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The jury will now decide Trump’s fate in the hush money trial after lengthy closing arguments. • Colorado Newsline

WASHINGTON – Closing arguments in the first-ever criminal trial of a former U.S. president concluded Tuesday, leaving the jury to decide whether Donald Trump is guilty of forging reimbursement to his personal attorney for hush money paid to a porn star just before the 2016 presidential election.

Just outside the courthouse in lower Manhattan, President Joe Biden’s re-election campaign saw a press conference held with actor Robert De Niro and two former US Capitol Police officers overwhelmed by the angry mob of Trump supporters who stormed the building on January 6 . , 2021.

De Niro sparred with a heckler and the Trump campaign then followed up with its own press conference.

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The final day of the trial ended after nearly eight hours of closing arguments, in which the defense portrayed Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen as the “MVP of liars” and Trump as a victim of extortion and too busy a leader in 2017 to understand the situation. payments to Cohen.

Meanwhile, the prosecutor led jurors through excruciating details of events and witness testimony to show that Trump’s goal, along with those in his orbit, was to “deceive the American voter” ahead of the 2016 election, according to reporters at the courthouse.

New York does not allow courtroom recordings but provides public transcripts of the proceedings. States Newsroom personally reported on the lawsuit on May 20.

Trump, the presumptive 2024 Republican presidential nominee, is charged with 34 crimes, one for each of 11 invoices, 11 checks and 12 ledger entries that New York state prosecutors allege were fabricated as routine “legal fees,” creating hid what was going on. really paybacks to Cohen for paying off adult film actress Stormy Daniels.

Trump denies all allegations

Daniels, also an adult film director, testified in early May about a 2006 sexual encounter with Trump at a golf tournament in Lake Tahoe, which he said never happened.

Cohen, the prosecution’s star witness, later told jurors that he wired Daniels $130,000 in late October 2016 to secure her signature on a non-disclosure agreement, and that Trump knew about it.

Cohen’s payment quickly followed the release of the “Access Hollywood” tape, which recorded Trump telling a TV host that his fame allows him to grab women by the genitals.

The revelation set off a frenzy in Trump’s campaign over potentially losing female voters, other witnesses testified.

Furthermore, Cohen testified that Trump was present during conversations to work out a plan with the Trump Organization’s longtime chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, to reimburse Cohen under the guise of “legal fees.” Cohen would ultimately receive a gross amount of $420,000 after taking into account a bonus and taxes.

The hush-money trial, which began in mid-April, is likely the only one that took place before the November election. Three other criminal cases against the former president, two federal and one in Georgia, remain stalled.

During the six-week trial, jurors heard from nearly two dozen witnesses called by the prosecution to establish Trump’s history of suppressing negative stories.

Former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker previously testified in 2016 about colluding with Trump and Cohen to pay off former Playboy model Karen McDougal and bury her story about an alleged affair with Trump.

The GLOAT

In his closing statements, Trump attorney Todd Blanche addressed the jury for nearly three hours, arguing that Trump made no attempt to influence the 2016 election through “illegal means.”

Blanche told jurors to put aside the idea of ​​a conspiracy, emphasizing that the existence of a non-disclosure agreement is “not a crime.” Working with editors to buy the silence of sources and bury stories was routine, Blanche said.

“Every campaign in this country is a conspiracy,” he told jurors, according to reporters at the courthouse.

Although there was no hard contract between Trump and Cohen at the time, Blanche argued that the two entered into an “oral” retainer agreement and that Cohen lied about how much work he actually did for Trump.

By the time Trump reached the Oval Office and personally signed nine of the 11 checks for Cohen, the then-president was too busy “running the country” to realize what he was signing, Blanche said.

As for the classification of the payments in the ledger, Blanche argued that the Trump Organization’s software contained limited drop-down menu categories, and that “legal fees” was one of the options.

Blanche’s closing statements were largely dominated by his efforts to convince jurors that Cohen’s testimony could not be trusted.

“There is no way you can find out that President Trump knew about this payment at the time it was made without believing the words of Michael Cohen – period,” Blanche told jurors, according to reporters in the courtroom.

Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to lying to Congress.

Using another sports metaphor, Blanche told the judges that Cohen is the “GLOAT.”

“He is literally the biggest liar of all time,” Blanche said.

He concluded by appealing to jurors not to send Trump “to jail” based on Cohen’s testimony.

