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Highlights from closing arguments : NPR



Highlights from closing arguments : NPR

Former President Donald Trump leaves Manhattan Prison Courtroom on the finish of the day’s proceedings throughout his felony trial for allegedly masking up hush cash funds in New York Metropolis on Tuesday.

Charly Triballeau/AFP through Getty Pictures

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Charly Triballeau/AFP through Getty Pictures

NEW YORK — Legal professionals gave their last arguments Tuesday of their effort to convict or acquit former President Donald Trump of 34 felony counts of falsified enterprise information because the historic trial pushes nearer to an finish.

A 12-person jury, which has listened to 22 witnesses and over six hours of arguments, is ready to start deliberating Wednesday. It may very well be hours or days or even weeks earlier than they’ve a call. A unanimous jury is required to both convict or acquit Trump.

Trump, who has pleaded not responsible, often referred to as the trial “election interference” for stopping him from campaigning for president, falsely claiming a partisan conspiracy towards him.

On Tuesday, Trump was joined in court docket by extra relations than normal. Youngsters Donald Jr., Eric and Tiffany had been current within the courtroom, in addition to son-in-law Michael Boulos and daughter-in-law and RNC co-chair Lara Trump.

As Trump Lawyer Todd Blanche was starting his closing arguments, the Biden-Harris marketing campaign held an occasion outdoors the courthouse in Manhattan that includes actor Robert DeNiro and U.S. Capitol law enforcement officials Harry Dunn and Michael Fanone.

Prosecutors allege that Trump knew a couple of settlement negotiation with grownup movie actor Stormy Daniels to maintain her allegations of an affair out of the press forward of the 2016 election and that Trump directed his former “fixer” Michael Cohen to make a settlement fee of $130,000 to her. Prosecutors argue that the falsified enterprise information, partially labeled as “authorized retainers,” are a paper path for Cohen.

Trump has lengthy argued he was solely paying his lawyer.

The protection gave closing arguments first, specializing in Michael Cohen

As is New York legislation, Trump’s protection gave the primary set of closing arguments, which lasted over 2 hours. Blanche targeted on the credibility points surrounding Cohen.

Listed here are 4 highlights from his abstract of their protection:

1. Who did not testify

The protection hung out mentioning potential witnesses the jury didn’t hear from — particularly Allen Weisselberg, Don Jr. or Eric Trump, who had been Trump Group executives on the time; Dylan Howard, a former editor of the Nationwide Enquirer; Gina Rodriguez, who managed Stormy Daniels; or Trump bodyguard Keith Schiller.

2. The paperwork

Blanche argues Trump’s sons signed two checks that represent a few of the felony counts. And he additionally advised the jury that Cohen was the one who generated the 11 invoices that make up 11 of the felony counts on Trump.

He maintained that the allegedly false retainer was a reliable retainer of companies — particularly as a result of Cohen billed himself as Trump’s private lawyer.

“You shouldn’t assume the phrase ‘retainer’ differentiates from the explanation for the fee — it is only a single phrase,” Blanche stated.

3. Cohen’s credibility

Blanche tried to solid doubt on numerous conversations Cohen recalled having with Trump, together with on the White Home, allegedly concerning the deal to silence Daniels. However the protection additionally argued that Cohen lied on the stand, answering questions one approach to the prosecution however a unique method with the protection.

“Cohen lied to you,” Blanche claimed repeatedly to hammer the purpose dwelling to the jurors at numerous phases of his speech.

He additionally hung out casting doubt on the key recording Cohen made from a dialog with Trump that allegedly confirms data of the fee and settlement to former Playboy mannequin Karen McDougal.

4. Election affect

Blanche reiterated one of many factors he made in openings: It doesn’t matter if there was a conspiracy to attempt to have an effect on the election. “Each marketing campaign is a conspiracy to advertise a candidacy,” Blanche stated.

It’s commonplace, Blanche stated, for celebrities and candidates to work with media organizations, reminiscent of tabloids, to advertise themselves and their campaigns.

Blanche argued that it “is mindless” that Trump, Cohen and former writer David Pecker genuinely believed they might affect the 2016 election by way of using the Nationwide Enquirer tabloid.

“There’s nothing improper with President Trump desirous to get optimistic information tales,” stated Blanche. However he added: ”The concept that subtle individuals believed optimistic tales within the Nationwide Enquirer may affect the election is preposterous.“

Blanche stated the attain of the tabloid was far under what would have ever been wanted to swing the election.

