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Closing arguments in the Trump trial and Israeli tanks reach central Rafah: Morning Rundown

Closing arguments will begin in Donald Trump’s first criminal trial. Severe weather in the US kills 24 people. And actor Richard Dreyfuss’ controversial comments at a “Jaws” screening are sparking backlash.

Here’s what you need to know today.

Trump’s hush money lawsuit is entering its final phase

Image: Former President Donald Trump (Mark Peterson / AFP - Getty Images)

Image: Former President Donald Trump (Mark Peterson / AFP – Getty Images)

Today the closing arguments begin in Donald Trump’s hush money case. After receiving instructions from the judge Juan Merchan12 ordinary New Yorkers who form the jury will determine whether the former president is guilty in his first criminal trial.

Prosecutors from Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office have sought to show that Trump orchestrated a scheme to cover up an alleged sexual encounter with adult film star Stormy Daniels at a charged time for his 2016 presidential campaign. Trump has pleaded not guilty to 34 charges of falsifying company records.

Over 20 days, jurors heard from key witness and Trump’s former fixer Michael Cohen about his involvement in the payment to Daniels; tabloid impresario David Pecker on a “capture and kill” plan he claimed was devised with Cohen; and defense witness Robert Costello, whose tense conversation with Merchan was among the most memorable of the trial. Here’s what else happened more than 20 days of testimony.

The defense will first make its closing arguments, with Trump’s lead attorney, Todd Blanche, expected to argue that Bragg’s office has not proven Trump guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Prosecutors are expected to argue that they have proven not only that Trump was responsible for the falsified corporate records, but also that he did it to cover up another crime — a necessary part of the felony charge.

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Read the full story here.

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Severe weather kills at least 24 people over holiday weekend

The threat of severe thunderstorms, lightning, large hail, strong winds and possibly a few tornadoes are possible in the Northeast this morning, the National Weather Service said. The threat follows a deadly wave of storms in the South and Midwest.

At least 24 people were killed in severe weather over Memorial Day weekend, including in Kentucky, Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. And in Colorado, a farmer and 34 of his cattle were killed in a lightning strike. Meanwhile, thousands of homes and businesses in multiple states were without power. Here’s what else we know.

Netanyahu calls Israeli attack that killed dozens in Gaza a ‘tragic mistake’

Palestinians searching through charred remains described a “horrific” scene of people running to escape the fire that ripped through a tent camp in Rafah, as Israeli forces pushed deeper into the southern Gaza city, despite mounting global condemnation.

According to NBC News ground crew, Israeli tanks reached the city center for the first time, defying international pressure to stop an offensive that has sent nearly 1 million people fleeing Rafah. Those still hiding there face dire conditions and deadly attacks.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said yesterday that the deadly attack on the tent camp was ‘tragic’, adding that it was being investigated. The Israeli military initially said it had targeted two senior Hamas leaders and had not attacked a designated humanitarian area. But it said a full investigation would be conducted into “the deaths of civilians in the area of ​​the attack.”

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More about the war between Israel and Hamas:

Theater shares ‘serious concerns’ after comments from actor Richard Dreyfuss

Richard Dreyfuss slams the Oscar diversity initiative (Vivien Killilea/Getty Images file)Richard Dreyfuss slams the Oscar diversity initiative (Vivien Killilea/Getty Images file)

Richard Dreyfuss slams the Oscar diversity initiative (Vivien Killilea/Getty Images file)

A Massachusetts theater is distancing itself from actor Richard Dreyfuss, who reportedly made controversial comments during a “Jaws” screening. According to The Boston Globe, witnesses said Dreyfuss disparaged women in film, the MeToo movement and LGBTQ rights during a Saturday event titled “An Evening with Richard Dreyfuss + Jaws Screening.” A spokesperson for the Cabot Theater in Beverly released a statement yesterday expressing regret for the “distress” it caused patrons. The statement continued: “We regret that an event that was intended to be a conversation celebrating an iconic film instead became a platform for political views.”

Dreyfuss, whose starring role in the 1975 blockbuster “Jaws” made him a top Hollywood performer, has been the source of controversial comments during the past years.

Ukraine desperately needs soldiers, but some are desperate not to fight

Ukraine is desperate for new soldiers, but some men are desperately trying to avoid being drafted. With a shortage of soldiers on the battlefield, Ukraine has taken action to strengthen its military, including the passage of a mobilization law that would make more men eligible for enlistment, increased fines for draft dodging and a decision to cut consular services withheld from Ukrainian men abroad. who do not have up-to-date military documents.

Soldiers on the front line said they wholeheartedly support the measures. But a growing number of men across the country fear being drafted into the military as Russia launches a new wave of attacks. Fears among men eligible for military service are exacerbated by videos circulating on social media showing altercations between civilians and recruitment officials, leaving many afraid to venture out into public spaces. Others look for ways to escape abroad – even though men aged 18 to 60 are not allowed to leave the country – even if it means risking death.

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Politics in brief

Texas Elections: Moderate Republican Rep. Tony Gonzales is fighting to keep his seat by MAGA brandon Brandon Herrera in Texas’ 23rd Congressional District, which stretches from San Antonio to El Paso. And state House Speaker Dade Phelan, who oversaw the impeachment of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, is running against conservative activist David Covey. a bitter primary battle for the future of the Republican Party.

Immigration: The Biden administration appoints immigration judges and asylum officers greater access to classified information to help them determine whether migrants may have ties to terrorism or pose a threat to public safety after an NBC News story revealed that an Afghan migrant on the terrorist watch list was released at the border.

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Personnel choice: These athletes are ready for their Olympic debut

Justine Goode / NBC News;  Getty ImagesJustine Goode / NBC News;  Getty Images

Justine Goode / NBC News; Getty Images

Breakdancing is about to make its long-awaited Olympic debut, and with the sport currently not scheduled for any other Games, Paris will be the athletes’ chance to show the world what the sport is all about. Reporter Rebecca Cohen spoke with two breakers preparing for their shot at gold and an Olympic hopeful about the energy and culture of the sport — plus their dazzling moves — they’re eager to show off.

Claire Cardona, breaking news editor

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Brace yourself: the summer heat is coming. Here it is what you should pay attention to in a good fan and 11 top-rated options. Plus, these air purifiers keeps the air in your home clean without being too loud.

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This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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