Trump’s silent trial: prosecution and defense seek to score final points

NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump is “innocent” and did not break the law, a lawyer for the former president told jurors during closing arguments Tuesday. silence, money test moves closer to its conclusion.

The proceedings, which are expected to last all day, will give the lawyers one last chance to address the Manhattan jury and score final points with the panel. before starting to deliberate the fate of the first former US president to be charged with criminal crimes.

What there is to know:

  • Prosecutors and defense lawyers at Donald Trump silence, money test are expected to present their closing arguments to the jury after more than four weeks of testimony.
  • The arguments are expected to last all day. Follow live updates.
  • Trump faces 34 counts of falsifying business records, charges punishable by up to four years in prison.

“President Trump is innocent. He didn’t commit any crime and the prosecutor didn’t meet the burden of proof, period,” said defense attorney Todd Blanche, who said the evidence in this case should “leave you wondering your hunger” and that the prosecution’s star witness told “lies.” “on the stand and they can’t be trusted.”

“The consequences of the lack of evidence that you have all heard about over the last five weeks” are simple, Blanche said. “A verdict of not guilty, period.”

After more than four weeks of testimonysummaries represent a momentous and historically unprecedented task for the jury as it decides whether to convict the presumptive Republican presidential nominee in connection with payments during the 2016 elections to stop a porn actress from going public with her allegations of a sexual relationship with Trump.

Because prosecutors have the burden of proof in this case, they will present their arguments last.

Prosecutors will tell jurors they’ve heard enough testimony to convict Trump of all charges, while defense lawyers aim to create doubts about the strength of the evidence by targeting Trump’s credibility. Michael CohenTrump’s former lawyer and personal fixer who pleaded guilty to federal charges for his role in the secret payments and who was the main prosecution witness at the trial.

Former President Donald Trump speaks to reporters outside Manhattan Criminal Court on May 21, 2024 in New York. (Michael M. Santiago/Pool Photo via AP, File)

“You cannot convict President Trump, you cannot convict President Trump of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt on the word of Michael Cohen,” Blanche said, adding that Cohen “told you a number of things that were lies, pure and simple. “

After closing arguments, the judge will explain to the jury, likely on Wednesday, the law governing the case and the factors the panel may consider during deliberations. Deliberations will then take place in secret, although some clues about the jury’s thinking may appear in notes it sends to the judge with questions.

Trump faces 34 counts of falsifying business records, charges punishable by up to four years in prison. He has pleaded not guilty and denied any wrongdoing. It’s clear whether prosecutors would seek prison time if convicted, or whether the judge would impose that sentence if asked.

The case involves a $130,000 payment Cohen made to Porn actor Stormy Daniels In the final days of the 2016 election, to prevent her from going public with her story of a sexual encounter she says she had with Trump 10 years earlier in a Lake Tahoe hotel suite. Trump denied Daniels’ accountand her lawyer, during hours of questioning at the trial, accused her of making it up.

Jurors take notes as Stormy Daniels testifies in Manhattan Criminal Court on Tuesday, May 7, 2024, in New York.  Testimony in Donald Trump's secret trial has concluded after more than four weeks and nearly two dozen witnesses, meaning the case is heading toward the crucial final line of closing arguments, jury deliberations and possibly a verdict.  The deliberations will take place in secret, in a room reserved specifically for jurors and according to a deliberately opaque process.  (Elizabeth Williams via AP)

Jurors take notes as Stormy Daniels testifies in Manhattan Criminal Court on Tuesday, May 7, 2024, in New York. (Elizabeth Williams via AP)

When Trump reimbursed Cohen, the payments were recorded as being for legal services, which prosecutors say was intended to conceal the true purpose of the transaction with Daniels and to illegally interfere in the 2016 election, in which Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Trump’s lawyers say these were legitimate payments for genuine legal services, and they say his celebrity status, particularly during the campaign, led him to an extortion target.

Blanche, delivering a PowerPoint presentation to jurors, pointed to emails and testimony showing that Cohen actually worked on some legal matters for Trump that year. While Cohen calls this work “very minimal,” Blanche maintains the opposite.

“Cohen lied to you. “Cohen lied to you,” Blanche said, her voice becoming more emphatic.

THE Nearly twenty witnesses Including Daniels, who described in sometimes vivid detail the meeting she says she had with Trump; David Pecker, the former publisher of the National Enquirer, who said he used his media company to protect Trump by suppressing stories that could harm his campaign, including paying a former Playboy model $150,000 to prevent him from going public a claim that she had a year-long affair with Trump; and Cohen, who testified that Trump was intimately involved in the secret money discussions – “Just pay him,” the now-disbarred lawyer quoted Trump as saying.

Prosecutors are expected to remind jurors of the bank statements, emails and other documentary evidence they viewed, as well as an audio recording in which Cohen and Trump can be heard discussing the deal involving Playboy model Karen McDougal. Trump also denied any relationship with McDougal.

Defense lawyers called two witnesses – neither of them Trump. They focused much of their energy on discrediting Cohen, focusing on his own criminal history, his past lies and his memory of key details.

Under cross-examination, for example, Cohen admitted to stealing tens of thousands of dollars from Trump’s company by demanding to be reimbursed for money he didn’t spend. Cohen admitted to once telling a prosecutor that he felt Daniels and his lawyer were extorting Trump.

Although the jurors witnessed many memorable moments, during closing arguments they will not be informed of the discussions and decisions that took place outside of their presence. And there were many. Judge Juan M. Merchan, for example, fined Trump $10,000 for violating a hush order prohibiting inflammatory comments out of court and threatened to jail him if it continued.

The New York prosecutor’s office is one of four criminal cases underway against Trump as he seeks to retake the White House from Democrat Joe Biden.

The other three state and federal cases involve charges of illegally hoarding classified documents at his estate in Palm Beach, Florida, and conspiring to overturn the 2020 presidential election. But it is clear that each of between them will reach trial before the November elections.


Associated Press writer Michelle L. Price in New York contributed to this report.


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