Prosecution concludes closing arguments in hush money trial of Donald Trump

Attorneys spent hours delivering closing arguments to the jury, which will begin deliberations on Wednesday.
Posted at 6:14 AM, May 28, 2024

The prosecution concluded closing arguments in Donald Trump's New York hush money case Tuesday, moving the case toward its jury deliberation phase.

Tuesday's court session went on much longer than usual, wrapping up shortly before 8 p.m. Eastern Time.

Defense lawyer Todd Blanche delivered closing arguments for about 2 1/2 hours earlier in the day. Prosecutor Joshua Steinglass spoke for more than five hours.

Jury instructions are expected to start immediately on Wednesday and last for roughly one hour, after which the jury will begin its deliberations.

Judge Juan Merchan says court will be in session on Wednesday until 4:30 Eastern Time.

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In closing arguments, defense attorney Todd Blanche tried to paint former Trump attorney and "fixer" Michael Cohen as a liar.

"He’s the human embodiment of reasonable doubt. He lied to you repeatedly. He lied many many times before you even met him," he said.

The case against Trump may come down to whether the jury believes Cohen.

He testified that Trump directed him to make a $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels to keep her quiet about an alleged affair. Prosecutors say Trump's reimbursement to Cohen was disguised as a legal expense, violating state election law.

Blanche's closing argument was interrupted for a moment when Judge Juan Merchan scolded him for suggesting Trump would go to prison if convicted.

"Someone who has been a prosecutor and defense attorney as long as you have is highly inappropriate. It's simply not allowed," Merchan said.

Closing arguments for Steinglass lasted more than twice as long, during which he outlined a condensed version of the prosecution's case. He acknowledged for the jury his summary took a long time.

“I apologize for trading brevity for thoroughness,” he said in his comments, “but we only get one shot at this."