Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

Trump’s lawyers and prosecutors make final pleas to jury in hush money trial

By 37ci3 May29,2024

Donald Trump’s lawyer on Tuesday urged jurors to find the former president not guilty, calling the key witness “the MVP of liars,” while the prosecutor urged the panel to “focus on the facts” and “hold the defendant accountable.” ”

“In the interest of justice and on behalf of the people of the state of New York, I ask that you find the defendant guilty,” prosecutor Joshua Steinglass told the jury at the end of closing arguments Tuesday night. “There is no special law for this defendant,” Steinglass told jurors in a fiery closing to summation of what he called “overwhelming” evidence in the more than four-hour case.

“Donald Trump can’t shoot someone on 5th Avenue during rush hour and get away with it,” he said, referring to the then-candidate’s infamous 2016 comment about his followers. The judge upheld the objection of Trump’s lawyer, who complained about this word.

The end of the summary paves the way for a jury to begin deliberating Wednesday on whether to convict Trump in the former president’s first criminal trial. He is charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records.

Trump attorney Todd Blanch spent much of his closing argument impugning the credibility of Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal attorney and a central witness in the case of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

Michael Cohen GLOAT does. He’s literally the biggest liar of all time,” Blanche told the jurors near the end of her closing remarks.

Steinglass pointed out that it is not Cohen who is on trial, but Trump, who Cohen worked with for ten years. “We didn’t pick Michael Cohen. We didn’t pick him up in the witness shop. Mr. Trump picked Mr. Cohen because of the same qualities that his lawyers are now urging you to reject,” Steinglass told the jury.

And he told the panel: “It’s hard to imagine a case with more validation.” He said the evidence showed that Trump, Cohen and National Enquirer publisher David Packer engaged in a “scheme” to corruptly conceal damaging information about Trump that “could have led to the election of Trump.”

Speaking before Steinglass, Blanche argued that prosecutors from Bragg’s office had not met the burden of proving Trump’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. falsifying business records Cohen’s hush money to an adult movie star Stormy Daniels In the last days of the 2016 presidential elections.

Steinglass acknowledged that Cohen, once loyal to Trump, now hates his former boss, but that’s because Trump fired him and allowed Daniels to pay off with federal prosecutors “so far the defendant has escaped justice . . .”

Blanche said: “President Trump is innocent. He did not commit any crime and the district attorney did not meet their burden of proof. Period.” He said the trial is “not a referendum on your opinion of President Trump” and “if you just focus on the evidence you’ve heard in this courtroom, it’s a very, very quick and easy not guilty verdict.”

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Former US President Donald Trump attended a court hearing in New York
Prosecutor Matthew Colangelo, left, speaks as former President Donald Trump, second right, along with his attorneys Todd Blanche, Emil Bove and Susan Necheles, during a hearing in state court March 15 in New York City.Jane Rosenberg / Reuters

Blanche said the money Trump paid Cohen It was for the Daniels payment, not for his legal work, as Trump’s company records show, prosecutors and Cohen argued. He noted that Trump was president when he signed the monthly checks for Cohen in 2017, and that the idea that he was involved in a “scheme” to hide the payments at the time was “absurd.”

Blanche said Cohen did “very minimal” legal work for Trump in 2017, but “Cohen lied to you.”

Blanch told jurors that Cohen served as the lead attorney defending a defamation lawsuit filed by Summer Zervos, a contestant on Trump’s former reality show, “The Apprentice.”

“The payments were compensation to him. Nothing else,” Blanche added, adding that there was no evidence beyond Cohen’s testimony that Trump knew about the $130,000 payment to Daniels in advance. “You can’t believe what he says,” Blanche said, adding that he “has lied under oath many, many times.”

“He’s literally like the MVP of liars,” Blanche said. “You can’t send someone to prison based on what Michael Cohen said,” he said. Juan Merchan Blanche said it was “extremely inappropriate” outside of the jury’s presence. Jurors are not allowed to consider criminal penalties.

“This is simply not allowed. Period. It’s hard for me to imagine how this is in any way coincidental,” Merchan said. When the jurors returned, Merchan told them to ignore Blanche’s comment. He noted that he will give the punishment himself, and if there is a conviction, the prison term is not necessarily required. Trump faces up to four years in prison.