The prosecution pushes again

Prosecutors spent 6 hours strolling the jury by way of each a part of their case and refuting claims made by the protection. Prosecutor Josh Steinglass walked the jury by way of all their proof: of the 2006 sexual encounter described by Daniels, saying that Cohen knew what occurred in that lodge room “and that goes to motive.” Steinglass advised the jury of Stormy Daniels testimony, “That’s the show the defendant didn’t need the general public to see.”

Listed here are 4 highlights from their closing arguments:

1. The 1 minute and 36 second telephone name 

Prosecutor Josh Steinglass took out his personal telephone, set the timer and reenacted a name that was on the middle of Cohen’s cross and direct examination two weeks in the past. Cohen testified that in a telephone name, he had each spoken with Trump’s bodyguard a couple of harassing teen and individually with Trump concerning the fee to Daniels. Trump’s legal professionals aimed to discredit Cohen’s reminiscence of that dialog — arguing that it will be laborious to broach each topics in that quick time.

Beginning with, “Hey, Keith, how’s it going?” Steinglass went by way of a simulated telephone name the place he mentioned the problem of a teenage prankster who had been harassing Cohen, after which stated, “Can I discuss to the boss?” Then Steinglass simulated a short dialog about caring for “that factor,” and somewhat small discuss.

“And all that took 49 seconds,” about half the time of the decision in query, Steinglass stated, including that this was simply certainly one of 20 calls Cohen had.

2. The validity of witnesses

Steinglass advised the jury that with the intention to acquit Trump, they must disregard a number of witnesses’ testimony — not simply Cohen’s — together with that of former Trump Group controller Jeffrey McConney, and different items of proof like handwritten notes on financial institution statements that detailed the maths of how the funds could be made.

Steinglass referenced numerous witnesses who got here to testify, together with present and former staff of Trump’s enterprise and administration. He additionally referred to the witnesses who work for corporations that printed Trump’s books about his enterprise philosophy.

Re-reading paragraphs from the books, Steinglass doubled down on Trump’s “frugality” and reminded the jury of Pecker’s testimony, the place Trump was additionally described as frugal.

2. Trump’s enterprise practices

Steinglass as soon as once more went by way of the precise checks and invoices in query and the way Deborah Tarasoff, the accounts payable supervisor on the Trump Group, packaged them collectively to ship to Trump even after he went to the White Home.

Prosecutors pushed that even the chief monetary officer, Weisselberg, may solely approve invoices as much as $10,000.

“Regardless of his frugality, and a spotlight to element, the defendant did not ask any questions, trigger he already knew the solutions,” Steinglass argued, asking the jury to not consider the “bogus narrative that the defendant was too busy” whereas on the White Home to note the big sums of cash was being spent.

There have been two paperwork that confirmed handwritten notes from Trump’s chief monetary officer and his comptroller that clearly lay out the reimbursement scheme: 130 instances two, to cowl taxes, plus one other expense, plus a bonus, for a complete of $420,000. Steinglass stated, “They’re the smoking weapons.”

“They fully blow out of the water the protection declare that these had been for authorized work,” he stated, including, “I’m nearly speechless that they’re nonetheless making an attempt to make this argument that this was for authorized retainer.”

3. Election considerations

Steinglass targeted on the considerations he stated Trump had about how the story of the alleged affair with an grownup movie star may harm his 2016 presidential run. He argued that Trump himself advised Pecker and Cohen to deal with quashing damaging media — particularly allegations from girls about Trump within the leadup to 2016.

The prosecutor stated that it began at that August 2015 assembly in Trump Tower with the Nationwide Enquirer writer, Pecker. Steinglass stated: “As soon as cash begins altering arms, that’s a federal election legislation violation.”

He doubled down that Trump’s concern was not his household, however the election, and the take care of the tabloid exhibits that was the motivation for a settlement 10 years after the alleged encounter.

“That is shopping for a narrative that you don’t intend to print, in order that nobody else can print it,” Steinglass stated, referencing Blanche’s argument that tabloids typically buy tales after which select to not run them.

Tying this to the Daniels’ fee, Steinglass reminded jurors of the timing — how the deal to have Daniels signal a nondisclosure settlement got here after the Entry Hollywood tape turned public.

“Stormy Daniels was a strolling and speaking reminder that the defendant was not solely phrases,” Steinglass stated.

NPR’s Andrea Bernstein contributed to this report.

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