Closing Arguments Set in Trump’s Historic Hush Money Trial

Prosecutors and defense attorneys in Donald Trump’s hush money trial are preparing to deliver their closing arguments to the jury on Tuesday. As reported by the Washington Post, This marks the final opportunity for both sides to influence the panel before it begins deliberating on the fate of the first former American president charged with felony crimes.

The closing arguments, expected to span the entire day, will offer each side one last chance to address the Manhattan jury. After over four weeks of testimony, the jury faces the momentous and unprecedented task of deciding whether to convict the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. The case revolves around payments made during the 2016 election to prevent a porn actor from publicizing her claims of a sexual encounter with Trump.

Prosecutors will argue that the jury has heard sufficient testimony to convict Trump on all charges. Meanwhile, the defense will seek to undermine the credibility of Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer and personal fixer. Cohen, who pleaded guilty to federal charges for his role in the hush money payments, served as the star witness for the prosecution.

Following the closing arguments, the judge will instruct the jury, likely on Wednesday, regarding the legal principles governing the case and the factors to consider during deliberations. These deliberations will be conducted in secret, though the jury’s questions to the judge may provide some insight into their thinking.

Trump faces 34 felony counts of falsifying business records, each punishable by up to four years in prison. He has pleaded not guilty and denied any wrongdoing. It remains unclear whether prosecutors would seek imprisonment upon conviction or if the judge would impose such a sentence. from AP News

The case centers on a $130,000 payment Cohen made to porn actor Stormy Daniels in the final days of the 2016 election to prevent her from going public with her story of a sexual encounter with Trump 10 years earlier. Trump has denied Daniels’ account, and his attorney accused her of fabricating the story during hours of questioning at the trial.

When Trump reimbursed Cohen, the payments were recorded as being for legal services. Prosecutors argue this was meant to conceal the true purpose of the transaction with Daniels and to illegally influence the 2016 election, in which Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Trump’s lawyers argue that the payments were legitimate and for actual legal services. They claim that Trump’s celebrity status, particularly during the campaign, made him a target for extortion, points they are expected to emphasize during their closing arguments on Tuesday.

The trial featured nearly two dozen witnesses, including Daniels, who described the alleged encounter with Trump in vivid detail; David Pecker, the former publisher of the National Enquirer, who testified about using his media enterprise to protect Trump by suppressing damaging stories; and Cohen, who testified that Trump was directly involved in the hush money discussions, quoting Trump as saying, “Just pay it.”

Prosecutors are expected to remind jurors of the bank statements, emails, and other documentary evidence presented during the trial, including an audio recording of Cohen and Trump discussing the deal involving former Playboy model Karen McDougal. According to Reuters

Defense attorneys, who called only two witnesses (neither of whom was Trump), focused on discrediting Cohen by highlighting his criminal history, past lies, and questionable recollections of key details.