Trump trial: a “quickly done, well done” acquittal requested by his lawyers

Trump trial: a “quickly done, well done” acquittal requested by his lawyers
Trump trial: a “quickly done, well done” acquittal requested by his lawyers

A “quickly done, well done” acquittal: the defense at Donald Trump’s trial with extraordinary stakes asked jurors for the last time on Tuesday to spare him a criminal conviction with incalculable consequences in the middle of the presidential campaign.

• Read also: Who are the 12 jurors in Donald Trump’s trial?

• Read also: “A clown”: De Niro attacks Trump in New York court

“It is not a referendum on your ideas about Donald Trump (…), it is not a referendum on the one for whom you think you will vote in 2024”, launched, after three hours of pleading , the lawyer for Republican presidential candidate Todd Blanche, in New York court.

Faced with the twelve jurors, he asked to stick to “the evidence, and if you stick to that, it’s a verdict of not guilty, quickly done, well done.”

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Getty Images via AFP

At the end of this historic criminal trial, the first for a former president of the United States, the jury must decide whether or not Donald Trump was guilty of 34 falsifications of accounting documents to hide a payment of $130,000 to the porn actress Stormy Daniels, in order to avoid a sex scandal at the very end of her 2016 presidential campaign.

But, Todd Blanche assured, “there was no intention to defraud and no conspiracy to influence the 2016 election.” He listed “ten reasons to have a reasonable doubt.”

The defense notably had a final opportunity to torpedo the credibility of the number one accuser, Donald Trump’s former confidant, Michael Cohen, who became his sworn enemy.

“He’s the biggest liar of all time,” assured Todd Blanche, he’s “the embodiment of reasonable doubt.”

“Leader of the Free World”

Michael Cohen had paid the money, on the orders of his boss according to him, to Stormy Daniels, to buy her silence about a sexual relationship that she claims to have had in 2006 with the billionaire, when he was already married to his wife Melania.

An episode denied by Donald Trump, to which the actress returned at length during a shocking testimony before the jurors, evoking a consensual relationship but where the “balance of power” was “unbalanced”.

“It all started with extortion and it ended very well for Miss Daniels,” said the former president’s lawyer on the contrary.

Once Donald Trump was elected and in the White House, Michael Cohen was reimbursed using, according to the accusation, false invoices and entries disguised as “legal fees” in the accounts of his group of companies, the Trump Organization, hence the prosecution for accounting falsifications.

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“It was Michael Cohen who produced the invoices,” insisted Todd Blanche. Donald Trump, then “leader of the free world”, had bigger fish to fry than looking at the checks in detail, according to him.

“It’s absurd that the prosecution wants you to believe that he examined the checks and the invoices,” he insisted.

The defense only needs to convince one juror not to convict Donald Trump, because any guilty or acquittal verdict requires jury unanimity.

Arriving at Manhattan court, Donald Trump warned of a “dangerous day for America”, once again presenting himself as a victim of political prosecution.

At the foot of the judicial building, the famous actor Robert De Niro, a notorious anti-Trump, came to warn him against a “clown” who could become a “tyrant”.

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AFP

Prosecutors, who have yet to take the stand, will insist that through the hidden payment to Stormy Daniels, which they equate to a hidden campaign expense, Donald Trump “corrupted” the 2016 election.

Judge Juan Merchan will then entrust the fate of the case to the jurors, perhaps as early as Wednesday.

Fears

If he is found guilty, the Republican presidential candidate, 77, will be able to appeal and, in any case, appear on November 5. But with the considerable weight of a criminal conviction, while his duel with Joe Biden, 81, promises to be close.

The stakes are all the more important as this trial will probably be the only one to take place before the presidential election, among the four cases in which Donald Trump is indicted, in particular the one, of a much larger scale, on his alleged illegal attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Throughout the debates, the jurors delved behind the scenes of another presidential campaign, that of 2016, where the fear of a sex scandal seemed omnipresent, especially after the revelation of a video where we heard Donald Trump vulgarly bragging about “grabbing” women “by the pussy”.

A former tabloid boss, friend of the billionaire, told the stand that he was his “eyes and (his) ears” to chase away any embarrassing revelation, even if it meant paying a Playboy model $150,000 to keep her quiet on an affair with Donald Trump.

Here again, nothing reprehensible, assured Donald Trump’s lawyer.

“A campaign is designed to amplify the positive aspects of a candidate. It’s a campaign, not a crime,” he said.

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