Prosecutors Drag Out Closing Arguments in Trump Hush Money Trial


Jurors were present in the courtroom for the closing arguments in the hush money trial against former President Donald Trump on Tuesday as prosecutors derided the defense’s “laughable” closing statements from earlier in the day.

The 18-member jury, including six alternates, closely observed as prosecutor Joshua Steinglass claimed Trump’s defense attorneys resorted to “laughable lengths in a feeble attempt to cast doubt” on the credibility of the testimony and documents previously presented to them.

In this courtroom sketch, prosecutor Joshua Steinglass, right, speaks while former President Donald Trump, left, sits in court during the second day of jury selection in his criminal hush money trial in Manhattan criminal court in New York on Tuesday, April 16, 2024. (Christine Cornell via AP, Pool)

Steinglass highlighted a footnote from a 2018 Office of Government Ethics form, mocking the defense for using it to imply that all of Trump’s business records were legitimate.

The footnote read, “In 2016, expenses were incurred by one of Donald J. Trump’s attorneys, Michael Cohen. Mr. Cohen sought reimbursement of those expenses and Mr. Trump fully reimbursed Mr. Cohen in 2017.”

“If he was still doing legal work, why wasn’t he paid a dime in 2018?” Steinglass questioned. “When the reimbursement was done, the payments stopped.”

Trump faces 34 felony counts for allegedly falsifying business records linked to reimbursement payments made to Cohen for the hush money Cohen paid to porn star Stormy Daniels to keep her quiet ahead of the 2016 election about an alleged affair with Trump, which the former president denies. The prosecution submitted as evidence 11 checks, 12 ledger entries, and 11 invoices used to pay Cohen a total of $420,000 in 2017.

Steinglass at one point noted the length of his closing arguments, acknowledging that he had been addressing the jury since 2 p.m. local time, with the arguments nearing 8 p.m.

“I know what you’re thinking: Is this guy going to go through every single month’s worth of checks?” Steinglass said to the jury. “The answer is no.”

Former President Donald Trump returns from a break at Manhattan Criminal Court, Tuesday, May 28, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson)

Trump posted on Truth Social on Tuesday, referring to this segment of the prosecution’s closing arguments as “BORING!”

Andrew Cherkasky, a New York-based attorney and former federal prosecutor, mentioned to the Truth Voices that “there is a saying among trial lawyers: ‘I’ve heard a good closing argument, I’ve heard a long closing argument, but I’ve never heard a good long closing argument.’”

New York lawyer Rebecca Rose told Fox News the prosecution appears to be trying to “throw a lot at the jury” to persuade them through sheer thoroughness.

“I think their strategy is: Throw a lot at the jury, make the closing seem so long that the jury will start to say, ‘Well, that closing was so long, they must have had a lot to say, they must have proved their case,’” Rose stated.

The jury took a break just before 7 p.m. after Steinglass asked if the closing arguments could proceed a bit longer. They indicated the prosecution could continue into the evening, according to CNN.

Presiding Judge Juan Merchan told the prosecutors that the jury had been led to believe they would work until 8 p.m., advising the prosecution, “You’ve been going for four hours now,” and suggested they conclude by 8 p.m.

Kaelan Deese
Kaelan Deese
Supreme Court reporter covering the latest happenings at the nation's highest court and the legal issues surrounding Second Amendment rights, abortion, and religious liberties. He previously wrote breaking news as a fellow for The Hill during the 2020 election cycle. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma's Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communications program in 2019.

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