Trump trial closing arguments to begin in New York hush money case

US News

Former President Donald Trump looks on before the start of trial at the Manhattan Criminal Court during trial in New York City May 20, 2024. 

Mark Peterson | Via Reuters

Closing arguments in the criminal hush money trial of Donald Trump are set to begin in New York on Tuesday, with jurors on track to begin deliberations in the historic case the following day.

Trump’s defense team will go first in arguing to jurors that they should find the former president not guilty of falsifying business records related to reimbursements paid to his then-lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen, for a $130,000 payout Cohen gave porn star Stormy Daniels shortly before the 2016 election.

A prosecutor from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office then will urge the 12-member jury to convict Trump of the 34 felony counts he faces related to the records, which labeled the Cohen reimbursements as legal expenses for work that prosecutors say never existed..

Trump is the first former U.S. president ever to be tried in a criminal case. If convicted, Trump faces a possible maximum sentence of four years in prison for each felony count.

He denies Daniels’ claim that the two had sex once in 2006, months after his wife Melania gave birth to their son, Barron. Cohen’s payment to Daniels kept her from telling that story to the media at a time when she could have damaged his chances of winning the 2016 White House contest.

In his opening statement in Manhattan Supreme Court, assistant D.A. Matthew Colangelo told jurors that the hush money payment to Daniels, and the reimbursements to Cohen, amounted to “election fraud. Pure and simple.”

Trump spent Memorial Day on social media complaining about the case, which is just one of four criminal cases he faces as he heads to a rematch in the November election against President Joe Biden.

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“Why can’t the defense go last?” Trump asked in a Truth Social post. In New York state courts, unlike many other U.S. criminal courts, defense attorneys give their closing arguments before prosecutors.

Trump also rhetorically asked his Truth Social followers “can you imagine” him facing closing arguments “on a FAKE & MADE UP CASE.”

“THERE IS NO CRIME OR CASE against President Trump, and if there was it should have been brought seven years ago, not in the middle of his Campaign for President,” he wrote.

This is developing news. Check back for updates.

Read original source here.

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