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Jury Concludes First Day of Deliberations in Trump Trial without Reaching Verdict

The New York City jury in DA Alvin Bragg’s falsified business records was dismissed about 4 pm on Wednesday without reaching a verdict on the 34 felony counts of falsifying business records.

The jury had been deliberating for four hours and during their time in the jury room had asked to review the transcript of witness David Pecker, the former National Enquirer publisher who detailed the process of buying and killing stories. They were brought back into the courtroom to hear a section of that transcript read by the clerk. They also asked for a reread of Judge Juan Merchan’s instructions.

In addition, Jonathan Turley reports from inside the courthouse that the jury also asked for additional information regarding Michael Cohen’s testimony and key meeting he had with Trump ad Trump Tower in New York.

Turley said that the questions regarded “1. Pecker testimony regarding telephone conversation with Trump 2. Pecker’s testimony on the decision not to fund McDougal’s life rights 3. Pecker’s testimony on the Trump Tower meeting 4. Cohen testimony on the Trump Tower meeting,” in addition to the reread of the instructions.

The charges were raised to felonies from misdemeanors by Bragg, who alleged that the falsification of the records was done in concert with a second crime, namely that of state election interference. This is the first time a president, sitting or former, has been brought up on criminal charges.

The jury began deliberating late Wednesday morning after over a month of hearing from various witnesses from the prosecution and defense. During the reading of instructions for the jury, Judge Juan Merchan said, “If there is a guilty verdict, it will be my responsibility to impose sentence.” Merchan had also told the jury this the previous day after Trump defense attorney Todd Blanche asked for his client not to be sent to jail, “During the defense summation you heard Mr. Blanche ask you not to send the defendant to prison. That was not permitted, and you must not consider it. If the defendant is found guilty, sentencing will be my decision.”

Merchan also told the jury the previous day that they did not have to agree on the second crime that was committed in conjunction with the falsification charges.

Trump defense attorney Emil Boveargued that the jurors should have to agree on a single predicate crime to issue a guilty verdict in the trial. Prosecutor Matthew Colangelo said that the law does not require jurors to do that. Merchan agreed with the prosecution.

During the trial, the jurors heard from over 20 witnesses including former Trump attorney Michael Cohen and porn star Stormy Daniels. During Cohen’s testimony, he admitted to stealing some $30,000 from the Trump Organization, an admission that led to Trump’s team asking for Merchan to dismiss the case. Merchan did not do so. Cohen, the prosecution’s star witness, was also said to have lied on the stand.

Daniels also testified, detailing encounters she had with Trump while cracking jokes to the jury. Trump is alleged to have reimbursed Cohen $130,000 for payments made to “hush” Daniels, who testified that the two had sex many years prior, and that these payments were wrongly marked as legal fees.

The jury is expected back in court on Thursday to resume their deliberations.

READ 38 COMMENTS
  • Scurvydog says:

    Demanding “hush money” to maintain secrecy about a sexual encounter is blackmail, and extortion, especially if the sexual behavior never took place. If Trump paid her to shut up, is that illegal, or is the prosecution simply stating that Trump lied to the government to claim a tax deduction for blackmail? This entire “trial” is exactly why our ancestors broke away from the corruption of King George waaay back in the 18th century. It would appear King George is alive and well in NY, MA, GA, AZ, CA, OR, WA, CO, MN, and…well, you get the picture. It’s past time for another revolution.

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