Jury deliberations begin in Donald Trump’s hush money criminal case
Image via AP.

Donald Trump court
To convict Trump, jurors must find beyond a reasonable doubt that he falsified or caused business records to be entered falsely and did so with the intent to deceive and the intent to commit or conceal another crime.

Jury deliberations began Wednesday in Donald Trump’s hush money trial, putting the outcome of the historic case in the hands of a dozen New Yorkers who have vowed to be fair and impartial in the face of their unprecedented task.

The jury of seven men and five women was sent to a private room just before 11:30 a.m. to begin weighing a verdict in the first criminal trial of a former U.S. President. The jurors’ discussions will be secret, though they can send notes to the Judge asking to rehear testimony or see evidence. That’s also how they will notify the court of a verdict, or if they are unable to reach one.

“It is not my responsibility to judge the evidence here. It is yours,” Judge Juan M. Merchan told jurors.

Trump is charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records at his company in connection with an alleged scheme to hide potentially embarrassing stories about him during his 2016 Republican Presidential Election campaign.

The charge, a felony, arises from reimbursements paid to then-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen after he made a $130,000 hush money payment to porn actor Stormy Daniels to silence her claims of an extramarital sexual encounter with Trump in 2006. Trump is accused of misrepresenting Cohen’s reimbursements as legal expenses to hide that they were tied to a hush money payment.

Trump has pleaded not guilty and contends the Cohen payments were for legitimate legal services.

To convict Trump, jurors must find beyond a reasonable doubt that he falsified or caused business records to be entered falsely and did so with the intent to deceive and the intent to commit or conceal another crime.

Under the law, if they do not find that prosecutors have proven one or both of those elements, they must acquit Trump. Prosecutors allege Trump falsified business records to hide breaches of campaign finance law and a violation of a state election law alleging a conspiracy to promote or prevent an election.

Just hours before the start of deliberations, Trump posted another all-caps rant about the trial, the Judge and Cohen on his social media network before leaving Trump Tower for the courthouse Wednesday morning.

He called it a “Kangaroo Court!” and falsely claimed that the Judge barred him from defending himself by claiming that his alleged actions were taken on the advice of his then-lawyer, Cohen. Trump’s lawyers in March notified the court that they would not rely on that defense.

“There was no crime, except for the bum that got caught stealing from me!” Trump said, apparently referring to Cohen. He added, again in all capital letters, “In God We Trust!”

The jurors — a diverse cross-section of Manhattan residents and professional backgrounds — often appeared riveted by testimony in the trial, including from Cohen and Daniels. Many took notes and watched intently as witnesses answered questions from Manhattan prosecutors and Trump’s lawyers.

Jurors started deliberating after hearing final pitches from the prosecution and defense in the form of closing arguments and after getting instructed in the law by the Merchan, who offered some guidance on factors the panel can use to assess witness testimony, including its plausibility, its consistency with other testimony, the witness’ manner on the stand, and whether the person has a motive to lie.

But, the Judge said, “there is no particular formula for evaluating the truthfulness and accuracy of another person’s statement.”

The principles he outlined are standard but perhaps all the more relevant after Trump’s defense leaned heavily on questioning the credibility of key prosecution witnesses, including Cohen.

Any verdict must be unanimous. During deliberations, six alternate jurors who also sat through every minute of the trial will be kept at the courthouse in a separate room in case they are needed to replace a juror who falls ill or is otherwise unavailable. If that happens, deliberations will start anew once the replacement juror is in place.

Associated Press


  • Ocean Joe

    May 29, 2024 at 12:26 pm

    If it goes south, hope somebody will keep Mr. Deniro away from the window.

    • Dont Say FLA

      May 29, 2024 at 12:56 pm

      Dinero is just an actor. He is not the mob characters he is famous for having played.

      Mr Dinero would not really defenestrate Defelonious Javina Trump.

      Plenty of his characters would, but the actor himself likely would not.

      Ironically, Trump is a lot like the mob characters acted by Dinero. Trump would absolutely shove Dinero out the window. I mean how else do possibly you bankrupt a casino but shoveling dinero out the window? Where did it all go?

      Wherever Trump Casino’s dinero all went, how much US Treasury gold went there too? And how much more to follow if Trump gets back into elected power?

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  • Dont Say FLA

    May 29, 2024 at 12:51 pm

    Twelve jurors? Why so many? Isn’t Trump officially a Floridian? He should only get six jurors. Right, Rhonda? Right, Assley?

    Why are they wasting an additional six people’s time and risking their lives (thanks to MAGAs when all the jurors are doing is their civic duty as required by law)

    People in NYC got shit to do. They should have 6 jurors. Most folks in Florida retired. Might as well have 24 jurors on Florida juries. It’s not like the amount of jury duty pay is a problem even if quadrupled, and the elderlies would be delighted to get out the house for a spell. They might even volunteer for jury duty just to get away from that darned partner of theirs, always mucking up the day for them.

  • Balls

    May 29, 2024 at 1:17 pm

    The orange you glad I didn’t say banana republic guy is whining that even Mother Teresa couldn’t beat this rap.

    He’s probably right. The evidence of Trump’s felonious malfeasance is overwhelming times 34. If it were Mother Teresa in the defendant’s seat, even she would likely be found guilty.

    But Mother Teresa’s saving grace was that Mother Teresa wouldn’t have to beat this rap. She wouldn’t have did the things Trump’s awaiting his 34 verdicts for allegedly doing.

    34 charges. That’s gonna take four days at one hour per charge. Hopefully there’s really just one offense but repeated 34 times so this can be adjudicated by EOD today.

  • Michael K

    May 29, 2024 at 5:17 pm

    If his cult followers believe that Trump has anything remotely in common with Mother Theresa, our nation is doomed.

    • Dont Say FLA

      May 30, 2024 at 11:10 am

      The Donaldzzzzz must not realize his “Mother Teresa couldn’t beat this rap” statement is a tantamount to a confession.

      Let’s hope the nuttiest MAGA people do realize that was a confession and behave themselves if this jury makes it rain with finding the defendant guilty as charged

  • Starryeyed

    May 29, 2024 at 9:25 pm

    39 counts is outshining mugshot 2 bits trying to make a buck..
    Donald if convicted will appeal then get released we hear through the grape vine.

  • Starryeyed

    May 29, 2024 at 9:26 pm

    They smile in your face all the time want to take your place…..
    Like smiling faces smiling faces some times

Comments are closed.


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