Trump's Fate Moves to the Jury's Hands

Things kick off at 10am Wednesday
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted May 29, 2024 7:44 AM CDT
On Day 22 of People v. Trump, the Jury Deliberates
Former President Donald Trump returns from a break at Manhattan Criminal Court, Tuesday, May 28, 2024, in New York.   (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson, Pool)

Donald Trump's fate is now in the jury's hands. After a Tuesday packed with closing arguments that went into the evening hours, 12 jurors will on Wednesday be able to discuss the case amongst themselves for the first time. They'll deliberate whether to convict the former president on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records, charges that are punishable by up to four years in prison. What to expect:

  • Timing: Politico reports court is set to begin at 10am, at which time Justice Juan Merchan will provide the jury with what's expected to be about an hour of instructions, including "how to properly interpret the laws at issue in the case and how to properly navigate the verdict sheet" on which jurors will record their judgments. How long deliberations will take is anyone's guess. "Hours, days, or even weeks," suggests the New York Times.
  • The question at hand: The AP delves into what would underpin a potential conviction: The jury must unanimously agree that prosecutors proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Trump falsified or caused business records to be entered falsely and that he did so with intent to commit or conceal another crime.
  • Prosecutors' argument: They allege reimbursements paid to former Trump attorney Michael Cohen for a $130,000 hush money payment made to adult film star Stormy Daniels were falsely recorded as "legal expenses" to mask the truth of the transactions. NBC News reports Trump attorney Todd Blanche argued there was no falsification because Trump was paying Cohen for general legal services, not reimbursing Cohen. (Read a recap of closing arguments from prosecutors and the defense.)

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