The statistical fraud of multiple counts and courts

It has been pointed out that bringing so many counts against Trump in multiple courts is an unprecedented and obvious strategy for distorting the election process.  It will put candidate Trump at an enormous logistical disadvantage as he is forced to devote to legal defenses time, energy, and resources that could otherwise be used to campaign.

It has not been pointed out, however, that there is an even more outrageous end result strategy from the left.  It is an attempted statistical fraud that the Democrats hope no one will notice.

If "no reasonable prosecutor" would bring a criminal case unless the odds of conviction were well above a mere coin toss, then what are we to make of 91 counts — 34 in New York, 40 in Florida, 4 in D.C., and now 13 more in Georgia?  After all, it takes only one conviction for the Democrats to chortle: "See!  See!  He's a criminal!  Lock him up!"  And even if each count against Trump had only, say, a sixty percent chance of a guilty verdict, it would take only six counts for the overall statistical odds of obtaining at least one conviction to be above a confidence level of 99 percent.

So what can not six, but 91 counts mean?  It means the left can bring counts it knows are weak yet still gain "success" from a statistical trick.  Even if each count has only a ten-percent chance of "sticking" — and any prosecutor bringing such a poor case should be dismissed — with 91 such counts, then the odds of at least one "success" among them would still be over 99.99 percent.

In other words, even with poor cases, the left will be able to declare "victory" with a confidence level statistically indistinguishable from 100 percent!  There would be even less than one chance in ten thousand that there would not be at least one guilty verdict. 

This statistical problem is the essence of what Samuel Johnson (1709–1784) tried to suggest when he pointed out how painful it would be "to be forced to defend" truth over and over again.  "[H]ow would you like," he asked, "though conscious of your innocence, to be tried before a jury for a capital offense, once a week?"  Sooner or later, if you were tried 91 times, they would get you for sure.  "Upon the common principles of chance," Johnson observed, "[w]here there are many shooters, some will hit."  The old proverb also covers this fact: "If a pig sticks his snout down in the leaf litter and ruts about long enough, sooner or later, he's bound to find an acorn."

The American people need to view this attempted statistical fraud (and its highly likely end result) for what it is, eyes wide open.

The author is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Yale, was a National Science Foundation Fellow at MIT, and graduated in the same Yale Law School class as Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Image: Public Domain Pictures.

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