Trump Jurors Ask to Rehear Pecker, Cohen Testimony

They also want to hear legal instructions again
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 29, 2024 5:16 PM CDT
No Verdict on First Day of Trump Deliberations
Donald Trump walks to the courtroom at Manhattan criminal court, Wednesday, May 29, 2024.   (Charly Triballeau/Pool Photo via AP)

The first day of the jury's deliberations in the first-ever criminal trial of a former US president ended without a verdict Wednesday. The New York jurors were dismissed just after 4pm, with Judge Juan Merchan asking them not to discuss the hush-money case with anyone, NBC News reports. He also told the jurors not to read news reports of the case or search for information online.

  • The jury began its deliberations just before noon. At around 3pm, jurors sent their first note to the judge, asking to rehear four pieces of testimony, three from former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker and one from former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, the Washington Post reports. Jurors are not given transcripts, so the testimony has to be read back to them in the courtroom.

  • The jury asked to rehear Pecker's testimony about a phone call between Trump and Pecker about former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who said she had an affair with Trump, the Hill reports. Another request was to rehear testimony about Pecker's decision not to sell the rights to the story to Trump.
  • In the first note, the jury also asked to rehear testimony from Pecker and Cohen about a meeting with Trump at Trump Tower in 2015, where they allegedly discussed a "catch-and-kill" scheme to bury negative stories about Trump, Forbes reports.
  • The jury also asked to rehear the legal instructions Merchan gave them Wednesday morning. CNN legal analyst Elie Honig says that the judge went through "50-something pages of legal instructions" and that the request suggests they "were way too much for any human being to absorb and make sense of."
  • The requests were completely normal, writes Jonah Bromwich at the New York Times. "Jurors frequently ask to hear testimony read back, and especially given how complex the applicable law is in this case—and perhaps, given the fact that there are two lawyers on the jury—it makes a lot of sense that they want to hear the jury instructions too," he writes.
  • The jury is due to return at 9:30am Thursday. Prosecutor Joshua Steinglass said the testimony that jurors want to rehear includes "a lot of little snippets that are not very long," the AP reports. He estimated it would take around 30 minutes to read the testimony aloud.
(Earlier Wednesday, Trump complained that "Mother Teresa could not beat the charges.")

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