Trump trial live updates as jury begins deliberations over verdict in “hush money” case

In the ongoing trial, former President Donald Trump is facing charges of falsifying records to conceal a $130,000 “hush money” payment made to adult film star Stormy Daniels during the 2016 election. The case revolves around the allegation that Trump and his associates subverted election law by portraying reimbursements for the payment as ongoing legal services.

Prosecutors have presented evidence detailing a broader “catch and kill” scheme aimed at suppressing negative stories about Trump during the election. Key to this strategy was David Pecker, the CEO of American Media Inc., the parent company of the National Enquirer. Pecker testified that he, Trump, and Michael Cohen devised a plan to prevent damaging stories from surfacing by buying the rights to these stories or paying individuals to keep quiet.

AMI’s involvement in purchasing stories on behalf of the campaign, according to prosecutors, constitutes an unlawful campaign contribution. In his closing argument, prosecutor Joshua Steinglass stated that this could have potentially influenced the election outcome.

The case largely focuses on documents, with witnesses such as Jeff McConney, former controller at the Trump Organization, and Deborah Tarasoff, handling the company’s payroll, testifying about allegedly falsified business records and documents. Bank records, emails, text messages, and call logs have been presented as evidence.

Two documents, allegedly bearing the handwriting of Allen Weisselberg and Jeff McConney, are considered as the “smoking guns” by the prosecution, as they lay out the repayment calculations for reimbursing Cohen. The evidence presented suggests a timeline of events, leading prosecutors to argue that the business records were falsified with Trump’s knowledge, forming part of a larger effort to aid Trump’s candidacy and prevent voters from learning about potentially damaging information before the 2016 election. The jury is currently in deliberation, awaiting a verdict on the 34 counts against Trump.