HomePoliticsJury deliberation will begin in Donald Trump's criminal trial

Jury deliberation will begin in Donald Trump’s criminal trial

Jury deliberations begin Wednesday morning in New York prosecutors’ case against Donald Trump, the first criminal trial involving a former president.

“You, the jury, have the ability to hold the defendant accountable,” prosecutor Joshua Steinglass told the panel Tuesday at the end of his four-and-a-half-hour closing arguments.

Deliberations will begin after state Judge Juan Merchan delivers his instructions to the 12-member jury on the laws it will have to consider in deciding the landmark case. His instruction is expected to last about an hour.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office has charged Trump with 34 counts of falsifying corporate records related to a hush money payment his attorney Michael Cohen made to adult film star Stormy Daniels in the final days of the 2016 election. Prosecutors allege that Trump reimbursed Cohen through a series of payments incorrectly reported as legal expenses.

The district attorney’s office could upgrade the charge, usually a misdemeanor, to a misdemeanor by claiming the records were falsified with the intent to conceal another crime. Steinglass suggested that Trump was trying to cover up a number of crimes, including violations of state and federal election laws.

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Trump attorney Todd Blanche told the jury: “President Trump is innocent. He committed no crimes and the prosecutor did not meet the burden of proof. Period of time.”

He argued that the data was not falsified because Trump did not reimburse Cohen for the Daniels payment; instead, he paid for general legal services because Cohen was Trump’s personal attorney at the time.

Steinglass called that account breathtaking, noting that Trump had previously publicly admitted to paying back Cohen.

Cohen was the prosecution’s star witness, and Blanche told jurors he could not be trusted because of his history of lying. “He is literally the MVP of liars,” Blanche said.

Steinglass acknowledged that Cohen had a history of lying, but said he had often done so to protect Trump. That Trump’s lawyers tried to use these lies to undermine his credibility “is what some people might call chutzpah,” Steinglass said.

The trial began with jury selection on April 15. Trump, who said before the start of the proceedings that he would “absolutely” testify, did not take a stand in his own defense.

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If convicted, Trump faces up to four years in prison.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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