Although the effectiveness of Bo's performance so far doesn't mean the court will acquit him, it may make it tougher for it to mete out a heavy sentence.
The conviction rate for criminal trials and their appeals in China -- where the party controls police, prosecution and courts -- stood at 99.9% in 2010, a U.S. State Department report cited the Supreme People's Court as saying.
"Of course he will be convicted, otherwise it would be disastrous," Li said. "But the sentencing now can't be very severe because of the nature of the charge and how poorly they've conducted this trial."
It remains to be seen if the prosecutors' performance improves as the case continues.
Much of the fallout from the Bo scandal came before the trial opened.
"The Bo case has revealed the fundamental flaws of the political system and the widespread phenomenon of corruption and power abuse," Li said.
Members of the Chinese leadership, including President Xi Jinping, have described corruption as an existential threat to the Communist Party. But they have so far been reluctant to pursue it too aggressively.
Analysts say that is largely because it is so rampant.
Bo's case might have been a chance to make an example of a senior official. But his trial so far suggests that top leaders are unwilling to delve too deeply or punish him too severely.
"The leadership wants to move forward. They want to put it behind them and move onto other issues," Li said. "That strategy, although it's rational, will probably not resonate very well -- you leave some potential problems for the future as they fail to use the case to consolidate and uplift public confidence in the legal system."
A dramatic downfall
Bo is a princeling, a term that refers to the children of revolutionary veterans who boast of political connections and influence. His late father, Bo Yibo, was a revolutionary contemporary of Mao Zedong and former leader Deng Xiaoping.
Over the past three decades, Bo rose to power as a city mayor, provincial governor, minister of commerce and member of the Politburo, the powerful policymaking body of the Communist Party.
A charismatic and urbane politician, Bo was credited with a spectacular, albeit brutal, crackdown on organized crime during his time as the top party official of Chongqing, a metropolis in southwestern China.
But when his deputy, Wang Lijun, walked into the U.S. Consulate in the city of Chengdu in February of last year and told American diplomats that Bo's wife, Gu Kailai, was an accomplice in a murder case, a glittering political career began to unravel.
Wang's move precipitated Bo's political demise. Soon after news of the events began to emerge, Bo was removed from his party posts.
A court found Gu guilty last year of murdering British businessman Neil Heywood in a Chongqing hotel room in 2011. A family employee, Zhang Xiaojun, was also convicted in the killing and sentenced to nine years in prison.
The following month, Wang was convicted of bending the law for selfish ends, defection, abuse of power and bribe-taking. He received a 15-year prison sentence.
Dispute over a villa
Bo's trial is seen as a potentially concluding chapter in the scandal.
Authorities haven't said how long it will last. But with only part of the charges addressed so far, it appears it could go on for longer than the two days some observers had predicted.
Some of the testimony Friday concerned accusations that Bo was complicit in a complex deal Gu carried out to buy a villa in Cannes, France.
A dispute over ownership of the villa resulted in a falling out with Heywood, Gu said.
In her video testimony, Gu said that Bo was aware that the purchase of the villa had been funded by Xu Ming, a businessman in the northeastern port city of Dalian, where Bo was once mayor.