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Jury forewoman in Michael Sussmann trial raises eyebrows with revealing comments: 'I don’t think it should have been prosecuted'
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Jury forewoman in Michael Sussmann trial raises eyebrows with revealing comments: 'I don’t think it should have been prosecuted'

The forewoman of the jury that found former Hillary Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann not guilty of lying to the FBI spoke to media on Tuesday after the case concluded.

The comments have some legal experts raising new concerns about the jury.

What did she say?

The jury forewoman, who declined to provide her name, told media she believed the case was essentially a waste of time.

"I don’t think it should have been prosecuted," she said, the Washington Times reported. "There are bigger things that affect the nation than a possible lie to the FBI."

Confusingly, the forewoman also claimed the government "succeeded in some ways and not in others" in proving its case, although she did not elaborate on what she meant.

Considering that juries in criminal court are tasked with determining whether the government succeeded beyond a reasonable doubt in proving its case, it is unclear how the government could have both succeeded and failed to do so in the Sussmann case. Either government prosecutors met their burden of proof or they did not — there is no gray area.

"We broke it down, and it did not pan out in the government’s favor," the forewoman added. "Politics was not a factor."

What was the reaction?

Matthew Whitaker, a former federal prosecutor and acting U.S. attorney general, told Fox News on Wednesday the jury forewoman's comments demonstrate to him a case of "jury nullification."

"My biggest concern is the jury foreman came out and really gave up what the jury was discussing, which is that they thought this case should have never been brought to their attention in the first place," Whitaker explained.

"And that's a little concerning because this looks more like a jury nullification, where even though the evidence was overwhelming, even though they, the government, proved their case, that the jury just decided that this wasn't a case worth pursuing," he added. "So this case, to me, factually and legally was a slam-dunk case. But as I had said earlier, leading up to this jury verdict, this jury was going to be very difficult for Durham and his team to get a conviction."

Meanwhile, constitutional lawyer Jonathan Turley described the forewoman's comment as "the type of statement that would have drawn a likely challenge from prosecutors during voir dire."

"Telling a lie to the FBI was the entire basis for the prosecution. It was the jury's job to determine the fact of such a lie and its materiality," Turley added. "Of course, this statement can be a simple criticism of the underlying charge without admitting to bias in weighing the elements. Yet it would have prompted a challenge in the courtroom if expressed during jury selection."

Last week, Turley expressed concern over the partiality of the jury.

"[Sussmann] is facing a jury that has three Clinton donors, an AOC donor, and a woman whose daughter is on the same sports team with Sussmann’s daughter. With the exception of randomly selecting people out of the DNC headquarters, you could not come up with a worse jury," he said.

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