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Legal News: Hunter Is from Venus, Donald Is from Mars

Last month, Donald Trump was on trial. This month, Hunter Biden is on trial. And the two trials have been a study in contrasts.

Certainly, there are some similarities between the two prosecutions, as the cases against both men have their weaknesses, with the defense attorneys trying to exploit those weaknesses as best they possibly can. But importantly, Biden's lawyers are trying the exact case they want to try, and that they (as experts) think has the best chance of securing an acquittal. There have been no obvious situations where the defense's approach to the case has been targeted at the client and his giant ego.

Most importantly, Hunter Biden is behaving in the manner best suited to his needs as a defendant. Yes, his attorneys are trying to make a legal argument for why he should be acquitted. However, there is also a subtext of jury nullification in their case—this is a fellow who lost his mother in a horrible accident, who has been haunted by demons his whole life, whose addictions began with painkillers prescribed for post-accident pain and later for shingles, and who doesn't deserve to be punished now that he's pulled himself together. Biden himself has acted in a manner that is respectful and engaged, and he comes off as very likable, according to those in the room. If a jury is wobbling on the legal questions, or if they are pondering nullification, it helps the defendant if he is a sympathetic figure, and Biden is, by all indications.

The Trump case also had these elements. His lawyers tried to plant the seeds of both "this is a politically motivated prosecution" and "this is a family man who was just trying to spare the feelings of his beloved wife." These sympathetic/nullification subtexts were a harder sell than with Biden, we would say, especially since Biden's family has been showing up to the trial every day while Trump's family was largely absent (and his wife was entirely absent). But beyond that, Trump's body language in court was very poor, except during those times he was falling asleep. Further, the jurors could not help but be aware of his blustering, since he did it right outside the courtroom at the end of each day's testimony. So, unlike Biden, Trump did little to help his lawyers sell their case.

The prosecution is expected to rest today, which means projections of a verdict sometime next week remain plausible. If Biden is acquitted, there is going to be all kinds of carping from right-wing politicians and their media enablers about a two-tiered system of justice. If and when that moment comes, keep in mind that, by all indications, Biden's attorneys, aided by their client, appear to have mounted a much better defense than Trump's attorneys did. (Z)

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