Trump’s Hush Cash Trial Practically In Jury’s Palms After Prolonged Closing Arguments


The prison hush-money trial of former President Donald Trump wound down after a protracted day of proceedings Tuesday as attorneys for each the prosecution and the protection introduced closing arguments earlier than jurors who’re anticipated to start deliberations this week.

“President Trump is innocent. He did not commit any crimes, and the district attorney has not met their burden of proof. Period,” Trump lawyer Todd Blanche informed the jury.

The previous president is charged with 34 felony counts that stem from a $130,000 cost made in October 2016 by Michael Cohen, Trump’s former private lawyer, to porn actor Stormy Daniels, who says she had a sexual encounter with Trump in 2006.

Trump has repeatedly denied Daniels’ declare and has pleaded not responsible to all counts.

The protection introduced its facet of the case first. Blanche argued that Trump knew nothing in regards to the cost to Daniels on the time it was made and that the checks on the middle of the case had been reputable funds for Cohen’s authorized companies in 2017 as private lawyer to the president of the USA.

Manhattan District Lawyer Alvin Bragg’s workplace opted to prosecute Trump for falsifying New York enterprise data, structuring the costs so every corresponds to a special doc — checks, invoices and different data. Trump personally signed the checks that the prosecution says reimbursed Cohen for the hush cash cost, spreading them out month-to-month over his first 12 months within the Oval Workplace, though the repayments had been logged as authorized bills. Prosecutors say it was the mislabeling that makes them fraudulent data.

As he wrapped up his presentation, Blanche listed 10 elements of the case that he thought ought to depart jurors with an affordable doubt. He mentioned there was no intent to improperly affect the 2016 presidential election, and he pushed again in opposition to the concept allegations about extramarital affairs from ex-Playboy mannequin Karen McDougal and a former Trump Tower doorman had been examples of “catch and kill” — when somebody pays for rights to a narrative after which sits on it so it by no means turns into public information. Blanche claimed that Daniels’ declare was already broadly recognized as a result of it had been referenced in a short-lived 2011 submit on the celeb weblog “The Dirty.”

However Trump’s lawyer spent essentially the most time attacking Cohen’s credibility, dubbing him the “human embodiment of reasonable doubt.”

“He lied to you repeatedly. He lied many, many times before you even met him. His financial and personal well-being will depend on this case. He is biased and motivated to tell you a story that is not true,” Blanche mentioned.

Cohen, Blanche mentioned, was the “MVP of lying” — the “GLOAT,” or the “Greatest Liar Of All Time.”

Former President Donald Trump returns from a break as closing arguments proceed Tuesday in his prison hush cash trial in New York Metropolis.

Andrew Kelly/Pool Photograph by way of Related Press

Prosecuting lawyer Joshua Steinglass jumped on the likelihood to counter lots of Blanche’s factors.

Trump’s lawyer characterised as regular the take care of American Media CEO David Pecker to make use of the Nationwide Enquirer tabloid to spice up Trump’s marketing campaign and in addition protect it from detrimental tales. Steinglass argued it was something however regular, calling it a “subversion of democracy.”

He mentioned voters had the correct to guage the tales about Trump’s alleged affairs for themselves, together with the alleged incident with Daniels. Nothing in regards to the Trump marketing campaign’s dealings with Pecker and American Media Inc. (AMI) represented a “normal, legitimate press function,” Steinglass mentioned.

“We’ll never know if this effort to hoodwink the American voter made a difference in the election, but that’s not something we have to prove,” Steinglass informed the jury.

He hit again at Blanche’s suggestion that solely Cohen claimed the “Access Hollywood” tape, by which Trump boasted of sexual assault, had threatened his 2016 candidacy, reminding the jury that others additionally testified in regards to the large hurt attributable to the audio tape, together with former Trump marketing campaign spokesperson Hope Hicks and former Republican Nationwide Committee staffer Madeleine Westerhout.

Steinglass informed the jury that they didn’t must rely solely on Cohen to attach a number of the dots within the case. He gave for example the existence of the alleged conspiracy between Trump’s marketing campaign and AMI, as a result of Pecker had additionally testified about it.

Later, the prosecutor listed the “mountain” of proof that the jury would want to ignore with the intention to agree with Trump’s declare that the checks totaling $420,000 represented cost for Cohen’s work as private lawyer to the president all through 2017.

In keeping with Steinglass, jurors must discover that each Pecker and Keith Davidson, Daniels’ lawyer, lied of their testimony that Cohen had anticipated to be paid again for the hush cash; that Trump Group controller Jeffrey McConney additionally lied when he mentioned that Chief Monetary Officer Allen Weisselberg informed him they had been reimbursing Cohen; that they may disregard the handwritten notes detailing how Cohen can be repaid and the way the quantity of $420,000 was reached; and the truth that all of the checks “just so happen” to equal $420,000.

“It’s easy to throw a bunch of mud on the wall and see what sticks,” Steinglass mentioned at one level in an obvious characterization of Trump’s protection technique.

He spent a comparatively small period of time on Daniels’ testimony, arguing that, though he thought a number of the particulars she shared had been “cringeworthy,” the extent of element she supplied helped chase away assaults from the protection that she was making issues up.

“Those are the kind of details … you expect someone to remember,” Steinglass informed the jury.

Persevering with his presentation some three-plus hours after jurors are usually dismissed for the day, Steinglass straight addressed Blanche’s assertion that Cohen went rogue. He mentioned it defied logic that Cohen, if he had been performing on his personal, would delay the hush cash cost to Daniels by two weeks in October 2016 and threat her going public with a harmful story.

At the moment, Cohen testified, he was delaying cost as a result of Trump didn’t really wish to put up the cash and hoped that if he might delay it previous Election Day, it might stop to matter.

“Michael Cohen is not some rogue actor here. He’s acting at the direction of the defendant,” Steinglass mentioned.

As he lastly wrapped up, the prosecutor gave three explanation why jurors ought to discover Trump responsible.

“One,” he mentioned, “Trump is a micromanager.”

“Second, Cohen was and is a self-promoter,” Steinglass went on, saying “it simply defies common sense” that Cohen would undertake such a “herculean” effort to silence Daniels after which preserve it to himself for leverage at some unspecified later date, because the protection recommended.

“And the third reason is because the defendant was the beneficiary of this entire scheme,” Steinglass mentioned. “The false business record benefited one person and one person only, and that is the defendant.”

“You’ve got to look at the evidence as a whole, and when you do, you’ll see that the people have proven this case beyond a reasonable doubt.”

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