Closing Arguments and Deliberations to Begin in Trump Trial


Former President Donald Trump’s business records trial is nearing its conclusion as closing arguments begin on Tuesday, with jury deliberations potentially starting by Wednesday.

Trump’s defense will present their closing arguments first, followed by the prosecution. Jurors will then decide if the leading Republican presidential candidate is guilty of falsifying business records related to an alleged “hush money” payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels.

After the defense rested last Tuesday, jurors have had a week to reflect on the cases presented by both sides before hearing the closing arguments.

Trump’s defense aimed to undermine the credibility of the prosecution’s main witnesses, Daniels and former lawyer Michael Cohen, during cross-examinations. The defense attempted to suggest that Daniels was financially motivated by Trump’s fame and wealth.

For instance, Trump’s attorney Susan Necheles questioned Daniels about merchandise she sold following the indictment by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, as reported by the New York Times and Daily Caller’s Katelynn Richardson:

These items included shirts, a “Stormy Daniels Political Power” comic book, and a “Stormy Saint of Indictments” candle, which were shown to the jury. … According to the Times‘ Jesse McKinley, the candle depicted “Daniels draped in a Christ-like robe.” … Necheles also focused on Daniels’ “Make America Horny Again” strip club tour, suggesting it profited from the situation.

Similarly, during Cohen’s time on the stand, Trump’s lawyer Todd Blanche challenged him on his testimony about a brief 2016 phone call to Trump’s bodyguard, Keith Schiller. Cohen had claimed he informed Trump of a payment to Daniels during the call.

Blanche implied the call was actually about harassing calls Cohen had received from a prankster, noting text messages before and after the call between Schiller and Cohen were about these calls.

Reports, citing Matthew Russell Lee from Inner City Press, noted:

Text messages to Schiller from Cohen about the harassing calls were sent at 7:48 p.m. and 8:14 p.m. The Daily Caller’s Katelynn Richardson noted that Schiller left a voicemail at 8:01 p.m., and sent “text me” at 8:02 p.m. Cohen called Schiller at 8:02. … Blanche stated, “You lied about this. You said you didn’t remember the harassing phone calls — now you claim that in the one minute and 36 seconds call you spoke about the harasser and Stormy Daniels,” according to Lee’s tweets.

Blanche also pointed to Cohen’s TikTok streams, highlighting his fundraisers linked to talking about the trial and Trump. Blanche’s initial question during the cross-examination was about Cohen calling him “a little shit on TikTok.”

Meanwhile, Judge Merchan imposed a comprehensive gag order on Trump, preventing him from discussing individuals involved in the trial except for Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and the judge himself. Trump has been found in violation of this order ten times.

The case is New York v. Trump, No. 71543-23, in the New York Supreme Court for New York County.

Nick Gilbertson
Nick Gilbertson
Journalist who focuses on national politics in the United States.

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