Trump’s hush money trial ends as jury deliberates

by ian

Closing arguments wrapped up yesterday in the New York criminal trial against former President Donald Trump. The jury now begins its deliberations – so let’s take a look at how the trial has progressed so far.

The trial has Trump facing 34 felony counts of falsifying business documents to cover up a hush money payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels. According to the prosecutions, the payment was worth $130,000.

The prosecution’s case was built around the idea that Trump acted to commit an underlying crime. However, it wasn’t until today that the term “underlying crime” was somewhat defined. New York prosecutor Joshua Steinglass said that the payment was an attempt to “hoodwink the American voter” during the 2016 election.

Trump’s defense team cast the former president as a victim of extortion. Trump lawyer Todd Blanche said that Daniels threatened to go public with her story of a sexual encounter with Trump as he battled multiple unflattering stories near the end of the 2016 election.

Blanche also threw star witness Michael Cohen under the bus, saying he is a convicted felon with a long track record of lying. Cohen’s testimony was almost entirely dismissed by Judge Juan Merchan, who told jurors today that they cannot rely solely on his word to decide Trump’s fate.

But it is the prosecution’s “underlying crime” that has taken center stage. Speaking with Fox News before closing, former Assistant U.S. Attorney Andy McCarthy said the prosecution has not been “clear” on the president’s charges.

Trump legal spokesperson Alina Habba had similar complaints, saying the prosecution did not “give any evidence” that Trump intended to commit a crime.

The consensus among many legal experts seems to be that the prosecution did not bring a complete case before the court, and that could bungle their case.

But as the jury’s decision looms, Trump still isn’t giving up on the idea of running for president. Prior to the closing arguments, he took a few final jabs at President Joe Biden, the judge, and the case as a whole.