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What is the New York election law at the center of Trumps hush money trial?

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(NEW YORK) — As the jury in former President Donald Trump’s hush money trial continues to deliberate on his multiple charges, one of the key factors in play is New York state election law.

Manhattan prosecutors allege that Trump falsified business records in furtherance of another crime, elevating the crime to a Class E felony.

“Under our law, a person is guilty of falsifying business records in the first degree when, with intent to defraud that includes an intent to commit another crime or to aid or conceal the commission thereof, that person makes or causes a false entry in the business records of an enterprise,” Merchan told the jury.

Merchan told jurors that the prosecutors only need to prove that Trump had the intent to commit or conceal another crime, rather than prove the other crime was committed or aided.

Prosecutors allege that Trump falsified the records to hide a violation of New York Election Law Section 17-152 – a rarely used law that prohibits groups from using unlawful means to influence an election.

“Under our law, a person is guilty of such a conspiracy when, with intent that conduct be performed that would promote or prevent the election of a person to public office by unlawful means, he or she agrees with one or more persons to engage in or cause the performance of such conduct,” he said.

Prosecutors offered three theories about the unlawful means — a tax crime, falsification of bank records or campaign finance violations. According to Merchan, the jury does not need to agree which of the three unlawful means was employed to convict the former president.

“Although you must conclude unanimously that the defendant conspired to promote or prevent the election of any person to a public office by unlawful means, you need not be unanimous as to what those unlawful means were,” Merchan told jurors.

Trump and his attorneys have maintained that payments to reimburse attorney Michael Cohen for paying off adult film actress Stormy Daniels were not illegal.

The former president has pleaded not guilty to a 34-count indictment charging him with falsifying business records in connection with the payment.

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