First day of jury deliberations in Trump’s secret New York trial

Former President Donald Trump falsely claimed Wednesday that Judge Juan Merchan was “not requiring a unanimous decision on the false accusations against me.”

Trump made the claim in a social media post in which he described Merchan’s supposed position as “RIDICULOUS, UNCONSTITUTIONAL, AND UN-AMERICAN.” He echoed claims circulating among conservatives after Fox News anchor John Roberts wrote on social media earlier Wednesday that “Judge Merchan just told the jury they don’t need the “unanimously to condemn”.

Facts First: Trump’s claim inaccurately describes what Merchan said.

Merchant told the jury in his instructions Wednesday that their verdict “must be unanimous” on each of the 34 counts Trump faces and that, to convict Trump of falsifying business records, they would have to unanimously agree that he falsified business records in the intent to commit, aid, or conceal another crime – that other crime being a violation of a New York election law. But Merchan explained that even if this New York election law prohibits people from conspiring to use “illegal means” to promote the election of a candidate, jurors do not need to unanimously agree on the particular “illegal means” Trump may have used; They can convict him provided they unanimously agree that Trump used illegal means.

Prosecutors have advanced three theories about the illegal means used by Trump. Merchan told the jury: “Although you must unanimously conclude that the defendant conspired to promote or prevent the election of any person to public office by unlawful means, you need not be unanimous as to the nature of these illegal means. In determining whether the defendant conspired to promote or prevent a person’s election to public office by illegal means, you may consider the following: (1) violations of the Federal Election Campaign Act , also known as FECA; (2) falsification of other business documents; or (3) violation of tax laws.

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