Trump introduces new spin as jury deliberates, arguing that the crime remains unclear

The charges in former President Donald Trump’s criminal trial are being carefully considered by the jurors.

After only a few hours of deliberation on Wednesday, they requested the judge to read back four crucial segments of the testimony they had heard.

They focused on specific sections that suggest their interest in delving into the intricate details of the plot aimed at ensuring Stormy Daniels’ silence prior to the 2016 presidential election concerning her alleged sexual encounter with Trump.

Trump, on the other hand, has introduced a fresh approach to criticizing the proceedings by claiming he is unaware of what is happening.

“I am completely unaware of the charges in this manipulated case—I deserve to know the specifics, just like anyone else,” he expressed on Truth Social as the jurors commenced their deliberation. “There is no criminal activity!”

Over a year ago, the New York district attorney’s office brought forth charges against Trump for falsifying business records in the first degree.

Throughout a period of over a month, Trump patiently listened to the testimonies of 20 witnesses and absorbed a comprehensive five-hour closing argument from prosecutor Joshua Steinglass, who presented his case.

During the trial, a significant amount of time was dedicated to examining the 34 records, which included invoices, checks, and ledger entries. In particular, it was noted that Trump personally signed nine of these checks with his distinctive mountain-range style signature.

The judge already explained the charges

Analyzing Trump’s comments and social media posts on Wednesday, it is evident that his campaign is deliberately aiming to sow confusion regarding a fundamental aspect of the jury’s duty.

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The jury is tasked with reaching a verdict of “guilty” or “not guilty” on each of the 34 counts, representing one count for each record.

Falsifying business records is typically classified as a misdemeanor crime in New York. However, it can be elevated to a felony if a jury determines that it was committed in order to perpetrate or hide another felony offense.

Prosecutors allege that Donald Trump tried to violate or conceal a felony under section 17-152 of the New York Election Law. This particular law pertains to Trump’s alleged conspiracy to unlawfully promote himself during the 2016 presidential election.

Prosecutors presented three potential “unlawful methods” that Trump employed in his scheme to pay Stormy Daniels hush money just 11 days before the 2016 presidential election:

    1. Violating federal campaign finance laws.
    2. Causing certain invoices, bank records, or tax documents to include false information.
    3. Submitting false tax documents.

The jurors must reach a unanimous agreement on all 34 counts of document falsification to convict Trump.

They, however, are not required to reach a consensus on the specific unlawful means employed by Trump to fabricate each document.

During his hourlong instructions to the jury on Wednesday morning, New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan provided a clear explanation.

Merchan informed the jurors that they must reach a unanimous conclusion regarding the defendant’s conspiracy to promote or prevent the election of any person to a public office through unlawful means. However, he clarified that they did not need to reach a unanimous decision on the specific unlawful means used.

Trump’s eyes seemed to be shut as Merchan gave the jury instructions.

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The 77-year-old Republican presidential candidate reclined in his chair, remaining motionless, with his hands resting in his lap and a frown on his face.

He momentarily stretched his back and arms while remaining seated, before settling back into his comfortable padded leather chair.

During the previous week, Merchan rejected an attempt by Trump’s lawyer, Emil Bove, to impose the requirement that the jury make precise determinations regarding the alleged violations of New York’s election law. Throughout the court session, Trump maintained closed eyes.

Merchan firmly rejected Trump’s legal team’s request to change the law, stating, “I’m not going to do that.”

As the jurors commenced their deliberation on Wednesday, supporters of Trump propagated a misleading storyline regarding their role.

Sen. Marco Rubio from Florida, who is rumored to be a potential running mate for Trump, took to X to share a misleading statement. Rubio falsely claimed that the judge presiding over Trump’s case in New York City informed the jury that they do not need to unanimously agree on which crime was committed.

Jason Miller, a senior advisor to Trump’s campaign, reposted it.

On Truth Social, Trump shared quotes from Fox News host Jesse Watters, inaccurately asserting that “the jury can choose any crime they desire.”

The jurors seemed to be seeking more clarity regarding their role. They were not allowed to bring a copy of the judge’s instructions into the deliberations room. Before the court day ended on Wednesday, they requested Merchan to read the instructions aloud to them once more.

By the end of the day, Trump seemed unsure about what specifically he should be perplexed about.

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“The confusion lies in the fact that nobody knows what the crime is because, in reality, there is no crime,” Trump asserted to reporters in the courtroom hallway before departing. “The DA failed to specify the crime, leaving everyone in the dark about what exactly it is.”

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