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Trump trial live updates: Costello to resume testimony, defense expected to rest its case


(NEW YORK) — Former President Donald Trump is on trial in New York City, where he is facing felony charges related to a 2016 hush money payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels. It marks the first time in history that a former U.S. president has been tried on criminal charges.

Trump last April pleaded not guilty to a 34-count indictment charging him with falsifying business records in connection with a hush money payment his then-attorney Michael Cohen made to Daniels in order to boost his electoral prospects in the 2016 presidential election.

Here’s how the news is developing:

May 21, 7:29 AM
Costello to resume testimony, defense expected to rest its case

A day after Judge Judge Juan Merchan threatened to remove him from the witness stand, former federal prosecutor Robert Costello will resume his testimony this morning as the second witness in Donald Trump’s defense case.

Costello is expected to be the final defense witness before Trump’s lawyers rest their case today.

Yesterday, Costello told jurors about his meetings and phone calls with Michael Cohen in 2018 after FBI agents raided his office and hotel room. Costello advised Cohen and helped pass messages to the Trump, according to Cohen, but never formally represented him as his lawyer.

“Michael Cohen said, numerous times, that President Trump knew nothing about those payments, that he did this on his own, and he repeated that numerous times,” Costello testified about the hush money payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels that sits at the center of the case.

Cohen told the jury that he lied to Costello about Trump’s involvement in the scheme to use hush-money payments to hide information from voters.

Costello’s reactions to Judge Merchan after taking the stand yesterday afternoon — responding “jeez” to a sustained objection, rolling his eyes at the judge, and appearing to staring him down — prompted Merchan to clear the courtroom before threatening to remove Costello from the witness stand.

While defense lawyers suggested yesterday that they would not call Trump to the witness stand, they will likely have to confirm a final decision about the defendant’s testimony — or lack thereof — before they rest their case.

Judge Merchan has scheduled a charge conference at 2:15 p.m. ET to hear arguments over how to instruct the jury about the law in the case.

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