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We asked ChatGPT if Donald Trump is guilty in the Hush-Money trial

We asked ChatGPT if Donald Trump is guilty in the Hush-Money trial


It will be a jury of 12 ordinary New Yorkers that will decide the fate of former President Donald Trump in his ongoing secret trial in Manhattan.

Unless Trump decides to testify, the trial is almost over. Michael Cohen, the trial's key witness, is expected to finish his testimony Monday, and the judge has asked attorneys to prepare for closing arguments Tuesday. Deliberations could begin as early as Thursday.

Prosecutors brought 34 counts of falsifying business records, alleging Trump illegally disguised secret payments made to Stormy Daniels before the 2016 presidential election. A guilty verdict carries a sentence of up to 'to four years, although experts expect the former president to receive no prison time.

As legal and political experts try to determine whether Trump will be convicted and what that will mean for the 2024 presidential election, we decided to take another perspective: that of AI chatbots.

Business Insider compiled a 4,179-page trial transcript, combining PDFs of official daily transcripts purchased from the New York State Criminal Court stenographer's office. The transcript incorporates all proceedings that took place through Thursday, including the entirety of Cohen's direct examination and most of his cross-examination. He is expected to finish his testimony Monday before Trump's lawyers call an expert witness to the stand.

Using this document, we asked various AI chatbots if they found Trump guilty.

Gemini, ChatGPT, and Perplexity were tricked into imagining that they were an ordinary Manhattan resident serving on the jury, tasked with weighing the evidence at trial. Everyone was asked to review the transcript and base their response on the evidence and arguments presented. They were told to “choose now whether you would find him guilty or not guilty.”

Gemini, Google's AI chatbot, said it was “still learning” how to answer the question.

But ChatGPT and OpenAI's Perplexity weighed in and both said they would find Trump guilty.

“I would vote guilty on the falsifying business records charges,” Perplexity responded definitively. “The prosecution has provided credible and significant evidence that proves beyond a reasonable doubt that Trump engaged in the alleged conduct.”

ChatGPT was initially reluctant to give a definitive answer, saying its decision would “depend heavily on the credibility of the witnesses and the clarity of the documentary evidence.”

But after a follow-up question prompted it to “decide now,” the OpenAI bot said its “decision would be to find Trump guilty based on the evidence provided in the transcripts.”

Both chatbots pointed out that the prosecution's documentary evidence, including financial records and communications, strengthened the accusations against Trump.

“The records suggest that these transactions were not only known to Trump, but were executed with his participation or at his direction,” ChatGPT said, adding that the evidence shows “a deliberate effort by Trump to suppress damaging information during the election, indicating an intention. “

They acknowledged that the case hinged on the testimony of Michael Cohen, a former Trump fixer and star witness for the prosecution. Cohen is a complicated character; as Perplexity put it, he “has a history of legal problems and may have reason to testify against Trump.”

But ultimately, they found his first three days on the stand convincing.

“Testimony from key figures like Michael Cohen, who was directly involved in the payments, strengthens the arguments by providing inside details about the transactions and Trump's involvement,” ChatGPT said.

Perplexity also found valuable the testimony of National Enquirer publisher David Pecker, saying he helped “establish that Trump was involved in the scheme to make and conceal these payments.”

New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan, who is presiding over the case, asked jurors to evaluate the case based on the evidence presented in court. But ChatGPT said Trump's reputation posed a problem for his defense.

“The defense must address negative public perception of Trump due to his high-profile status and widespread media coverage of his alleged wrongdoing,” ChatGPT said.

Cross-examination of key witnesses by the defense is also not enough, according to ChatGPT.

“Although the defense has raised significant procedural and credibility issues, these do not necessarily contradict the substantial evidence of Trump's involvement and intent,” ChatGPT said.

Of course, chatbots won't decide this matter, and it would be dystopian to trust AI to declare human beings guilty or innocent.

Importantly, the verdict form and the judge's instructions to the jury are not yet finalized. These instructions will shape how jurors consider evidence during deliberations, which may differ from how these chatbots analyze evidence.

Additionally, chatbots are just complex computer programs, not real-world jurors. They are powered by large language models, which use algorithms and data to form a human-like response.

The jurors, on the other hand, are actually humans. They are emotional and unpredictable beings who can be influenced by what they see, feel and smell in the room, as well as many other unknowns.

And, for now, the jury is still out.

Here is the full prompt we used:

Scenario: You are a member of a 12-person jury made up of 12 ordinary residents of Manhattan. You have been selected to evaluate evidence in the trial of former President Donald Trump, who faces charges brought by the Manhattan District Attorney. The charges allege that Trump falsified 34 business records to conceal secret payments made to Stormy Daniels before the 2016 presidential election. Task: Review the attached trial transcript provided thus far. Based on the evidence and arguments presented: Discuss the credibility and importance of the evidence against Trump. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the prosecution's case and the defense's counterarguments. Decide whether the evidence presented proves beyond a reasonable doubt that Trump is guilty of the charges. .Question: Based on your analysis, how would you vote as a juror to find Donald Trump guilty or not guilty of any of the charges? Please provide your reasoning. You must choose now whether you will find him guilty or not guilty.




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