Trump trial jury set to begin deliberating verdict today after judge issues instructions

The jury in Donald Trump’s criminal trial in New York is set to begin deliberations Wednesday, marking the beginning of the end of the first criminal trial against a former president in U.S. history.

The 12 Manhattan residents will be tasked with reaching a unanimous verdict on each of the 34 felony counts of falsification of business records that Trump faces. Prosecutors allege he disguised the purpose of a year’s worth of reimbursements to his attorney Michael Cohen, who paid $130,000 in “hush money” to adult film star Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election. Trump has pleaded not guilty.

Before deliberations get underway, Justice Juan Merchan, the judge overseeing the trial, will issue crucial instructions to the jury, laying out the legal issues they must consider and the conclusions they must reach to find Trump guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The judge mostly sided with prosecutors during a hearing last week over what exactly those instructions will entail.

On Tuesday, lawyers on both sides of the case presented their closing arguments in the Manhattan courtroom where the trial has unfolded over the past six weeks. Trump’s attorney Todd Blanche took direct aim at Cohen, saying his testimony was littered with lies and claiming that he acted on his own when he made the payment to Daniels. Blanche argued that there were plenty of reasons to doubt the story told by prosecutors, and said their case hinged on Cohen’s unreliable testimony.

Joshua Steinglass, a prosecutor for the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, said that Cohen was far from a perfect witness, but asked jurors to focus on the documents that he said corroborate his account. He portrayed Trump as a micromanager who would not have signed $35,000 checks to Cohen if he did not know their true purpose.

Court reconvenes at 10 a.m.

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