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Legal Roundtable dives into Cohen, Manafort convictions

From left, Mark Smith, Brenda Talent and Bill Freivogel joined host Don Marsh for this month’s Legal Roundtable discussion.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio
From left, Mark Smith, Brenda Talent and Bill Freivogel joined host Don Marsh for this month’s Legal Roundtable discussion.";

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, the monthly Legal Roundtable convened to discuss current legal news locally and nationally. The recent national court proceedings involving Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort started off the conversation, which evolved from there to touch on topics including the election of Wesley Bell as St. Louis County prosecutor, opioids and district gerrymandering.

A panel of legal experts joined host Don Marsh including:

  • Bill Freivogel, J.D., professor for the School of Journalism at Southern Illinois University Carbondale
  • Mark Smith, J.D., associate vice chancellor and dean for Career Services at Washington University
  • Brenda Talent, J.D., CEO of the Show-Me Institute

“None of the allegations [against Manafort] relate to issues related to the president,” Talent said. “On the other hand, Cohen’s guilty plea does implicate the president in a possible campaign finance violation. And so that plea was one I think that got a lot of people’s attention.”
In regards to the upset victory of Bell over Bob McCullough for the county prosecutor’s seat, Freivogel admitted that he did not see it coming.

“I was just stunned by the result. Winning and winning big,” Freivogel said. “I mean it shows that the reform movement that grew out of the events of Ferguson and Black Lives Matter has a lot of power.”

The topic of Ferguson transitioned from Bell to the recent report released by Forward Through Ferguson. The report details 47 calls to action that were identified in 2015, and while all experienced some amount of implementation, only five were entirely achieved.

“They’ve made it very clear that they don’t want this to be just something on the shelf,” Smith said. “They’re looking at it and trying to show where things are happening, but it’s going to be tough because you’ve got all these disparate actors who need to come together.”

Listen to the full conversation:

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary EdwardsAlex Heuer and Caitlin Lally give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.

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Caitlin Lally is thrilled to join St. Louis Public Radio as the summer production intern for "St. Louis on the Air." With a bachelor's degree in journalism from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Caitlin also freelances for area publications like Sauce Magazine and the Belleville News-Democrat. In her career, she's covered topics such as Trump's travel ban, political protests and community activism. When she's not producing audio segments or transcribing interviews, Caitlin enjoys practicing yoga, seeing live music, and cooking plant-based meals.