Practicing the perp-walk smirk

Wandering around Twitter, I saw one of those oft-repeated photos of Paul Manafort buttoning his jacket as he enters a courthouse. He is beginning to move his mouth into the Manafort Smirk, that weird smile he (and his wife) displayed during his prosecution.

I’d like to briefly highlight these smirks because they have been so prevalent among Trump’s mob gang. Have you all noticed it, too?

There are subtle distinctions in such smirks. Gordon Sondland, entering Congress during the impeachment hearings, had a goofy, “Gee, are you taking pictures of moi?” sort of smile. But then again, he wasn’t being prosecuted for crimes against democracy.

Now, I should mention my informed suspicion that defendants’ lawyers instruct their clients to smile. Well, I should say, some defendants’ lawyers. I can almost hear the prep conversation between lawyer and client. “Let me see that smile, Paul! C’mon, stretch it out more…that’s it! You’ve got it now. Look in this mirror. See what you’re doing? Freeze it, as you walk into the courthouse.

“The message you’re gonna give to the news media is ‘What? Me, worry?’ And your little wifey, get her practicing her smile, the smile that says, ‘I’m not thinking about the possible prison sentence my hubby might be facing, I’m not.’

Then we’ve seen Michael Flynn’s Soldier Smirk, that chin-thrust-up-and-out belligerence, with a thin cold smile on the lips.

Why don’t the lawyers advise their clients to look serious? They are facing serious criminal prosecution. Shouldn’t they look serious, instead of cartoonishly bizarre and sort of stupid? What is the purpose of the perp smile anyway? What jury, what judge will see that weird smile and say, “Oh, yeah, right, this guy is so innocent”?

But pay me no mind. I’m not a lawyer.


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