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The jury has the case in Trump hush money trial

This article first appeared on the Magnolia Tribune.

Donald Trump in Manhattan court for arraignment.

Former President Donald Trump sits at the defense table with his legal team in a Manhattan court, Tuesday, April 4, 2023, in New York. Trump is appearing in court on charges related to falsifying business records in a hush money investigation, the first president ever to be charged with a crime. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, Pool)

  • Day two of deliberations start Thursday morning.

Jury deliberations began Wednesday in the New York hush money trial of former President Donald Trump. Judge Juan Merchan delivered instructions to the 12-member jury on the laws at play and how the jury should consider the evidence offered during the 4-week trial.

Judge Merchan told jurors to set aside personal feelings. He reminded them that “the defendant is not required to prove that he is not guilty” and that it was the prosecution’s duty to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The case stems from 34 counts brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg against Trump relating to the alleged falsifying of business records in a hush money payment scheme carried out by former Trump attorney Michael Cohen. The payment is said to have been intended to keep adult film star Stormy Daniels quiet in the lead up to the 2016 election over an alleged affair she had with Trump. The charges would normally have been misdemeanor, but Bragg raised them to felonies on the theory that the falsified records served as part of a larger election interference scheme.

Trump has maintained his innocence throughout the trial, saying the charges are a way to keep him off of the campaign trail while running for the White House this year. He’s repeatedly said the trial was rigged.

“Mother Teresa could not beat these charges. The charges are rigged. The whole thing is rigged,” Trump said outside of the courthouse Wednesday.

The former President’s attorney, Todd Blanche, told jurors during his closing arguments this week, “President Trump is innocent. He did not commit any crimes, and the district attorney has not met their burden of proof. Period.” 

The New York trial began on April 15th. Both Cohen and Daniels took the stand to testify during the proceedings, along with other witnesses called by the prosecution and defense. Trump, however, did not testify.

Nearly four hours after deliberations began, the jury sent a note to the courtroom seeking portions of testimony given by Cohen and David Pecker, the former publisher of the National Enquirer. The three men allegedly met at Trump Tower and agreed to “catch and kill” negative stories about the former President during the 2016 campaign. Soon thereafter, the jury requested the judge’s instructions be sent in.

Day two of deliberations begin Thursday morning.

This article first appeared on the Magnolia Tribune and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

Read original article by clicking here.

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