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Trump trial live updates: President Trump is innocent, defense lawyer says in closing

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(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 28, 9:55 AM
Defense attacks Michael Cohen’s credibility

“It’s a paper case,” defense attorney Todd Blanche says. “This case is not about an encounter with Stormy Daniels 18 years ago. An encounter that President Trump has unequivocally and repeatedly denied ever occurred. It’s not even about a settlement in 2016.” 

“The bookings were accurate. And there was absolutely no intent to defraud,” he said. “And beyond that, there was no conspiracy to influence the 2016 election.”

Starting a PowerPoint showing the evidence, Blanche quickly seeks to made the case a referendum on the credibility of Michael Cohen, telling jurors he lied on the witness stand.

“You cannot convict President Trump of any crime beyond a reasonable doubt on the words of Michael Cohen,” Blanche said.

“He told you a number of things on that witness stand that were lies, pure and simple,” Blanche continued.

“The words that Michael Cohen said to you on that stand — they matter. He took an oath, he swore to tell the truth, and he told you a number of things on that witness stand that were lies, pure and simple,” Blanche said.

May 28, 9:47 AM
‘President Trump is innocent,’ defense lawyer says

“I’m going to start with something I can say i think with confidence … which is just to thank you. To thank you for your jury service,” defense attorney Todd Blanche told jurors to begin his closing argument.

“Each of you will decide … whether President Trump is guilty or not guilty,” he said.

All eyes in this courtroom are on Blanche. Every member of Trump’s family is looking at him. The jurors are staring at him, many with pens in their hands ready to take notes.

“President Trump is innocent,” Blanche said. “He did not commit any crimes, and the district attorney has not met their burden of proof. Period.”

May 28, 9:40 AM
Defense closings to take around 2.5 hours

Defense counsel Todd Blanche says he has a 2.5-hour closing, “maybe a little longer.”

Prosecutors say they estimate they have a 4 or 4.5-hour closing.

“Defense counsel must come up first, and the prosecutor must follow,” Judge Merchan said.

Merchan says he will ask the jury if they will work later than 4:30 p.m. to do all the closings in one day.

May 28, 9:34 AM
Proceedings underway

Judge Juan Merchan has taken his seat at the bench.

“Good morning, counsel. Good morning, Mr. Trump,” Merchan said in his normal greeting to start the proceedings.

May 28, 9:29 AM
Trump enters courtroom with several family members

Donald Trump has entered the courtroom alongside his lawyers.

Don Trump, Jr., Eric Trump, Lara Trump, and Tiffany Trump followed behind the former president and took seats in the gallery immediately behind the defense counsel table.

Today is the first time Tiffany Trump attended the trial, and it’s the largest showing of Trump family members on a single day of the trial.

Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg, also in court today, is seated behind his prosecution team.

May 28, 9:20 AM
Prosecutors, Trump arrive

Prosecutors have entered the courtroom, with Joshua Steinglass, Matthew Colangelo and Susan Hoffinger positioned behind counsel table.

Former President Trump has arrived at the courthouse.

May 28, 9:01 AM
Courtroom filled to capacity

The courtroom is filled to capacity this morning with more than 60 reporters crammed in the gallery’s wooden benches.

Over 150 members of the press and public lined up outside the courthouse this morning vying for admittance. The line appeared to be the longest of the entire trial.

The courtroom itself is a balmy 76 degrees this morning, after weeks of chilly temperatures that prompted Trump to complain about sitting in the cold conditions.

May 28, 8:32 AM
Sons, daughter expected to join Trump in court

Former President Trump is expected to be joined by a number of his children for today’s critical day in court.

Trump is set to be accompanied by his sons Eric and Don Jr., his daughter-in-law Lara Trump, and — for the first time — his daughter Tiffany, according to the Trump campaign.

It would be the largest family showing for Trump since the criminal trial began six weeks ago.

May 28, 6:56 AM
Jury to hear closing arguments

After five weeks of testimony, jurors in former President Trump’s hush money case are scheduled to hear closing arguments today.

Prosecutors with the Manhattan district attorney’s office and attorneys for Trump are both set to deliver closing statements.

Judge Juan Merchan is then expected to delivery jury instructions on Wednesday, after which jurors will begin deliberations.

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