×
  • World - North America
  • Updated: May 29, 2024

Jury begins deliberations in Trump's criminal trial

Jury begins deliberations in Trump's criminal trial

Jurors commenced their deliberations on Wednesday in the landmark criminal trial of former US President Donald Trump.

The outcome of their decision holds significant implications, potentially reshaping the landscape for November's election, where Trump seeks a return to power as a Republican candidate.

Following weeks of testimony from over 20 witnesses, the spotlight now falls squarely on the 12-member New York jury, whose identities are shielded for their safety amid escalating political tensions.

After receiving final instructions from Judge Juan Merchan, the jurors retreated to a designated room where they will independently weigh the evidence against the 77-year-old Trump.

Judge Merchan reminded the jurors of the gravity of their role, urging them to set aside personal biases and approach the case impartially as they deliberate on the fate of another member of the community.

While there's no set time limit for deliberations, any verdict—whether acquittal or conviction—requires a unanimous decision. A single dissenting juror would lead to a declaration of a mistrial.

Trump stands accused of falsifying business records to facilitate a $130,000 payment aimed at silencing adult film star Stormy Daniels, whose allegations of a sexual encounter threatened his 2016 presidential campaign.

Prosecutors argue that the fraudulent scheme was motivated by a desire to conceal his behaviour from voters.

If Trump is found guilty, the political repercussions would far outweigh the seriousness of the charges as, barely five months before the November 5 presidential election, the candidate would also become a convicted criminal.

The judge instructed Trump that he would have to remain in the courthouse while awaiting the verdict. Trump responded by stepping outside the courtroom to launch an angry statement to journalists, calling it a “very disgraceful situation.”

“These charges are rigged,” Trump said, claiming that “Mother Teresa could not beat these charges.”

In closing arguments on Tuesday, Trump’s defence team insisted the evidence for a conviction simply did not exist, while the prosecution countered that it was voluminous and inescapable.

“The defendant’s intent to defraud could not be any clearer,” said prosecutor Joshua Steinglass, urging the jurors to use their “common sense” and return a guilty verdict.

If convicted, Trump faces up to four years in prison on each of 34 counts, but legal experts say that as a first-time offender, he is unlikely to get jail time.

A conviction would not bar him from the November ballot and he would almost certainly appeal. In the case of a mistrial, prosecutors could seek a new trial.

Trump has been required to attend every day of the trial. However, he has used his trips to court and the huge media presence to spread his claim that the trial is a Democratic ploy to keep him off the campaign trail.

Polls show Trump neck and neck against President Joe Biden, and the verdict will inflame passions as the White House race intensifies.

In addition to the New York case, Trump has been indicted in Washington and Georgia on charges of conspiring to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

He also faces charges in Florida of hoarding huge quantities of classified documents after leaving the White House.

The New York case is the only one likely to come to trial by election day.

Related Topics

Join our Telegram platform to get news update Join Now

0 Comment(s)

See this post in...

Notice

We have selected third parties to use cookies for technical purposes as specified in the Cookie Policy. Use the “Accept All” button to consent or “Customize” button to set your cookie tracking settings