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Scenes From the Courtroom


It was a pretty tense morning in the courtroom.  From a common sense perspective it seemed like the answer to one of the jury's questions — "is it necessary for the Government to present evidence that it is not humanly possible for someone not to recall an event in order to find guilt beyond a reasonable doubt" — would be "no."  Most legal eagles batting it around agreed that in any other case that would have been the response, but Walton is playing it very close to the vest right now.  Whether that is because this is a high profile case, that's his natural tendency or because he's got one eye on an inevitable appeal (should the jury return a guilty verdict) it's hard to know.  

But when Walton said he simply wanted to tell the jury he didn't understand the question, Fitzgerald was not a happy camper.  Not at all.  He looked like someone who was watching his case circle the drain.  Jeffress, on the other hand, was delighted, and when he told the judge that he thought his decision was the right one it seemed like he was struggling to keep a smile from tugging at his mouth.  Deborah Bonamici and Fitzgerald stayed in there doggedly, and rightly so, since Walton has proven himself in the past to be willing to be persuaded by a good argument.  He isn't intractable.  Fitzgerald was quite insistent that Walton insert language telling the jury exactly what he found vague, namely the words "not humanly possible," so if the jury needed more clarification they would know where to focus further questions.  Walton eventually relented, and it just seemed like Jeffress sort of gave up.  I expected him to fight a little harder, to find some pretext to keep the wording ambiguous but he didn't.  Maybe in the grand scheme of things it wasn't a big decision, but in the moment it seemed quite portentious.  The body language of everyone on the prosecution eased considerably after Walton adopted their language.

And now for the question everyone wants answered — what was Barbara Comstock wearing?  It was a black suit with a big bow tied around the waist in front, and it was hard to know whether it was two decades out of style or a poorly executed modern nod to 80s fashion.  Perhaps it represents a tailoring detail specific to the needs of watermelon hunting or something we know nothing about.  The obscenely expensive Birkin bags were nowhere in evidence but the three inch roots that could've been touched up with a $100 trip to the salon definitely were, so we know conspicuous consumption still trumps simple, appropriate maintenance in the GOP flak handbook.

Who am I to quibble, getting Mel Sembler to keep adding zeros to the end of that check is alas a skill I do not possess.  Whatever it takes, I suppose.

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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