In the end, Steinglass noted that Cohen testified that he did less than 10 hours of legal work for Trump in 2017: “Cohen did more cross-examination in this trial than he did legal work for Donald Trump in 2017.” .

He also noted that despite Blanche’s current controversy, Trump has previously acknowledged the money was compensation, including on social media. “Mr. Cohen, an attorney, is not from the campaign and has nothing to do with the campaign, has received compensation, a personal agreement between the two parties known as a non-disclosure agreement, or NDA. “, Trump tweeted in 2018.

Steinglass said, “Because the defendant repeatedly admitted that he knew the payments were reimbursement, that means he knew that the payment records disguising the payment as income were false.”

He also noted that Trump personally signed most of the $35,000 monthly checks to Cohen. “The defendant didn’t ask any questions because he already knew the answers,” she said.

Cohen testified that Trump refused to pay in October 2016 because his campaign was suspended over the release of the 2005 “Access Hollywood” tape, which was caught on a hot mic. consent. Blanche insisted that Trump was not too worried about the release of the tape, prompting top Republicans to denounce her comments and distance themselves from Trump, then the Republican nominee.

Blanche said it was “an extremely personal event for President Trump” because “nobody wants their family to go through this kind of thing,” but “it’s not a doomsday event.”

Painting a different portrait, Steinglass showed a video of Trump criticizing the women who had accused him of sexual assault during the same period in which the grand jury appeared. If Daniels had gone public with the allegation at the time, it “could have cost him the whole election, and he knew it,” he said.

“Stormy Daniels was a walking, talking reminder that the defendant was more than just words. She would have completely undermined his strategy to spin the ‘Access Hollywood’ tape,” he said.

Blanche said the deal ultimately worked out well for Daniels, whom she accused of trying to extort Trump. “He’s written a book and he has a podcast. And a documentary. It started as extortion — there’s no doubt about that — and financially it ended very well for Ms. Daniels,” he said.

He also claimed that there was no reason for the DA to call him as a witness other than to “try to embarrass President Trump” and “inflame your emotions.”

Steinglass said the prosecutor called her as a witness because “simply put, Stormi Daniels is the motive.”

Trump denied her claim that they had sex in 2006, which made it necessary for her to tell her story under oath, and her detailed account of that night “rang true,” Steinglass said. He also questioned why Trump’s lawyers spent so much time debunking his claims when his story was irrelevant.

“His story is mixed,” Steinglass said, “but that’s kind of the point. It’s an image that the defendant doesn’t want the American voter to see.”

“It is not a coincidence that the intercourse took place in 2006, but the result was less than two weeks before the 2016 election,” he said.

Blanche also spoke at a meeting in August 2015 and said Packer would help Trump and Cohen suppress negative stories about Trump and publish op-eds to discredit his opponents. Prosecutors described it as the beginning of a conspiracy to influence the 2016 election, but “every campaign is a conspiracy to promote a candidate,” Blanche said. “There was no criminal intent at the meeting in 2015.”

Steinglass noted that the Enquirer paid to kill two scandalous stories as a result of the meeting, in addition to notifying Cohen of Daniels’ plans to move forward. The newspaper’s publisher, AMI, spent $180,000 to suppress two stories — one about a janitor who claimed to have false information about Trump’s love child, and another about a former Playboy model who claimed to have had an affair with Trump for several months. He denied the accusation.

Steinglass called the payments “an illegal corporate campaign contribution by AMI” and was made in collusion with the candidate.

The Steinglass shutdown lasted more than four hours and went into the evening on Tuesday. No wonder he got a bad rap from Trump. “Don’t get bored!” he wrote on Truth Social during the post-5 break.

The jury will return at 10 a.m. Wednesday, when Merchan will give them his instructions on the law. Then, 12 ordinary New Yorkers will begin a debate on whether Trump is guilty or not. “You and you alone are the judge of the facts in this case” Merchan told them before arguments.

Trump is charged with falsifying business records, a low-level misdemeanor. He pleaded not guilty.

The trial, which featured testimony from Cohen, Daniels, Packer and former White House and Trump Organization staffers, began with jury selection on April 15. Witness statements, which began on April 22, ended last week. In total, the prosecution called 20 witnesses, and the defense called two. Although he said he would “absolutely” testify before the trial, Trump did not take the stand to defend himself.

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By 37ci3

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