Closing arguments begin on Tuesday in Trump hush money trial

by Natalie Tomiello

Photo: Alamy

After six weeks of testimony, the New York “hush money” case against President Donald Trump is scheduled to begin closing arguments on Tuesday.

The case centers around allegations of falsifying business records in a transaction with Stormy Daniels during the 2016 election. Trump has vehemently denied the allegations and insisted there was no crime committed and no conduct that amounted to interference in the 2016 election.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office has filed 34 counts of falsifying business records against Trump. The charges are based on the allegation that Trump misidentified payments to Michael Cohen as “legal expenses” when the payments were actually reimbursements for funds paid by Cohen to Daniels.

On Tuesday, prosecutors will present closing arguments first, followed by Trump’s legal defense team.

After the presentation of closing arguments, the jury will be given instructions by Judge Juan Merchan on how to weigh the evidence in deliberation and what standards to apply in reaching a verdict. In a criminal case, the standard of proof is beyond a reasonable doubt.

The jury will be required to reach a unanimous decision on either conviction or acquittal. If convicted, a sentencing phase of the trial will follow, in which Judge Merchan will sentence Trump based on the verdict.

Prison time is a possibility if Trump is convicted. However, this type of sentence would be unlikely based on several factors, including Trump’s status as a first-time offender. Trump would also have the option to challenge the verdict on appeal.

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