Trump hush money trial could end next week


A judge on Thursday said attorneys could begin delivering closing arguments in former President Donald Trump‘s hush money trial as early as Tuesday, clearing the way for the jury to begin deliberating on Trump’s fate by the end of the week.

The schedule, if it holds, would mean a verdict on whether Trump falsified business records could also come by the end of next week, but jury deliberations could stretch for days if needed.

Judge Juan Merchan initially estimated that the trial, which began April 15, would last six to eight weeks, putting it on track to end slightly ahead of schedule.

Trump’s attorney Todd Blanche said when court proceedings ended on Thursday that he planned to conclude his cross-examination of the prosecution’s final witness, Michael Cohen, by Monday morning, according to reports from the courtroom.

From there, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s team will have an opportunity to ask Cohen follow-up questions, and then the trial will flip to the defense to present its side of the case. Blanche indicated that Trump’s team might only call one witness to the stand, former Federal Election Commission Chairman Bradley Smith.

Smith is expected to speak about campaign finance laws, as Trump is facing allegations that he conspired to violate those laws by paying hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 presidential election. Merchan has severely limited Smith to talking only in general terms and not specifically about Trump.

Trump has not testified, and Blanche said he is unsure whether Trump will take the stand next week.

While the former president said several times ahead of his trial that he planned to testify, a decision by Merchan to permit prosecutors to question Trump about some of his unrelated legal troubles, including that he was found liable for business fraud in an unrelated trial, presented a dilemma for Trump.


Trump is facing 34 counts of falsifying business records to conceal the payment to Daniels, though prosecutors have struggled throughout the case to demonstrate that Trump had detailed knowledge of the process of paying Daniels. Evidence has shown that Cohen made the payment and that former Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg oversaw the bookkeeping elements of it.

Before jury deliberations, Merchan will instruct the jury on how to assess the charges, and from there, jurors must reach a unanimous decision. If they cannot, Merchan would declare a mistrial.

Related Content

Related Content