Alan Dershowitz slammed the legal system for allowing the jailing of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, explaining on Saturday’s “Fox & Friends” that he shouldn’t be jailed based solely on an indictment.
Dershowitz, Harvard Law School professor emeritus, said, “The government says he did it, he says no he didn’t do it … Why does the government get to win without a hearing or trial?”
Dershowitz argued that it wasn’t just Manafort, and that there were thousands of Americans who are jailed based on indictments rather than trials, and he said that such action was “obnoxious to the Constitution.”
There are thousands of people today in jail today, before they have been convicted of any crime. Many minorities, now Paul Manafort joins them based on an indictment. And indictments are not supposed to have any real impact, we still have a presumption of innocence. Under the law Manafort is no more guilty of contacting witnesses or attempting to obstruct justice than any of us. The government says he did it he says no he didn’t do it. He ‘didn’t know they were witnesses, and his conversations entirely innocent. Why does the government get to win without a hearing or trial?’
Dershowitz said that the real problem was that Manafort was being jailed to keep up the “pressure.” He said, “Well, it’s part of pressure. If Paul Manafort weren’t part of the campaign, nobody would have ever looked into his background, his lobbying. Nobody would be monitoring and finding out whether he is calling witnesses.” (RELATED: MANAFORT JAILED: Bail Revoked For Alleged Witness Tampering)
He further noted that Manafort’s actions, even if they were not entirely above board, were the natural response of anyone who was under investigation. “You know, it’s the most natural thing in the world when you are under investigation to see if maybe the witnesses should tell the truth.”
Dershowitz finally suggested that there should have first been an evidentiary hearing or what he referred to as a “mini-trial.” He explained, “[Manafort] could call witnesses. And only then do you put somebody in jail. You can get the grand jury to indict a ham sandwich as the chief judge of New York once put it. Prosecutors just play with grand juries. They tell them what to do. There are 23 chairs lined up to be moved around by prosecutors. And the idea that we now put people in jail based on what a grand jury does, hearing only one side of the case… really is obnoxious to our Constitution.”