Live Updates: Jury Deliberations Underway in Trump Hush Money Trial

Jurors received instructions and began deliberations Wednesday in the criminal hush money trial against former President Donald Trump. Newsweek has a reporter in the courtroom, follow below for live updates.

Trump: “I don’t even know what the charges are in this rigged case”

The jury has been deliberating for about an hour and a half. As deliberations are underway, former President Donald Trump has been posting on his Truth Social, including quotes from commentators, media and legal analysts.

“I don’t even know what the charges are in this rigged case—I am entitled to specificity just like anyone else,” Trump wrote. “There is no crime!”

Outside of the Manhattan Criminal Courthouse, a small group of Trump supporters has gathered .

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Alina Habba: “They’ve got no facts”

Trump legal spokesperson Alina Habba sat inside of the courtroom this morning alongside Donald Trump Jr. Habba slammed the prosecution and lack of evidence as Judge Juan Merchan was reading jury instructions.

“Prosecution took 5 hours with no crime named, no evidence given. It’s all noise and shiny balls. They’ve got no facts,” she wrote on X.

She criticized Judge Juan Merchan’s “unbelievable” behavior during closing arguments Tuesday, saying he overruled every objection from Trump’s team.

“We’re dealing with people that are either going to believe a story, it was like sitting in make-believe land with the prosecution today, or you’re going to listen to the facts,” Habba said during an interview on Fox News.

Read more from Newsweek’s Kate Plummer here.

Trump: “Mother Teresa could not beat these charges”

Former President Donald Trump just gave remarks outside of the courtroom, calling the hush money trial “rigged” as jurors began deliberations.

“I would say that listening to the charges from the judge, who’s as you know, very conflicted and corrupt… Mother Teresa could not beat these charges,” Trump said to reporters. “These charges are rigged. The whole thing is rigged. But we’ll see how we do.”

This was the former president’s first public comment following Judge Juan Merchan giving juror instructions.

Read more: Donald Trump’s Preparing for Guilty Verdict

What instructions were given to the jury?

Judge Juan Merchan spent a little over one hour giving the panel of 12 jurors instructions before they left the courtroom to begin deliberations. They include the following:

  • Cohen is an “accomplice”: Even if the jury finds the star witness’ testimony believable, they cannot convict Trump solely based on Cohen’s testimony unless there is “corroborating evidence.”
  • Second crime: New York Election Law Section 17-152: Any two or more persons who conspire to promote or prevent the election of any person to a public office by unlawful means and which conspiracy is acted upon by one or more parties.
  • “Unlawful means”: Jury can consider FECA violations, falsification of other business records and tax law violations.
  • On each count: People must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Trump personally or acted with another person to make or cause false business records from an enterprise with the intention to defraud and to conceal another crime. Jury must determine this for each of the 34 records (11 invoices, 12 vouchers and 11 checks)
  • Motive vs. intent: Prosecutors do not need to prove a motive. But they are required to prove intent, which is conscious objective or purpose.
  • Unanimity: The verdict must be unanimous among all 12 jurors.

What are the charges? Trump has been charged with 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in relation to the hush money payment made to adult film star Stormy Daniels. Trump has pleaded not guilty and denied Daniels’ allegations. The prosecution argues that the payment was part of a larger effort to interfere with the 2016 presidential election and that Trump paid Cohen back through reimbursements misrepresented as legal fees.

Jury deliberations begin

The panel of 12 jurors are now stepping out to begin deliberations in the criminal hush money trial against former President Donald Trump.

Merchan explains there is a laptop containing all of the evidence. Two jurors volunteered to learn how to use the laptop so the jury can review evidence as they deliberate.

Judge Juan Merchan thanks the alternates for remaining “very engaged” throughout the trial, noting one of them went through several notebooks. He does not dismiss them yet, in case they might be needed later on. He informs them they are to follow the same instructions he gave the jury.

Inside the courtroom: Trump got up from the defense table, hefted a big stack of papers, gave a big smile to someone at the front of the courtroom and said, “How are you?”

Judge completes jury instructions

After just over one hour, Judge Juan Merchan has finished delivering instructions to the jury. He asks counsels to approach.

Judge reads through count one

Judge Juan Merchan is now explaining to jurors what they must find in count 1 of the charges against former President Donald Trump.

In order to reach a guilty verdict, the People are required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that on or around Feb. 14, 2017, the defendant personally or acted in concert with another to make or cause false business records from an enterprise. And that defendant did so with the intention to defraud AND to conceal another crime.

A general intent to defraud any person or entity suffices to show “intent to defraud,” the judge says, so the intent doesn’t have to be aimed at a specific person or entity.

Merchan notes that knowledge of conspiracy alone does not make someone a co-conspirator. He lays out the difference between motive and intent.

Verdict: When the jury reaches a verdict, all 12 jurors will be asked to come into the courtroom. The foreperson will be asked if they’ve reached a verdict and what it is for each count.

Judge tells jurors they can’t convict solely on Cohen’s testimony

Judge Juan Merchan is nearly halfway through the jury instructions.

Merchan reminds the jury that the defendant, former President Donald Trump, is presumed to be innocent and that the burden of proof remains on the prosecution.

“The defendant is not required to prove or disprove anything,” he says. The “People have to prove every element of crime, including that defendant committed the crime.”

Merchan tells the jury that Michael Cohen is an accomplice. So even if they find his testimony believable, they cannot convict Trump solely based on Cohen’s testimony unless there’s corroborating evidence.

The judge says that for a defendant to be held criminally liable for the actions of another, the jury must find that defendant: solicited, requested, commanded or intentionally aided that person to engage in that conduct and did so with state of mind required for commission of crime.

