No Verdict on Day 1 of Jury Deliberations in Trump Trial

Jury deliberation began on Wednesday in former President Donald Trump’s New York criminal trial. The jurors went home without a verdict on the first day and will resume Thursday morning.

Trump: ‘Nobody Knows What the Crime Is’

President Trump returned to speak with reporters around 5:30 p.m.

He was asked if he had a fair jury, and answered, “What is very unfair is that I’m not campaigning, I’m in this room.”

He said there were a lot of witnesses the prosecutors could, or should have called, but did not. He said he could not speak their names due to the gag order.

“A lot of key witnesses were not called. Look at the list, look at the key players,” he said.

He appeared to reference Mr. Weisselberg adding that one of those potential witnesses was now “suffering because of the viciousness of these thugs.” Mr. Weisselberg is currently serving a five-month prison sentence for perjury in civil case brought by the New York Attorney General, but under a guilty plea signed with the district attorney’s office.

“Nobody knows what the crime is, that’s what the problem,” President Trump added.

Judge Reminds Jurors Not to Discuss Trial

The jurors’ requested testimony will take longer to read back than time left for the day, so the judge will dismiss them soon.

The judge repeated instructions to jurors not to discuss the trial and to report any improper attempts to influence them before dismissing them for the day.

Jurors will continue deliberations 9:30 a.m. tomorrow.

President Trump did not comment when he left the courtroom for the day.

Jurors Ask Judge to Repeat Instructions

Jurors sent another note at 3:51 p.m., requesting to re-hear the judge’s instructions.

The jury will be brought back into the courtroom and the judge will clarify whether they require a portion or the entire instructions again.

The judge asked to have the WiFi disabled on the laptop holding evidence from trial tonight.

Attorneys said the jury’s first readback request totals about 30 pages, meaning it will take about half an hour.

Judge Addresses Jury Requests

Justice Merchan said he has received notes from the jury, signed by the foreperson at 2:56 p.m.

“The note contains four requests,” Justice Merchan said.

The jury is requesting Mr. Pecker’s testimony regarding his conversation with Mr. Trump by phone while Mr. Pecker was in an investor meeting, Mr. Pecker’s testimony regarding his decision not to fund a contract, and transcripts of Mr. Pecker’s and Mr. Cohen’s testimonies regarding the 2015 meeting at Trump Tower.

The jury will return to the courtroom.

Trump Returns to Courtroom

Around 3:07, President Trump and his group reentered the courtroom. He did not respond to questions.

Buzzer Sounds

A buzzer reportedly rang out in the courtroom.

Full Jury Instructions

You can read the full jury instructions here.

‘Mother Teresa Could Not Beat These Charges’: Trump

President Trump stepped outside the courtroom as jurors began their deliberation.

“Listening to the charges from the judge … Mother Teresa could not beat these charges. These charges are rigged,” he told reporters. “The whole thing is rigged.”

“But we’ll see. We’ll see how we do,” he said.

He repeated claims that the case is politically motivated and timed for election interference.

“It certainly could’ve been brought seven years ago, not in the middle of a presidential election,” he said. “This judge contributed to Joe Biden, and far worse than that but I’m not allowed to talk about it because of a gag order.”

“It’ll be talked about in the history books,” he said.

President Trump said he was going to “stay around here … because I think the people of this country see that this is a rigged deal.”

Alternates Not Excused Yet

“I always watch the jurors. I watch to see who is paying attention and who is not,” Justice Merchan said. “Each of you is very engaged in this case. But we’re not going to excuse [alternates].”

2 Jurors Volunteer to Use Evidence Laptop

All the evidence from trial has been loaded onto a laptop, and Juror 4 and Juror 6 volunteered to operate it for the group.

Judge Finishes Instructions

Justice Merchan concluded instructions to jurors, and then conferred with counsel.

Verdict Must Be Unanimous

“Your verdict on each count you consider, whether guilty or not, must be unanimous,” the judge told the jury. “That is, each and every juror must agree to it.”

“You should discuss the evidence and consult with each other, listen to each other, give each other’s views careful consideration. And when you deliberate, you should do so with a view to reaching agreement when that can be done without surrendering an individual juror,” he said.

He said notes jurors have taken cannot substitute recollection, or transcripts and evidence.

Jurors can ask to see any exhibit entered into evidence as they deliberate, and pass a note to the judge on questions relating to the law.

The judge also reminded jurors that all 12 need to be present in the jury room during deliberations.

Intent to Defraud

Justice Merchan explained that the intent to defraud was and wasn’t.

