‘I can’t rest’: Donald Trump decides not to appear in the secret money trial | US News

Donald Trump did not take the stand in his hush money trial as jurors could begin deliberating whether he is guilty or not next week.

Mr TrumpThe 77-year-old is accused of falsifying business records for money payments to the porn star to maintain his silence. Stormy Daniel in the run-up to his 2016 presidential campaign.

But on day 20 of the trial, the former president’s defense rested without calling him to the stand. Instead, former federal prosecutor Roberto Costello He was called as the last witness.

Follow the latest: Defense suspends case without calling Trump

Judge Juan Merchán said he expects final arguments to be made on May 28. Jurors have been dismissed until then and could begin deliberating next week to decide whether Trump is guilty or not.

Since the start of the trial in April, Trump had stated that he would testify in his own defense even though it was rare for defendants to do so.

Sketch of Donald Trump in the courtroom on May 21, 2024. Photo: Reuters
“(Testing) would have been crazy for the defense team,” Trump said Tuesday. Photo: Reuters

The former president also falsely claimed that a gag order imposed on him by Judge Merchán prevented him from speaking in court.

‘We’ll rest pretty quickly’

Sky News US correspondent James Matthews also heard Trump tell reporters before Tuesday’s proceedings: “We’ll rest pretty quickly. I won’t rest.”

“I don’t rest, sometimes I would like to rest but I can’t rest.”

Analysis: The verdict could come by the end of next week, but there is still a big question to answer first

If we look at the calendar, we could have a verdict by the end of next week. With the prosecution and defense resting, the court has begun to contemplate the conclusion of the case.

On Tuesday there were discussions about the instructions the judge will give the jury when its 12 members are sent to consider a verdict.

Prosecutors brought this case to court for willful falsification of business records, a misdemeanor. That rises to a felony if they can prove it was an act intended to conceal information from voters that could have impacted their chances in the 2016 election.

The exact crime in question will crystallize in discussions between the judge, the prosecution and the defense. A three-way conference in the courtroom will shape the instructions given to the jury, one last job for the judge next week before sending them to deliberate.

It is the business of criminal prosecution, the practicalities of American justice that underpin this process. As things stand, closing arguments (summaries) could begin next Tuesday, with the jury convening shortly thereafter.

As for witnesses, he was deprived of a grand finale when Donald Trump refused to testify, as he had said he would.

“We’ll rest pretty quickly,” he said. “I won’t rest. I don’t rest. Sometimes I would like to rest, but I can’t rest.”

It was a statement before the cameras in the hallway of the court building. The rest is history, like everything else in this significant trial.

The prosecution alleges that the former president attempted to cover up a payment of $130,000 to Ms. Daniels, who He told the court that he had a “sexual encounter” with Trump at a celebrity golf outing in Lake Tahoe in July 2006.

Stormy Daniels is questioned by prosecutor Susan Hoffinger.  Reuters Photo
Trump is accused of falsifying business records about money payments to Stormy Daniels to maintain her silence. Photo: Reuters

Although paying hush money itself is not illegal, the former president faces 34 counts of falsifying business records to conceal his repayment from his former lawyer. Michael Cohenwho initially paid for the transaction.

Cohen testified that several invoices, checks and stubs were false records to cover payments to Ms. Daniels, and stated that none of them were for work performed in the months to which they corresponded.

Trump has pleaded not guilty. His attorneys say there was nothing criminal about the deal with Daniels or the way Cohen was paid.

Cohen lied under oath

The former president’s defense has also attempted to discredit Cohen, who admitted during the trial that he lied under oath.

Defense attorney Todd Blanche said Monday: “There is no way the court is going to let this case go to the jury based on Cohen’s testimony.”

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Michael Cohen leaves home to testify at the criminal trial of Republican presidential candidate and former US President Donald Trump in New York.  Reuters Photo
Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, testified that several invoices, checks and stubs were false records. Photo: Reuters

Trump’s lawyers also requested that Judge Merchan dismiss the case before jury deliberations, arguing that there was no evidence that Trump committed the crimes.

The judge did not immediately rule on the defense request.

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And speaking outside the courtroom after the defense rested, Donald Trump Jr. He defended his father’s decision not to testify and reiterated that the trial is politically motivated.

“Why would you justify this madness? You don’t submit to that. You are in an illegal court, nothing more, nothing less,” he said.

“There is absolutely no reason or justification to do that. Everyone sees it as a farce.”