Trump trial jury resumes deliberations after rehearing instructions and evidence

30 May 2024, 17:14

Former US president Donald Trump arrives at Manhattan Criminal Court during jury deliberations in his criminal hush money trial in New York
Trump Hush Money. Picture: PA

The 12-person jury deliberated for about four-and-a-half hours on Wednesday without reaching a verdict on the charges against Donald Trump.

The jury in former US president Donald Trump’s hush money trial has resumed deliberations after revisiting portions of the judge’s instructions and rehearing evidence from multiple key witnesses about the alleged scheme at the heart of the history-making case.

The judge responded to a jury request by rereading 30 pages of jury instructions related to how inferences may be drawn from evidence.

The 12-person jury, which deliberated for about four-and-a-half hours on Wednesday without reaching a verdict, also reheard evidence on Thursday morning from a tabloid publisher and Trump’s former lawyer and personal fixer.

Former US president Donald Trump appears in Manhattan Criminal Court in New York
Ex-president Donald Trump at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York (Seth Wenig, Pool/AP)

It is unclear how long the deliberations will last.

A guilty verdict would deliver a stunning legal reckoning for the presumptive Republican presidential nominee as he seeks to reclaim the White House while an acquittal would represent a major win for him and embolden him on the campaign trail.

Since verdicts must be unanimous, it is also possible the case ends in a mistrial if the jury cannot reach a consensus.

In a memo on Wednesday evening, Trump campaign senior advisers Chris LaCivita and Susie Wiles condemned the proceedings as a “kangaroo court” and argued the case would not matter in November.

“The bottom line is this case doesn’t have an impact on voters,” they wrote.

Trump, who on Wednesday appeared to be priming supporters for the possibility of a guilty verdict by saying that “Mother Teresa couldn’t bear these charges”, struck a pessimistic tone again on Thursday.

Former US president Donald Trump speaks to the media as he arrives at Manhattan Criminal Court during jury deliberations in his criminal hush money trial in New York
Donald Trump speaks to the media as he arrives at Manhattan Criminal Court during jury deliberations in his criminal hush money trial (Michael M Santiago/Pool Photo via AP)

“It’s all rigged. The whole thing, the whole system is rigged,” he said.

It is the same language Trump used to try to inoculate himself against losses in the 2020 presidential election and Iowa’s 2016 Republican primary.

He continued to rail against the case on his social media network from a room in the courthouse, writing in capital letters: “I did nothing wrong! In fact, I did everything right!”

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 presidential election campaign.

The charge, a felony, arises from reimbursements paid to then-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen after he made a 130,000 dollar (£102,000) hush money payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels to silence her claims that she and Trump had sex in 2006.

Trump is accused of misrepresenting Mr 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.

Former US president Donald Trump appears at Manhattan Criminal Court during jury deliberations in his criminal hush money trial in New York
Donald Trump at Manhattan Criminal Court (Michael M Santiago/Pool Photo via AP)

He has also denied the alleged extramarital sexual encounter with Ms Daniels.

To convict Trump, the jury would have to find unanimously that he created a fraudulent entry in his company’s records or caused someone else to do so and that he acted with the intent of committing or concealing another crime.

The crime prosecutors say Trump committed or hid is a violation of a New York election law making it illegal for two or more conspirators “to promote or prevent the election of any person to a public office by unlawful means”.

While the jurors must unanimously agree that something unlawful was done to promote Trump’s election campaign, they do not have to be unanimous on what that unlawful thing was.

The jurors – a diverse cross-section of Manhattan residents and professional backgrounds – often appeared riveted by evidence in the trial, including from Mr Cohen and Ms Daniels.

Donald Trump walks out of the courtroom as the jury in his criminal trial continues to deliberate at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York
Donald Trump walks out of the courtroom as the jury in his criminal trial continues to deliberate at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York (Justin Lane/Pool Photo via AP)

Many took notes and watched intently as witnesses answered questions from prosecutors and Trump’s lawyers.

Jurors started deliberating after a marathon day of closing arguments in which a prosecutor spoke for more than five hours, underscoring the burden the district attorney’s office faces in needing to establish Trump’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The Trump team need not establish his innocence to avoid a conviction but must instead bank on at least one juror finding that prosecutors have not sufficiently proved their case.

By Press Association

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