“In order to prove an intent to defraud, the people need not prove that the defendant acted with the intent to defraud any particular person or entity,” he said. “Intent to defraud is also not constricted to intent to deprive another person of money or property.’

The People need not prove that the other crime was committed, aided, or concealed,” Justice Merchan said.

“The knowledge of a conspiracy does not by itself make the defendant a conspirator,” he added. “Intent means conscious objective or purpose.”

Judge Outlines Elements Requiring Proof

Justice Merchan said that in order to find President Trump guilty of falsifying business records in the first degree, the jury needs to find that the prosecutors proved that the defendant, “acting individually or with others, made or caused false entries in the business records of an enterprise” and that “the defendant did so with the intent to commit another crime or to aid and conceal the commission of that other crime.”

There was no burden of proof regarding the second crime, its completion or goal, or intent.

Judge Explains Campaign Finance Issues

The judge told jurors that in determining whether the defendant conspired to promote or prevent the election of a person to office by lawful means, they may consider violations of the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA), falsification of business records, or violation of tax laws.

FECA makes it unlawful to make contributions to presidential candidates over a certain limit. An expenditure made in cooperation, consultant, or concert with a candidate can be considered a “contribution.”

In New York City and the state it is unlawful to knowing supply or submit false information in connection to taxes, he added.

Judge Defines ‘Intent’ for Jury

Justice Merchan read definitions of terms used in the case.

“Intent means conscious objective or purpose,” he told jurors. “Intent does not require premeditation. In other words, intent does not require advance planning, nor is it necessary that the intent exist in the person’s mind for a given period of time.”

President Trump’s intent to defraud is a key element prosecutions are required to prove.

Justice Merchan explained that by law, one is guilty of a conspiracy such as the one charged when one agrees with one or more persons to engage in or cause the performance of that conduct, but evidence of presence alone does not show that one engaged in the conspiracy.

Cohen an ‘Accomplice,’ Judge Says

Justice Merchan said prosecutors have the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt not only that the charged crime was committed, but that President Trump committed the crime.

“Under our law, Michael Cohen is an accomplice,” he added. “Our law provides that the defendant may not be convicted of any crime based on the testimony of an accomplice unless it is supported by corroborating evidence tending to connect the defendant to the commission of a crime.”

Justice Merchan then explained “accessorial liability” to the jury.

“When one person engaged in conduct which constitutes an offense, another is criminally liable for such conduct when he or she solicits, requests, commands, importunes, or intentionally engages another person to aid in committing that crime,” he said. “A defendant proven beyond a reasonable doubt to be criminally liable in engaging another person to commit a crime is as guilty as the person who committed that crime.”

Judge Explains Reasonable Doubt

Justice Merchan explained the meaning of “reasonable doubt” to jurors. He also gave jurors a list of questions they should ask, and things they should consider.

“Did the witness have an opportunity to see or hear the events about which he or she testified?” he said. “Was the testimony of the witness consistent or inconsistent with other evidence or testimony in the case?”

“You may consider whether a witness had, or did not have, a motive to lie,” he also said. “You may consider whether a witness hopes for or expects a benefit for testifying.”

“You may consider whether a witness made statements at this trial that are inconsistent with each other. You may also consider whether a witness made previous statements that are inconsistent with statements made here at this trial,” he said, adding that inconsistency is not proof something did or did not happen.

Judge Reminds Jurors They Can’t Read Into Trump Not Testifying

“Throughout these proceedings, the defendant is presumed to be innocent,” Justice Merchan reminded jurors. “As a result, you must find the defendant not guilty unless the evidence presented by the People proves the defendant to be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.”

“The fact that the defendant did not testify is not a fact on which any inference as to guilt may be drawn,” he said. “The burden of proof never shifts from the People to the defendant.”

Judge Reminds Jurors Not All Evidence Entered for Truth

Key witnesses at trial had signed agreements: David Pecker, former head of American Media Inc., had signed a non-prosecution agreement related to two stories he purchased mentioned in the case, and Michael Cohen had pleaded guilty on campaign finance charges.

Justice Merchan reminded jurors that these agreements were allowed into evidence to let jurors assess the witnesses’ credibility and for context only.

“You may not consider that in determining whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty of the charged crimes,” he said.

He said similarly of articles and correspondence entered into evidence, which include jokes, exaggeration, or speculation by third parties. The judge reminded jurors the messages were entered to provide context, not as evidence that the assertions in the articles or messages are true.

