Defense rests without Donald Trump taking the witness stand in his New York hush money trial
Image via AP.

Donald Trump court
Trump once again floated a desire to testify before ultimately declining to do so. Jury deliberations are expected to begin next week.

Donald Trump’s lawyers rested their defense Tuesday without the former President taking the witness stand in his New York hush money criminal trial, moving the case closer to the moment the jury will begin deciding his fate.

“Your honor, the defense rests,” Trump lawyer Todd Blanche told the Judge following testimony from a former federal prosecutor who had been called to attack the credibility of the prosecution’s key witness.

The jury was sent home for a week, until May 28, when closing arguments are expected, but the attorneys planned to return later Tuesday to discuss how the Judge will instruct jurors on deliberations. Trump, the first former American President to be tried criminally, did not stop to speak as he left the courthouse and ignored a question about why he did not testify. He previously said he wanted to take the witness stand to defend himself against what he claims are politically motivated charges.

As he left a news conference with supporters of the former President outside the courthouse, Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. defended his father’s decision not to testify.

“There’d be absolutely no reason, no justification to do that whatsoever. Everyone sees it for the sham that it is,” the younger Trump said.

After more than four weeks of testimony, jurors could begin deliberating as soon as next week to decide whether the former President is guilty of 34 felony counts of falsifying business records.

After the defense rested, Judge Juan M. Merchan told jurors the court session could run late next Tuesday to accommodate both prosecution and defense closing arguments — the last time the jury will hear from either side. Merchan told jurors he expects his instructions on deliberations will take about an hour, after which they can begin discussing the case, possibly as early as next Wednesday, May 29. Until now, they have been told not to discuss the case with anyone outside court or among themselves.

Merchan noted that closing arguments would normally follow immediately after the defense rested, but he expects them in this case to take at least a day and, given the impending Memorial Day holiday, “there’s no way to do all that’s needed” before then.

“I’ll see you in a week,” Merchan said.

Prosecutors have accused Trump of a scheme to bury negative stories to fend off damage to his 2016 presidential campaign against Democrat Hillary Clinton and then falsifying internal business records to cover it up. Trump has pleaded not guilty and denied any wrongdoing in the case.

The charges stem from internal Trump Organization records in which payments to Trump fixer-turned-foe Michael Cohen were marked as legal expenses. Prosecutors say they were really reimbursements for a $130,000 hush money payment to porn actor Stormy Daniels to keep her from going public before the 2016 election with claims of a sexual encounter with Trump. Trump says nothing sexual happened between them.

“They have no case,” Trump said Tuesday morning before court adjourned. “There’s no crime.”

The final witness was Robert Costello, called in an effort to undermine the credibility of Cohen, who has placed Trump at the center of the effort to bury potentially damaging stories.

Prosecutor Susan Hoffinger showed Costello an August 2018 email in which Cohen told him and one of his partners to stop contacting him because “you do not and never have represented me” and another lawyer did. Asked whether he was upset that Cohen hadn’t paid him, Costello said he was — and volunteered that he had replied to the message in an email that prosecutors didn’t show.

Prosecutors have said that they want to show that Costello was part of a pressure campaign to keep Cohen in Trump’s corner once the then-attorney came under federal investigation. On that theme, Hoffinger asked Costello about a 2018 email in which he assured Cohen that he was “loved” by Trump’s camp, “they are in our corner” and “you have friends in high places.”

Asked who those “friends in high places” were, Costello said he was talking about Trump, then the President.

Costello bristled as he insisted he did not feel animosity toward Cohen and did not try to intimidate him. “Ridiculous. No,” he said to the latter.

Trump’s attorneys had hoped he would cast doubt on Cohen’s testimony. The two had a professional relationship that splintered in spectacular fashion. Costello had offered to represent Cohen soon after the lawyer’s hotel room, office and home were raided and as Cohen faced a decision about whether to remain defiant in the face of a criminal investigation or to cooperate with authorities in hopes of securing more lenient treatment.

