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Donald Trump's Historic Hush Money Trial Ends, Verdict Soon

Donald Trump's Historic Hush Money Trial Ends, Verdict Soon

 



New York:

Donald Trump's historic trial enters its final act Tuesday, with closing arguments before the jury who will then decide whether to hand down the first-ever criminal conviction of a former U.S. president. Less than six months until American voters choose to reappoint Trump. For the White House, the stakes surrounding the verdict are difficult to overestimate – for the 77-year-old personally, but also for the country as a whole.

Trump is accused of falsifying business records to buy porn star Stormy Daniels' silence about a sexual relationship between them in 2006 that could have harmed his 2016 presidential bid.

If convicted, he faces up to four years in prison on each of the 34 charges, but legal experts say that as a first-time offender he is unlikely to receive a prison sentence. prison sentence.

Importantly, a conviction would not prevent Trump from appearing on the November ballot as the Republican challenger to Democrat Joe Biden.

It took nearly five weeks, the testimony of more than 20 witnesses and some fireworks in the courtroom to get to closing arguments – the last chance for the prosecution and defense to make their case to the anonymous jury of 12 members.

As expected, Trump chose not to testify in his defense — a decision that would have exposed him to unnecessary legal risk and forensic cross-examination.

For a man who has always prided himself on being in charge and in charge, the role of silent and passive accused has not been easy.

At times it has been downright excruciating, particularly when Trump was forced to sit and listen as Daniels recounted their alleged encounter in sometimes graphic detail.

Speaking to reporters before and after each day in court, Trump launched regular tirades against Judge Juan Merchan – calling him “corrupt” and a “tyrant” – and condemned the entire trial as “election interference » from Democrats determined to remove him. the campaign route.

The political aspects of the case were on full display in the final days when a coterie of Republican leaders – including several vice-presidential candidates – came to court and stood with Trump in a gesture of support as he spoke to the press.

In total, he was cited 10 times for contempt of court and fined $10,000 by Merchan for failing to comply with a silence order prohibiting him from publicly attacking witnesses, the jury, court personnel or their relatives.

The judge said he expects closing arguments to take up all day Tuesday.

He will then give his final instructions to the jury, which will likely begin its deliberations on Wednesday.

To render a verdict of guilty or not guilty, unanimity is required. A single refusal means a hung jury and a mistrial.

Other cases

Besides Daniels, the prosecution's main witness was Michael Cohen, the former Trump “fixer” turned bitter enemy who arranged the secret $130,000 payment.

Explaining to jurors the reasoning behind the payments, Cohen said they were made “to ensure that the story would not come out and affect Mr. Trump's chances of becoming president of the United States.”

Trump's defense team spent most of its questioning trying to discredit Cohen, recalling that he had admitted to lying to Congress and spending time in prison for tax fraud.

The defense called only two witnesses before resting.

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

He also faces charges in Florida for allegedly mishandling classified documents after leaving the White House.

None of these trials are expected to take place before the November election.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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