Judge Reminds Jurors They Do Not Consider Sentencing

“I direct you to decide this case on the evidence and law as it related to the defendant on trial here,” he said.

“Remember also, in your deliberations, you may not consider or speculate about matters relating to sentence of punishment,” Justice Merchan said. “When you judge the facts, you are to consider only the evidence.”

Yesterday, the defense had made a comment about not sending President Trump to prison on the words of Michael Cohen, leading the judge to instruct jurors to disregard the remark as only the judge can rule on sentencing, and a jury cannot decide to send a defendant to prison.

Judge Begins Instructions

Jurors were brought back into the courtroom and Justice Merchan began his instructions.

He said he will first begin with general principles that apply to all criminal cases, and next define the crimes charged in this case, how the law applies, and elements of the charged crimes.

“During these instruction, I will not summarize the evidence. If necessary, I may refer to the evidence,” he said. “Nothing I have said in the course of this trial is meant to suggest I have an opinion about this case.”

“Remember that you have promised to be a fair juror,” he added, explaining to the jury principles of non-discrimination and that justice requires no less than impartial consideration of evidence.

Trump Raises Fist Entering Courtroom

President Trump entered the courtroom minutes before 10 a.m. with a large group of supporters, and did not give his customary morning remarks today.

Long Line to Witness Last Stage of Trump Trial

Long lines formed in the small hours of the morning outside the courthouse at 100 Centre St., as members of the media and public yearned for an opportunity to witness the final stages of the historic criminal trial of Donald Trump. One citizen had reportedly arrived in the park across the street on Saturday in the hope of getting inside the building.

In contrast to Tuesday morning, when a deranged anti-Semitic heckler yelled at the people on line from deeper within the park, Wednesday morning was relatively calm, with a small group of Trump supporters holding aloft a banner denouncing what they believed to be a politically driven “kangaroo court.”

What’s Happening Today

The court will start at 10 a.m. today and end at 4:30 p.m. as usual.

Judge Juan Merchan will give the jury instructions before they start deliberating. He estimated the instructions would take an hour.

Recap of Closing Arguments

Closing arguments ended on May 28 in Donald Trump’s falsified documents case in New York City, leaving in the hands of the jury whether he will be a convicted felon heading into the 2024 presidential election.

The case could result in jail time for the former president, although it’s widely considered to be the least consequential of the four criminal prosecutions he’s facing. It’s unclear how long the jury will deliberate.

Todd Blanche, who spoke for the defense, used his closing arguments to attack Michael Cohen, Trump’s former attorney and witness for the prosecution. Mr. Blanche described Mr. Cohen as “the GLOAT: the greatest liar of all time” and told the jury he was the “embodiment of reasonable doubt.”

Mr. Cohen was a key part of the prosecution’s attempt to claim Trump reimbursed him for payments to adult film actress Stephanie Clifford as part of an attempt to influence the 2016 presidential election. He is also a convicted perjurer who, as Trump’s legal team noted, has attacked the former president and expressed “delight” at seeing Trump booked on criminal charges.

“He lied to you repeatedly,” Mr. Blanche said of Mr. Cohen. “He lied many, many times before you even met him. His financial and personal well-being depends on this case. He is biased and motivated to tell you a story that is not true.”

President Trump has denied wrongdoing and having an affair with Ms. Clifford. He has described the case as bogus and election interference.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office attempted to defend Mr. Cohen but prosecutor Joshua Steinglass said “we didn’t choose Michael Cohen to be our witness. We didn’t pick him up at the witness store.”

Mr. Steinglass told the jury there was a “mountain” of corroboration for the allegations against Trump. Referencing Ms. Clifford, Steinglass said: “We don’t have to prove that sex actually took place, but the defendant knew what happened in that hotel room and the extent that you credit her testimony, that only reinforces his incentive to buy her silence.”

The attorneys clashed over the alleged “catch and kill” scheme involving former Playboy model Karen McDougal and the National Enquirer. Mr. Steinglass said it showed “the defendant’s cavalier willingness to hide this payoff” while Blanche claimed McDougal’s deal with AMI, the National Enquirer’s parent company, was “not a catch-and-kill” scheme.

Outside the courthouse, actor Robert De Niro criticized President Trump and got into a shouting match with one of his supporters. De Niro told the supporter “you are gangsters” while the man told him “you are washed up.”

Both Trump’s and Joe Biden’s campaigns made an appearance. The former claimed the presence of the latter proved the political nature of the prosecutions against Trump. A Biden adviser indicated he was present because of the media attention, not the trial itself.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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