The jury in the criminal trial against Trump concludes its first day of deliberations

The jury in the criminal trial against Trump concludes its first day of deliberations
The jury in the criminal trial against Trump concludes its first day of deliberations

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May 30, 2024 – 03:13

The members of the jury in the trial against Donald Trump for alleged falsification of accounting documents ended this Wednesday their initial day of deliberation on an eventual first criminal conviction of a former United States president, a decision that could also shake up the November presidential elections.

The 12 New York jurors met for nearly five hours before the judge sent them home for the night, to resume Thursday.

The jurors – whose identities have been kept anonymous for security reasons – worked in a separate room, leaving Trump, 77, and the rest of the court to await any developments.

Before adjourning, the jury asked to re-examine the testimony of two witnesses and hear again the court’s instructions on how to interpret the law.

After weeks of statements from more than 20 witnesses, the gaze of justice is now directed entirely at these dozen ordinary New Yorkers.

“You must put aside any personal opinion you have for or against the accused,” the investigating judge of the case, Juan Merchan, told them before the start of deliberations.

“As a juror, you are being asked to make a very important decision about another member of this community,” he added.

There is no time limit on deliberations, but an acquittal or conviction requires unanimity. If a single juror refuses to join the others, the judge would have to declare a mistrial.

Trump, the 45th president of the United States (2017-2021), is accused of falsifying accounting documents for his empire, the Trump Organization, to hide a payment of $130,000 to former porn actress Stormy Daniels to avoid a sex scandal at the end of his term. 2016 presidential campaign.

If Trump is found guilty, the political repercussions would far outweigh the seriousness of the charges, as, just five months before the presidential election, the candidate would also become a convicted criminal.

The judge also instructed Trump to remain in court while awaiting the verdict. Trump reacted by leaving the room and giving an angry statement to reporters, to whom he told that it was a “very embarrassing situation.”

“These charges are rigged,” Trump said. “Not even Mother Teresa could defeat these charges,” he added.

– “Strong evidence” –

In a full day of closing arguments Tuesday, Trump’s defense team insisted that the evidence for a conviction simply does not exist, while prosecutors countered that it is “voluminous” and “unavoidable.”

Prosecutor Joshua Steinglass presented the prosecution’s closing arguments after the former president’s defense insisted on his innocence and said the case is based on lies.

Steinglass asked the jury to use their “common sense” and “disconnect from the noise and ignore distractions.”

“If they have done so, they will see that strong evidence of the defendant’s guilt has been presented,” the prosecutor said.

If found guilty, the Republican leader faces up to four years in prison for each of the 34 charges, but legal experts assure that since he does not have a criminal record, it is unlikely that he will be transferred to prison.

A conviction would not prevent him from running in the November election and he would almost certainly appeal. In the event of a mistrial, prosecutors could request a new trial.

– “Mountain of evidence” –

Steinglass spoke to jurors after Trump’s lawyer, Todd Blanche, told them that the trial “is not a referendum on your ideas about Trump” or “on who you plan to vote for in 2024.”

According to Blanche, the prosecution was unable to prove its accusations, and the only result should be “a simple and quick verdict of not guilty.”

Blanche dedicated a good part of her speech to attacking Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer and former confidant, who today became his main accuser.

Steinglass responded that there was “a mountain of evidence” corroborating the former president’s guilt, in addition to Cohen’s testimony.

Trump, who had to appear at all the hearings, decided not to testify in his defense.

Instead, he used his trips to court to claim that the trial is a Democratic ploy to keep him away from the election campaign.

In addition to the New York case, Trump has been accused in Washington and Georgia of conspiring to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

Of the four trials facing the Republican billionaire, this trial takes on even more importance because it will likely be the only one that occurs before the election.

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