Trump Faces Another Anxious Day as Jurors Resume Deliberations

Doug Mills/Reuters
Doug Mills/Reuters

The jury in Donald Trump’s hush money trial will continue deliberating Thursday morning after failing to reach a verdict on the first day of their private discussions to decide the former president’s fate.

The 12 members of the panel spent several hours deliberating for the first time Wednesday afternoon. No one knows how long the deliberations will take before jurors will reach a consensus—meaning Trump can now do nothing but wait to find out if he’ll become the first former American president to become a convicted felon.

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The current presumptive Republican nominee faces 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in relation to a $130,000 made by Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, to porn star Stormy Daniels on the eve of the 2016 election.

Prosecutors claim reimbursements to Cohen were mislabeled as legal fees in order to hide the true nature of a scheme to stop Daniels from speaking out about a sexual encounter with Trump a decade earlier, ultimately in order to unlawfully influence the 2016 election.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to the charges and denies having sex with Daniels.

On Wednesday, jurors asked Judge Juan Merchan to let them review some of the trial testimony from Cohen and David Pecker.

They specifically wanted to scrutinize what both men had said about a 2015 Trump Tower meeting in which Pecker—the former publisher of the National Enquirer—offered to be the “eyes and ears” of Trump’s campaign, identifying and burying potentially negative stories before they came to light. Prosecutors claim the arrangement was the start of the “catch and kill” scheme which is central to the case.

They also requested some of Pecker’s testimony relating to Karen McDougal, the Playboy model who was paid $150,000 by the parent company of the Enquirer to buy the rights to her claims of an extramarital affair with Trump in the mid-aughts (Trump denies the affair took place).

The jurors need to reach a unanimous decision on each of the 34 felony counts. Despite the high standard required for a conviction—guilt beyond a reasonable doubt—Trump appeared to be pessimistic about his chances Wednesday, claiming: “Mother Teresa could not beat these charges!”

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