Costello has repeatedly maligned Cohen’s credibility and was even a witness before last year’s grand jury that indicted Trump, offering testimony designed to undermine Cohen’s account. In a Fox News Channel interview last week, Costello accused Cohen of lying to the jury and using the case to “monetize” himself.

Costello contradicted Cohen’s testimony describing Trump as intimately involved in all aspects of the hush money scheme. Costello told jurors Monday that Cohen told him Trump “knew nothing” about the hush money payment to Daniels.

“Michael Cohen said numerous times that President Trump knew nothing about those payments, that he did this on his own, and he repeated that numerous times,” Costello testified.

Cohen, however, testified earlier Monday that he had “no doubt” that Trump gave him a final sign-off to make the payments to Daniels. In total, he said he spoke with Trump more than 20 times about the matter in October 2016.

After jurors left for the day Monday, defense attorneys pressed the Judge to throw out the charges before jurors even begin deliberating, arguing prosecutors have failed to prove their case. The defense has suggested that Trump was trying to protect his family, not his campaign, by squelching what he says were false, scurrilous claims.

Blanche argued that there was nothing illegal about soliciting a tabloid’s help to run positive stories about Trump, run negative stories about his opponents and identify potentially damaging stories before they were published. No one involved “had any criminal intent,” Blanche said.

“How is keeping a false story from the voters criminal?” Blanche asked.

Prosecutor Matthew Colangelo shot back that “the trial evidence overwhelmingly supports each element” of the alleged offenses and said the case should proceed to the jury.

The Judge did not immediately rule on the defense’s request. Such long shot requests are often made in criminal cases but are rarely granted.


Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

Associated Press


  • Impeach Biden

    May 21, 2024 at 12:17 pm

    Hopefully this kangaroo court is coming to an end. Maybe that Alvin Bragg goofball will finally go after the violent criminals that roam Manhattan.

    • KellyAnn

      May 21, 2024 at 1:16 pm

      US Dollar 2,000 in a Single Online Day Due to its position, the United States va02 offers a plethora of opportunities for those seeking employment. With so many options accessible, it might be difficult to know where to start. You may choose the ideal online housekeeping strategy with the tr-20 help of this post.

      Begin here>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Payathome9.Com

      • Ocean Joe

        May 21, 2024 at 3:05 pm

        Stormy made 65 times that much in 10 minutes, although she probably had to hang with him for another 20.

        • Dont Say FLA

          May 22, 2024 at 1:05 pm

          10 minutes? That is Gettysburg reenacted right there. WOW.

          10 minutes is super impressive for a Conservative type. You know, the types who uses religious nonsense and/or money to (feel as if they) control their women.

          OH, wait. I forgot how old Donaldzzzz is. That was 9 minutes 30 seconds of her twins trying to activate wonder twin powers, “form of … mushroom” and then 30 seconds until termination via germination.

          Then 20 min of trying to roll him off of her and back into the ocean.

    • rick whitaker

      May 21, 2024 at 2:02 pm

      16 YEAR OLD GIRL, the only kangaroo in the courtroom was a fat orange kangaroo.

      • Impeach Biden

        May 21, 2024 at 2:57 pm

        Pee Wee Whitaker is a pedophile. Hiding in remote Tennessee with a computer full of porn. A true creep.

        • rick whitaker

          May 21, 2024 at 6:22 pm

          18YEAR OLD GIRL, making statements like that, that are obviously a child lashing out, can backfire on you. you accuse me of all kinds of weird stuff. could you be projecting? i am old and don’t do porn, so maybe it is you, you are self snitching on. shame on you. you called me a slumlord, i’m not. you said i drank moonshine, i don’t drink any alcohol. you said i have porn on my computer, i don’t. you see the pattern, now do you see why i think you are so young? act your age, whatever it is.

