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Day 21 of Trump’s secret trial in New York

Former U.S. President Donald Trump returns to court for his secret trial at Manhattan Criminal Court on Tuesday (May 28) in New York.
Former U.S. President Donald Trump returns to court for his secret trial at Manhattan Criminal Court on Tuesday (May 28) in New York. Julia Nikhinson/Pool/Getty Images

The defense and prosecution made closing arguments at Donald Trump’s secret trial in New York, spending many hours late Tuesday evening offering the jury diametrically opposed stories about the payment made to Stormy Daniels in October 2016 and the subsequent repayment to Cohen the following year. .

Prosecutors told jurors Tuesday they saw a “mountain of evidence” proving Trump falsified business records to cover up a damaging story about an alleged affair late in the 2016 election. he criminal case against the former president rested entirely on the testimony of Michael Cohen – the “MVP of liars” who wants to go after Trump.

Which narrative the jury decides could ultimately decide Trump’s legal fate.

Here are some of the takeaways from Day 21 of the hush money trial:

The defense argues that jurors cannot convict based on Michael Cohen’s words: Todd Blanche stood first, and he spent much of his two-hour closing argument attacking the credibility of Cohen, Trump’s former fixer.

  • He accused Cohen of lying directly to the jury, in addition to the lies for which he was convicted. Cohen lied so much, according to Blanche, that he should be considered the Tom Brady of lying – the “GLOAT” or “greatest liar of all time.”
  • Blanche focused on Cohen’s claims about her phone call with Trump on October 24, 2016. Cohen testified that Trump’s bodyguard, Keith Schiller, put Trump on the phone so Cohen could tell him he was going to moving forward with paying Daniels.
  • Blanche told the jury it was clear they were talking about the teenage prankster because Cohen hung up and texted Schiller about the situation, then continued the next morning. “It’s perjury,” Blanche said, raising her voice while slowly emphasizing each syllable of the last word.

The prosecution defends Cohen but says the matter doesn’t end there: For 4 hours and 41 minutes, Assistant Prosecutor Joshua Steinglass pushed back against Blanche’s attacks, arguing that there was ample corroboration of Cohen’s testimony, both from documents and testimony from others, particularly former AMI leader David Pecker.

  • Steinglass attempted to refute Blanche’s allegations regarding the October 24, 2016 call with a bit of role-playing and staged a theoretical call that Cohen could have made when speaking to both Schiller and Trump . “These guys know each other well. They speak in coded language and they speak fast,” Steinglass said of Cohen and Trump.
  • Steinglass also focused on Pecker’s testimony to help bolster Cohen’s credibility, for example showing that Cohen’s story was corroborated by Pecker’s description of a phone call with Trump about the story by Karen McDougal in June 2016.
  • He also took jurors through all the documents and testimony they heard during the six-week trial, starting with the Trump Tower meeting in 2015 to Trump’s pressure on Cohen in 2018 before until Cohen begins cooperating with federal investigators and pleads guilty. “The aim of the game was the cover-up, and all roads inevitably lead to the man who benefited the most, the accused, former President Donald J. Trump,” he said.

And after: Now that closing arguments are complete, the panel of seven men and five women is expected to begin its deliberations on Wednesday.