The Facts of Life and the Manafort indictment

I just listened to Manafort’s attorney, declaiming from the courthouse steps immediately after his client was indicted, stating there was no evidence of collusion with the Russians. Which is what they’ve been saying all along.

Well, folks, what he really was saying was, “In this indictment there is no evidence or charges of Russian collusion,” as if hey, that’s it, we’re done here.

No. What the lawyer didn’t say, but I will, is any indictment can be and often will be re-opened to add new charges. At this point the indictment caption will have the letter “S” inserted, indicating Supplemental, i.e., more charges added. “S-1”, if I remember, indicating this is the first supplement to the indictment. The next time they re-open the indictment with new charges, they’ll insert “S-2,” and then “S-3,” and on and on.

CORRECTION: I was just reminded by Rachel Maddow that the term is not “supplemental” for an added-to indictment. “Supplemental” is used for an added-to complaint. For an indictment the proper term is “superseding.” I think.

I’m trying to recall (but failing) how many “S”s got added to one huge drug conspiracy indictment for which I saw the face sheet.

Anyway, this is only the starter indictment, like a starter apartment when you’ve got your eye on the next door neighbor’s apartment which he’s saying you can buy for the right price, and break down walls and expand into.

And the reason Manafort pled not guilty? Because he’s either (1) doing what any defendant correctly should do, which is require the government to prove its case or (2) giving time for his lawyer and the investigation’s lawyers to chitchat. That is, discuss what and who¬† Manafort can offer the investigators to get a plea deal.

During those discussions, it occurs to me, the investigators can say, “We let your guy off easy with this indictment but we have a lot more proof and unless he gives us something, we won’t be letting him off that easy when and if we re-open the indictment.”

That’s the fairly knowledgeable opinion of someone who is not a lawyer.

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