Last week, President Donald Trump tried to undermine the validity of Paul Manafort's guilty verdict by going after the government's use of "snitches," or corroborating witnesses that help the government build a case against the accused.
“It’s called flipping and it almost ought to be illegal,” President Donald Trump said on Fox News. Trump's comments were roundly mocked as something a mafia boss would say. Now, it appears that his words have reverberated through the criminal justice system.
The New York Daily News reports that an attorney for a man charged with dealing crack planned to use the "Trump defense" to undercut the trustworthiness of government witnesses.
“You know what’s funny? Yesterday Manafort was convicted,” defense attorney Kafahni Nkrumah said. The government objected and the judge swiftly shut it down, telling him to stop before he cited a “presidential tweet.”
Nkrumah's line of argument illustrates the fact that Donald Trump is allowed to attack government criminal justice tactics when they touch his associates. Yet, he's not exactly prioritizing the reform of prosecutorial tactics that can end in unjust outcomes for poor people and people of color.
Although Donald Trump pardoned Alice Marie Johnson at the behest of Kim Kardashian West, he appears uninterested in releasing other nonviolent criminals and has said he would not consider a criminal justice reform package before the midterms.