Judge Juan Merchan cautioned Blanche against mentioning prison, pointing out that a guilty verdict does not necessarily mean jail time. Merchan told jurors to ignore the “inappropriate” comment, according to courthouse reporters.

‘The only one who paid the price’

For just under five hours, prosecutor Joshua Steinglass led jurors through his closing arguments, kicking off the longest day of the trial.

Steinglass began by telling them that the prosecution only needs to prove the following: false corporate information was used as part of the conspiracy and that Trump knew about it.

Steinglass reviewed previous evidence presented to the jury: phone records, handwritten notes, recorded phone conversations and checks bearing Trump’s own signature. He also recalled damning testimony from several Trump allies, including Pecker, the publisher.

“The conspiracy to unlawfully influence the 2016 election — you don’t need Michael Cohen to prove that,” Steinglass said, according to reporters at the courthouse.

Steinglass leaned on Cohen’s shady past, including his lying to Congress and his prison sentence for campaign finance violations related to hush money payments to women who alleged extramarital affairs with Trump.

These actions, he said, were taken on Trump’s behalf to defend and protect him; The irony, Steinglass said, is that they are now being used again against Cohen to protect Trump.

Cohen transformed from a loyal Trump ally to a bitter enemy who has published books titled “Disloyal” and “Revenge,” and produces a podcast called “Mea Culpa” on which he regularly lambastes Trump.

Cohen is “understandably angry that so far he is the only one who has paid the price for his role in this conspiracy,” Blanche told jurors, according to reporters, who noted Trump shaking his head.

Steinglass tried to humanize Cohen to jurors, telling them that you “can hardly blame” the former fixer — who now has a criminal record and no legal license — for selling merchandise, including T-shirts with the image of Trump in an orange prison jumpsuit.

Steinglass also refuted the defense’s argument that Trump’s actions prior to 2016 were routine, describing the National Enquirer as “a secret arm” of the Trump campaign and “the antithesis of a normal legitimate press function.”

“Everything Mr. Trump and his cronies did in this case was shrouded in lies,” Steinglass said at the end of his closing statement. “The name of the game was concealment, and all roads lead to the man who benefited most from it: Donald Trump.”

Biden deploys De Niro

On the sidewalk just outside the New York County Supreme Court, the Biden campaign deployed De Niro, the voice of the latest campaign ad, and former U.S. Capitol Police officers Harry Dunn and Michael Fanone. The officers are campaigning for Biden in battleground states, the campaign said in a news release.

Michael Tyler, the campaign’s communications director, introduced the trio, saying they were not in Manhattan because of the lawsuit, but rather because that’s where the media is concentrated.

Loud protesters, who De Niro called “crazy,” competed with the speakers.

“Donald Trump created this,” De Niro said, pointing to the protesters. “He wants to sow total chaos, and in some areas he is succeeding. I love this city and I don’t want to destroy it. Donald Trump wants to destroy not only this city, but the country, and ultimately he could destroy the world.”

“These guys are the real heroes,” De Niro said, pointing to Dunn and Fanone behind him. “They stood up and risked their lives for these low lives, for Trump.”

A protester then interrupted De Niro and called the officers “traitors.”

“I don’t even know how to deal with you, my friend,” De Niro snapped back during the livestream event.

Both Dunn and Fanone testified two years ago before lawmakers investigating the violent mob that overran the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 as Congress convened for a joint session to confirm Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election. Trump still falsely claims he won the election.

Trump’s campaign immediately followed with its own press conference.

Trump senior adviser Jason Miller held up a copy of the New York Post on Tuesday with the headline “Nothing to Brag About,” a play on the name of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

“Everyone knows this case is complete nonsense,” Miller said. “President Trump has done nothing wrong. This is all political.”

On Trump’s social media platform Truth Social, the former president posted “BORING!” in capital letters during a pause in the Steinglass summation.

Late Monday, Trump posted an all-caps complaint about the order in which closing arguments would take place — a routine, well-established series of comments in trials.

“WHY WAS THE CORRUPT GOVERNMENT ALLOWED TO MAKE THE FINAL ARGUMENT IN THE CASE AGAINST ME? WHY CAN’T THE DEFENSE GO LONG? BIG ADVANTAGE, VERY DISHONEST. WITCH HUNT!” He wrote.

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