He lays out definitions for enterprise, business records and intent, noting that intent does not require advanced planning.

In determining “unlawful means,” Merchan said jury can consider violations of FECA, falsification of other business records and violation of tax laws.

Regarding FECA: the judge lays out limits to campaign contributions and describes contribution as any purchase, payment, loan, advance made to influence an election. If payment would be made, even in absence of candidacy, it should not be considered a campaign conribution.

Regarding business records: jury can consider bank records of Michael Cohen, Resolution Consultants LLC and Essential Consultants LLC; bank records associated with Cohen’s wire to Stormy Daniels’ attorney Keith Davidson; invoice from Investor Advisory Services; and 1099 forms the Trump Organization issued to Cohen.

Regarding tax laws: Under New York state law, it is unlawful to knowingly supply or submit false information, even if it doesn’t result in underpayment of taxes.

Sen. Vance requests investigation into Judge Merchan

Senator J.D. Vance is requesting the Attorney General conduct an investigation into Judge Juan Merchan. The Ohio Republican attended the hush money trial in support of former President Donald Trump a few days ago.

“Judge Juan Merchan’s unconstitutional gag order violates President Trump’s First Amendment rights and is clearly illegal,” Vance wrote on X. “This morning, I sent a letter to the Attorney General requesting that he investigate Merchan’s actions and consider prosecution for any criminal wrongdoing. At the very least, he should issue a document retention request so that future administrations can determine whether any illegal conduct transpired.”

Trump’s eldest son, Donald Jr., shared Vance’s letter as court began this morning. Donald Jr. is back in court again today alongside Trump legal spokesperson Alina Habba.

Photos: Inside the courthouse

Former President Donald Trump smiled for cameras before court proceedings began this morning. Trump is in his usual seat between attorneys Todd Blanche and Emil Bove, and has a large stack of papers in front of him.

The former president did not deliver remarks before court, which has become routine throughout the trial. Instead, Trump gave cameras a fist bump and wave and walked into the courtroom.

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Judge begins reading jury instructions

Judge Juan Merchan begins reading the instructions to the jury.

“It is not my responsibility to judge the evidence here,” Merchan tells the jurors, “it is yours.” He reminds jurors that they promised to be fair.

Merchan explains to jurors they are being asked to make a “very important” decision about “another member of the community” and that they should not make that decision based on stereotypes or attitudes. “Justice requires no less,” he says.

Court is in session

Court is now in session. Judge Juan Merchan will instruct jurors, which is expected to take one hour.

The jury: The panel of 12 jurors who are tasked with determining former President Donald Trump’s fate in this case include seven men and five women. The jury selection process included hundreds of prospective jurors and was completed over one week. Here’s what we know about the jury.

Observation: One juror, who seems “less engaged and slightly irritable” has caused concern for former deputy assistant attorney general Harry Litman. “There’s one juror that people are worried about and I share the worry. can’t identify her or him per judge’s orders but seems less engaged and slightly irritable,” Litman wrote on X.

Read the full story from Newsweek’s Kate Plummer.

Trump en route to courthouse

Former President Donald Trump is en route to the Manhattan Criminal Courthouse ahead of jury deliberations in the hush money trial.

Trump didn’t give his usual post-court remarks after yesterday’s long day. However, he railed against the “Biden witch hunt” trial and actor Robert De Niro’s remarks on behalf of the Biden-Harris campaign in a series of Truth Social posts.

What is Trump saying this morning? The former president just posted several times on his Truth Social:

  • “THE D.A.’s OFFICE WAS ALLOWED TO GO ON WITH 5 HOURS OF BULL…. YESTERDAY. I have no rights against this Crooked Judge’s Gag Order!”
  • “Kangaroo court! A corrupt and conflicted judge. Reliance on counsel (Advise of counsel) Not allowed by Merchan, a first. His rulings, on a case that should, according to all legal scholars and experts, never have been brought, have made this a Biden pushed witch hunt. There was no crime, except for the bum that got caught stealing from me! In God we trust!”

Soon: Judge to instruct the jury

Good morning, day 22 of the criminal hush money trial against former President Donald Trump begins in about 30 minutes.

This morning, Judge Juan Merchan will spend about an hour giving the jury instructions. The panel of 12 jurors will then begin deliberations.

Schedule: Court resumes at 10 a.m. and is expected to wrap at 4:30 p.m.

Here’s a quick recap from Tuesday’s proceedings: Both sides delivered closing arguments in what was a long day at the Manhattan Criminal Courthouse, nearly 10.5 hours with several breaks.

Trump’s team delivered its closing argument first. Attorney Todd Blanche focused summations heavily on Michael Cohens’ history of lying, using discrepancies in his trial testimony as proof that he continues to lie and shouldn’t be viewed as a credible witness. Blanche told jurors that Cohen– prosecutors’ star witness– is “the human embodiment of reasonable doubt” and nicknamed the ex-fixer the “G.L.O.A.T.,” greatest liar of all time.

Prosecutor Joshua Steinglass’ closing argument was expected to take more than four hours. Steinglass told jurors to view the evidence through the “prism” of the August 2015 meeting, which was really “Three rich, powerful men high up in Trump Tower trying to become even more powerful by controlling the information that might reach the voters.”

He argued that Trump was willing to falsify business records to conceal this conspiracy, so that even though he’d have to pay Cohen $420,000 to make it look like he was paying Cohen for legal services, “it was worth it.” Steinglass argued, “It was worth it to hide the truth about what this money was really for—a reimbursement for the Daniels payment.”

Get caught up: Here’s a recap from closing arguments.

Newsweek senior reporter Katherine Fung reports from inside the courtroom.