Team Heckler: Liars Not Lawyers

Downing lies. Photo by Mark Wilson/ Getty Images

A big bad day for the especially egregious members of Grifters Inc. as Paul Manafort was hit with 16 shiny new charges of fraud and slime brought by New York prosecutors just moments after his sentencing in federal court.  The indictment, unveiled by Manhattan D.A. Cy Vance, charges Manafort with 16 counts related to mortgage fraud, conspiracy and much falsifying of business records involving millions in fraudulent loans, including three conspiracy counts incriminating his daughter ("Individual 3") and former son-in-law ("Individual 2"), terms starting to sound pretty familiar these days. "No one is beyond the law in New York," intoned Vance on the charges, which pose potential prison terms - and conditions - far harsher than the slap-on-the-wrist-white-boy variety Manafort now faces, and most importantly which are, as state charges, pardon-proof.
 
The New York charges came minutes after DC Judge Amy Berman Jackson had dropped her gavel on Manafort's federal crimes, giving him 43 more months of prison time in addition to the low-ball 47 months he'd earlier gotten thanks to his fictional "blameless life." Wednesday's sentence brings his total time behind bars to a still-modest 7½ years. Emerging to address the waiting crowd, Manafort attorney Kevin Downing crowed that "Judge Jackson conceded that there was absolutely no evidence of any Russian collusion in this case.” As predictably as mud season, Downing's claim was duly, eagerly parroted by the pathological-liar-in- chief - current status: 4,583 lies, almost six a day - who babbled to reporters that the day's events proved "no collusion. There was no collusion...it was all a big hoax...Today, again, 'no collusion.'"
 
Unsurprisingly, given we're talking one sleazy grifter defending another on behalf of yet another, Downing's claim and Trump's echo were brazen, barefaced lies. What Judge Jackson actually said: “The ‘no collusion’ refrain that runs through the entire defense (is) unrelated to matters at hand.” She also called that mantra "simply a non-sequitur...(It is) also not accurate because the investigation is still ongoing," adding, "Court is one of the places where facts still matter." Outside the court, many agreed: Downing's sham declaration was swiftly, furiously drowned out by hecklers - aka truth-telling patriots - who shouted, "Liar! That's not what she said!", thus tarnishing Downing's hope for a fact-free sound bite and calling out its irony: If hecklers are more factually accurate than your lawyer, no wonder you're going to prison. Jackson gets the stern, stellar punchline: "If the people don't have the facts, democracy can't work."
 

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