this time he was dressed in a dark suit and purple tie instead of a green “Alexandria Inmate” jumpsuit.
Judge Jackson sentenced Manafort to an additional 43 months, though 30 months are to run concurrently with his Virginia sentence effectively sending him to prison for seven and-a-half years.
At the end of four days’ deliberations the jury in the Manafort trial in Alexandria returned a partial verdict of guilty on eight of the eighteen counts while remaining hung on the others. I decided ahead of time to just concentrate on Manafort as the verdict was announced and forgo a wider view of the courtroom. There was really no reaction I could see in Manafort or his wife, just the slightest nod on his way out of the courtroom. The one sketch I maybe should have done but didn’t, mainly because of the late hour, was of the two lines of lawyers, government and defense, shaking hands as they passed each other as at the end of a baseball game.
Below are sketches done as we waited for the verdict Monday and Tuesday.
Reporting on the retirement of Justice Kennedy, Nina Totenberg quoted R.E.M. “. . . it’s the end of the world as we know it”.
Although rumors had been circulating for over a year most Court-watchers figured Kennedy would hold off while Caligula occupied the White House. While disappointed, I can’t really blame him, after more than forty years on the bench, for wanting to step down. I’ll miss sketching him. When Kennedy joined the Supreme Court in 1988 USA Today quoted one of my fellow sketch artists as saying he had a “vanilla” face, in other words unremarkable. But not for me. I’ve grown accustomed to his face, the dome of his skull, the way his ears have no lobes, and the nose, ah the nose. Happy retirement Justice Kennedy.
Sketches from this week’s opinions are posted below.