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Jury Continues Deliberation in Trump's 'Hush Money' Case


Trump's 'Hush Money' Case

The jury in former President Donald Trump's criminal trial in New York resumes its deliberations Thursday, May 30 2024 after reviewing key testimony and the judge's instructions. The 12 Manhattan residents on the jury asked Wednesday to rehear crucial testimony from witnesses David Pecker and Michael Cohen about their interactions with Trump in 2015 and 2016. The jurors also requested the judge to repeat some directions guiding their deliberations.


The testimony and instructions were read in court Thursday morning, a process that took roughly an hour and a half. Jurors then exited to resume discussions behind closed doors. Trump faces 34 counts of falsifying business records tied to reimbursements for a"hush money" payment Cohen made to adult film star Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election. Prosecutors allege Trump tried to cover up the payment by disguising the purpose of the reimbursements.


Key Witness Testimony in Trump Criminal Trial


The jurors reviewed testimony about interactions involving Cohen, Trump, and Pecker, CEO of American Media Inc., the National Enquirer's parent company. Prosecutors claim the three engaged in a"catch and kill"scheme to bury negative stories about Trump. The jury requested testimony regarding Pecker's 2015 phone call with Trump, Pecker's decision not to transfer life rights of a former Playboy model to Cohen, and a 2015 Trump Tower meeting. They also asked for Cohen's testimony on the Trump Tower meeting.


Judge's Instructions to the Jury


Several jurors took notes as the judge read instructions on making inferences from proven facts. The judge explained using an example of waking up to see everything wet outside, inferring it rained overnight. "An inference must only be drawn from a proven fact or facts, not if it is speculative," he said. Another section of the instructions detailed how jurors assess testimony of an accomplice, which Cohen is in this case. The jury cannot convict based solely on an accomplice's testimony; it must be corroborated by evidence. Additionally, the judge explained how a person can be criminally responsible for a crime even if they did not physically commit it.


Detailed Witness Testimony


After the judge's instructions, court reporters recited Pecker's testimony. Pecker discussed a June 2016 phone call where Trump asked for advice regarding a deal with former Playboy model Karen McDougal. "I think you should buy the story and take it off the market,"Pecker advised Trump. The reporters then covered Pecker's decision not to transfer McDougal's life rights to Cohen in September 2016, with Pecker testifying Cohen was "very angry" about the decision. The jury also heard about the 2015 Trump Tower meeting where the "catch and kill" scheme was devised. Pecker agreed to be Trump's "eyes and ears" for stories that could harm Trump's electoral prospects.


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