Prosecutor Wraps Up Closing Argument in Trump Trial

'This case, at its core, is about a conspiracy and a cover-up'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 28, 2024 5:00 PM CDT
Updated May 28, 2024 7:43 PM CDT
Prosecutor: Scheme Could Be What Got Trump Elected
Donald Trump returns after a lunch break during closing arguments in his hush-money trial at Manhattan criminal court in New York, Tuesday, May 28, 2024.   (Spencer Platt/Pool Photo via AP)

After defense attorney Todd Blanche delivered his closing argument in Donald Trump's hush-money trial Tuesday, focusing on Michael Cohen's dishonesty, it was the turn of the prosecution. Prosecutor Joshua Steinglass reminded jurors that Cohen—slammed by Blanche as the "MVP of liars"—was not the one on trial. "We didn't choose Michael Cohen to be our witness. We didn't pick him up at the witness store," he said, per the New York Times. Trump, he said, chose Cohen as his "fixer" because "he was willing to lie and cheat on Mr. Trump's behalf."

  • "This case is not about Michael Cohen. This case is about Donald Trump and whether he should be held accountable for making false entries in his own business records," Steinglass said. "Michael Cohen's significance in this case is that he provides color and context to documents. He's like a tour guide." He rejected defense claims that the only evidence came from Cohen's testimony, saying "it's difficult to conceive of a case with more corroboration than this one," reports NBC News.

  • The Guardian reports that Steinglass addressed the question, "Who cares if Mr. Trump slept with a porn star 10 years before the presidential election?" He said the "corrupt bargain" between Trump, Cohen, and former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker to quash stories about Stormy Daniels and others concealed information from the American people and "turned out to be one of the most valuable contributions" to Trump's campaign. "This scheme cooked up by these men, at this time, could very well be what got Donald Trump elected," Steinglass said. He described the arrangement as a "subversion of democracy," per the Washington Post.
  • Steinglass described the infamous Access Hollywood tape, which Trump dismissed as "locker room talk," as a "Category 5 hurricane" for Trump's campaign, the AP reports. "Stormy Daniels was a walking, talking reminder that the defendant wasn't only words," he said. "She would have totally undermined his strategy of spinning away the Access Hollywood tape."
  • "This case, at its core, is about a conspiracy and a cover-up," Steinglass said, per the AP. He later said, "We'll never know if this effort to hoodwink voters made the difference in the 2016 election, but that's not something we have to prove."
  • After almost five hours, Steinglass wrapped up his argument, saying, "I apologize for trading brevity for thoroughness," CNN reports.
  • In his final message to the jury, Steinglass said, "You have to put aside the distractions, the press, the politics, the noise. Focus on the evidence and the logical inference that can be drawn from that evidence."
  • Judge Juan Merchan said proceedings would resume at 10am Wednesday, the Times. The judge will give the jury instructions on the law before they begin their deliberations.
This story has been updated with new developments. (More Trump hush-money trial stories.)

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