          • Dont Say FLA

            May 22, 2024 at 1:07 pm

            GET A ROOM, YOU TWO

  • Lying eyes

    May 21, 2024 at 12:34 pm

    Oh My. Trump PROMISED to take the stand. WHAT HAPPENED???? Too many lies to keep up with. Too Much evidence. A liar just can’t do it. He has no truth.

    • Impeach Biden

      May 21, 2024 at 12:45 pm

      Maybe there was no need to as the star witness proved to be not credible to the prosecution.

      • Tom

        May 21, 2024 at 3:53 pm

        Not for nothing but the case is pretty cut and dried – it’s a documents fraud case. The sideshow was entertaining though and I now have more respect for stormy daniels than I do for cohen. I can see why trump and cohen were so close – they’re both lying scumbags.

        • rick whitaker

          May 21, 2024 at 5:46 pm

          TOM, i’ve noticed that anyone that deals with trump gets the trump virus. profuse lying is one of the symptoms. good luck maga christians, you need it. there is no vaccine for trump virus.

      • Dont Say FLA

        May 23, 2024 at 1:46 pm

        Trump feels no need to follow through on promises made because his voters have proven they have no expectations of him following through and do not care that he does not deliver on promises made. Locker Up, Build the Wall, and every other promise the man ever made unless the promise was to help himself.

        • rick whitaker

          May 23, 2024 at 2:04 pm

          DSF, as strange as it may sound, maga prefers lies over truth. lies are malleable and can be changed as needed, but that pesky truth stays the same no matter how much maga wants to change it to fit their needs.

    • Dont Say FLA

      May 22, 2024 at 1:08 pm

      Trump’s high powered, high dollar, crowd funded teams of attorneys convinced him is was in fact NOT a good idea to take the stand and throw paper towel rolls at the jury.

  • My Take

    May 21, 2024 at 1:29 pm

    Cowardly Trump.
    How many lies and how many “freezes” have we missed?

    • Impeach Biden

      May 21, 2024 at 1:44 pm

      Joe Biden is the coward. Do any world leaders fear him? Does
      Any illegal fear the Southern Bordwr? Truly the most inept President in a lifetime. His sidekick isn’t much better.

      • Ocean Joe

        May 21, 2024 at 3:08 pm

        We know Mr. Raisi and his foreign minister don’t fear anybody anymore. The folks on the southern border arent scared, they’re are all waiting for their free Florida taxpayer funded trip to Martha’s Vineyard. And are you finally giving Kamala some credit?

      • rick whitaker

        May 21, 2024 at 3:17 pm

        16 YEAR OLD GIRL, does your mother know you are badmouthing good people?

        • Impeach Biden

          May 21, 2024 at 4:28 pm

          You wish I was a 16 year old female you pervert.

          • rick whitaker

            May 21, 2024 at 5:18 pm

            18 YEAR OLD GIRL, i try not to wish anything, i just do it. anyway you have no idea what i think or how to interpret it, so you make it up. ok, ok, i’ll bump you up to 18. does that make you feel better.

      • Dont Say FLA

        May 22, 2024 at 1:12 pm

        Whatabout a relevant response that enumerates the many actions taken by Trump that have proven himself to be something other than a coward?

        Oh right, there are no actions like that. Therefore respond with a whatabout to derail people from the point.

        Every “whatabout” comment confirms allegations about G0Ps to be indefensible. Otherwise, comments would contain defenses

  • Blog

    May 22, 2024 at 10:48 pm

    Yes people don’t know the quote kangaroo behavior courts and probations..
    So don the chosen one says he was blinded by his associates doings .he is Innocent 😇

  • Dont Say FLA

    May 23, 2024 at 8:40 am

    Was a little busy and missed the news of the Donaldzzzzzzz’s attorneys scoring a huge own-goal to close the trial. LOL.

    People are saying Trumpzzzz lawyers did it on purpose because they know he can’t be trusted with one iota of power.

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704