Trump Lawyers Rest Their Case in NY Criminal Trial

Former President Donald Trump's defense team rested its case Tuesday without calling him to testify in the New York criminal trial. Later, the attorneys argued about jury instructions.

President Donald Trump’s lawyers on Tuesday rested their case in the New York criminal trial where he’s accused of falsifying business payments amid the 2016 election.

On Tuesday morning, shortly after the court was called into session, Trump attorney Todd Blanche said his team is resting their case after calling up their final witness, former prosecutor Robert Costello.

“The defense rests,” Mr. Blanche said. Prosecutors said they have no rebuttal witnesses, with assistant district attorney Joshua Steinglass saying there is “nothing further, judge.”

The former president did not testify on his behalf as a witness in the case.

President Trump previously said he wanted to take the witness stand to defend himself against what he claims are politically motivated charges. Generally, defense attorneys are loathe to have their own clients testify because it opens them up to cross-examination from prosecutors.

After the defense rested, Judge Merchan then instructed the jury on the timing of the case, saying that the trial will adjourn for the rest of the day.

“I think the best thing that we can do is to adjourn now until next Tuesday. At that time you will hear summations from the attorneys. Probably Wednesday, I’ll ask you to come in … hear jury charge and then I would expect that you will begin your deliberations hopefully at some point on Wednesday,” he said.

He added that it may “be tempting to think now that both sides have rested you can kind of let up a bit, but in fact these instructions take on even greater significance,” telling members of the jury that they cannot talk about or research the Trump case.

While speaking to reporters outside the courtroom, the former president provided an update on his legal plans. On Monday, Judge Juan Merchan said it’s likely that closing arguments will be made in the trial next week, possibly after Memorial Day, which is on May 27 and is a federal holiday.

“We’ll be doing something in the morning and then probably coming back in the afternoon. And we’ll be resting pretty quickly,” President Trump said on Tuesday morning before he entered the courtroom.

“We’ll be resting pretty quickly … resting meaning resting the case. I won’t be resting,” President Trump added. “I don’t rest. I’d like to rest sometimes, but I don’t get to rest.”

The Trump team has called up two witnesses, Mr. Costello, who testified on Monday that another witness in the case, Michael Cohen, was essentially making false statements about multiple alleged crimes at the center of the case. Mr. Costello said that Mr. Cohen was his client in 2018 and told him at the time that President Trump was not involved in an allegedly illegal repayment plan that involved an adult film performer.

The attorney had offered to represent Mr. Cohen soon after the lawyer’s hotel room, office, and home were raided by the FBI in 2018 and as he faced a decision about whether to remain defiant in the face of a criminal investigation or to cooperate with investigators in hopes of securing more lenient treatment.

Trump lawyer Emil Bove asked Mr. Cotello whether he told Mr. Cohen to do anything or pressured him in any way. He said he did not.

President Trump’s lawyers on Monday also pressed the judge overseeing his hush money trial to stop the case from going to the jury and throw out the charges after prosecutors concluded their presentation of evidence. The judge did not immediately rule on the request and did not indicate when exactly he would make a decision on the motion.

Previous motions to dismiss the case have been denied by Judge Merchan so far.

This is a breaking news story; more details will soon follow.

The Associated Press and Michael Washburn contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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