United States: Home stretch in Trump’s criminal trial in New York

United States: Home stretch in Trump’s criminal trial in New York
United States: Home stretch in Trump’s criminal trial in New York

by Jack Queen, Luc Cohen and Andy Sullivan

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Prosecutors at the New York court where Donald Trump is on criminal trial in the case of bribes paid to former porn star Stormy Daniels, and the former president’s lawyers American present their pleadings on Tuesday to convince the 12 jurors of the guilt or not of the billionaire.

This is the first time that an American president or former president has been tried criminally.

After six weeks of trial, prosecutors will try to demonstrate that the former tenant of the White House illegally falsified documents to disguise evidence of a payment made before the 2016 presidential election in order to buy silence by Stormy Daniels. The latter claims to have had a sexual relationship ten years earlier with Donald Trump – a relationship that the latter denies.

Donald Trump’s defense will try to convince jurors that the former president is not guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt”, which implies his acquittal.

Donald Trump’s team called two witnesses to the stand during the trial in which the candidate for the November presidential election did not testify.

Donald Trump’s lawyers notably tried to discredit the testimony of Michael Cohen, the billionaire’s former lawyer who allegedly paid $130,000 to buy the porn star’s silence.

During cross-examination, Donald Trump’s lawyers questioned Michael Cohen about his past charges and prison sentences, his history of lying and his continuing animosity toward his former client. Michael Cohen also admitted to stealing money from Donald Trump’s company.

Aged 77, the former president faces up to four years in prison, although a prison sentence seems unlikely for a first conviction.

A conviction of Donald Trump would not, however, prevent him from running for president or becoming president if he were to win the race between him and the current tenant of the White House, Joe Biden. The two men are neck and neck, according to polls.

The Republican candidate also faces three other criminal cases, relating to his efforts to overturn the result of the presidential election against Joe Biden in 2020 and his handling of sensitive government documents after leaving office in 2021.

He has denounced all criminal cases against him as intended to harm him politically, while warning that he would seek to turn the Justice Department against his political adversaries, including Joe Biden, if he was coming back to the White House.

None of these three cases are expected to be judged before the presidential election.

(Written by Andy Sullivan; French version zhifan Liu, edited by Blandine Hénault)

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