Jurors in Donald Trump’s ‘hush money’ trial finish first day of deliberations

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Jurors weighing Donald Trump’s fate asked to review trial testimony and remember the judge’s instructions on the law as they begin their first day of deliberations in the former US president’s hush money case. concluded without a verdict.

The requests from seven men and five women came as Trump, who is holed up in a Manhattan courthouse awaiting a decision, lashed out at the case on social media, declaring it “a third-world election interference hoax.” He told reporters that “Mother Teresa could not overcome these accusations.”

Earlier in the day, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee had occasionally shook his head in disapproval as the judge described the charges against him, and at other times appeared to be asleep.

Before receiving the case Wednesday morning, the jury heard from Judge Juan Merchán, who urged them to “carefully consider the opinions of others” and “not give up an honest view of the evidence simply because you want the trial to end.” ”. ”.

After more than three hours of deliberation, they sent two memos to the judge, asking him to review evidence from tabloid editor David Pecker and former Trump fixer Michael Cohen, as well as a review of the law. They were dismissed for the day shortly after 4 pm ET and will resume Thursday morning.

Deliberations began a day after jurors endured nine hours of closing arguments from the prosecution and defense, during which they heard competing accounts of the events surrounding the bribery of porn star Stormy Daniels, who threatened to come forward with allegations of an encounter extramarital. with Trump in the days before the 2016 election.

After the publication of Access Hollywood On the tape, in which Trump was heard bragging about grabbing women’s genitals, he “became increasingly concerned about the impact these accusations were having on voters, particularly women,” the aide told jurors. from District Attorney Joshua Steinglass. The tape “and the reports that followed it could have cost him the entire election, and he knew it.”

The $130,000 paid to Daniels by Cohen, who used his own money, “had a lot to do with the campaign,” Steinglass added.

Trump is accused of conspiring to have Cohen orchestrate a “catch and kill” plot to prevent the story from getting out, and of violating election and tax laws by disguising the refunds as legal expenses.

Todd Blanche, Trump’s attorney, responded that his client was primarily “worried about his family (and) worried about his wife” after the tape became public, and claimed there was “no evidence” to suggest Trump knew about the payments. . to Daniels in 2016, beyond the testimony of Cohen, a convicted perjurer and fraudster.

“He lied to her repeatedly,” Blanche said of the prosecution’s central witness. “He has lied to each and every branch of Congress. . . “He has lied to federal judges on multiple occasions,” she added. “You can’t convict someone based on Michael Cohen’s words.”

Under New York law, the jury must reach a unanimous decision on each of the 34 criminal counts charged. If the jury deadlocks after significant deliberations, a mistrial would be declared and the Manhattan district attorney would have to decide whether to retry the case.

If convicted, Trump, as a first-time offender, is unlikely to face jail time. He is also likely to appeal the verdict, which would begin a process that would take months to resolve. He faces three other criminal cases, which are increasingly unlikely to go to trial before the November election.

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