What to Expect in the Final Days of Trump’s Hush Money Trial


Former President Donald Trump’s criminal hush money trial might conclude as early as this week.

Closing arguments from both the prosecution and defense are scheduled for Tuesday, giving each side a final chance to present their case to the jury. After these arguments, the jury will receive instructions to guide them in reaching a verdict.

A verdict, whether acquittal or guilty, could come as early as this week. Here are three key aspects to watch as this landmark trial concludes.

Closing Arguments

The prosecution and the defense will present their closing arguments to the jury. These statements are expected to be extensive, likely occupying the entire day as the lawyers provide detailed recaps of the evidence and witness testimony.

The defense only needs to cast reasonable doubt in the mind of at least one juror to avoid a guilty verdict for Trump, as opposed to proving his innocence.

Therefore, in their closing arguments, the defense will likely attempt to highlight inconsistencies in the prosecution’s case by challenging Stormy Daniels’s testimony regarding her interactions with Trump. They may also strive to detach Trump from the specifics of the payments made by his former attorney, Michael Cohen, who handled the $130,000 hush money payment to Daniels.

Over 19 days of court proceedings, the prosecution called 20 witnesses, resulting in over 50 hours of testimony. In their closing arguments, the prosecution is expected to emphasize the reliability of the financial paperwork presented as evidence.

They will also likely underscore the testimonies of Daniels and Cohen, particularly Cohen’s statement that Trump was directly involved in the hush money scheme.

Jury Instructions

After closing arguments, Judge Juan Merchan will instruct the jury for about an hour on what they should consider when deciding the case.

The case centers on the $130,000 hush money payment to Daniels in 2016, intended to silence her about an alleged sexual encounter with Trump. The prosecution argues Trump falsified business records related to the payment, framing it as election interference since the payment occurred shortly before the 2016 election.

The defense requested Merchan to account for the case’s “extraordinarily important” nature—it being the first criminal trial of a former president—when instructing the jury. The prosecution objected, and Merchan concurred that it would not align with standard jury instructions.

“When you say it’s a very important case, you’re asking me to change the law, and I’m not going to do that,” Merchan stated.


A verdict could be delivered as soon as Friday. Following closing arguments and jury instructions, jurors will begin deliberations, evaluating all 34 counts against Trump.

Deliberations might last for hours or days, indicating the trial could conclude by Friday, though there is no fixed duration, and the deliberation process could extend for weeks.

For Judge Merchan to accept the verdict, all 12 jurors must unanimously agree on a guilty or not guilty decision. If unanimity cannot be reached, resulting in a mistrial or hung jury, Merchan would declare the jury “hopelessly deadlocked.”

Annabella Rosciglione
Annabella Rosciglione
Breaking News Reporter. Annabella is a graduate of UW-Madison where she worked at the Daily Cardinal reporting on Wisconsin politics.

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