Trump trial live updates: Prosecution could rest its case Monday morning


(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. All times Eastern:

May 20, 9:52 AM
Defense suggests Cohen had distractions dealing with Daniels

Defense attorney Todd Blanche suggested that Michael Cohen was juggling multiple other issues in October 2016, at the same time he was arranging the Stormy Daniels hush money payment.

Cohen testified that was resolving issues with his taxi medallion business, handling a loan for one of his investment properties, assisting with the National Diversity Coalition, and helping Tiffany Trump deal with an instance of extortion.

“You agree with me, right, that you had a lot going on both in your personal life and with President Trump in those first two weeks of October?” Blanche asked.

“Yes sir,” Cohen said.

Blanche also reminded jurors that Cohen was dealing with harassing phone calls at the time — referencing his line of questioning last week when he suggested Cohen lied about the purpose of a phone call to Trump’s security guard Keith Schiller on Oct. 24, 2016.

May 20, 9:43 AM
Cohen asked about communication with reporters

Defense attorney Todd Blanche opened today’s questioning by asked Cohen about his communication with reporters.

“Since that time [when your last testimony ended], how many reporters have you talked to?” Blanche asked.

Cohen said he’s spoken to reporters “who called to say hello, to see how I’m doing,” but that he didn’t talk about the case.

“Didn’t speak at all about your testimony last week?” Blanche asked.

“Correct,” Cohen responded.

As Cohen resumed his testimony, jurors appeared attentive, with several taking notes. Trump sat slouched at his chair with his eyes closed.

May 20, 9:38 AM
Michael Cohen retakes witness stand

Following the break, former Trump attorney Michael Cohen has entered the courtroom.

He took his seat in the witness box to resume his cross-examination as Trump looked on.

May 20, 9:24 AM
Attorneys conference at bench on discovery issue

Defense attorney Todd Blanche asked to approach the bench about an ongoing discovery issue.

Both legal teams leaned in as Blanche spoke to the judge.

With the sidebar completed, the judge called for a ten-minute break.

May 20, 9:09 AM
Judge won’t let defense expand expert witness’ testimony

Judge Merchan denied a request from defense lawyers to broaden the scope of testimony from their expert witness Bradley Smith, who is an expert on campaign finance regulations.

On Thursday, defense lawyers asked Merchan to allow Smith to testify about various terms related to federal campaign finance laws. Merchan denied the request, citing long standing precedent prohibiting witness testimony about the law.

“An expert is not permitted to present or interpret the law,” Merchan said.

Merchan also expressed concerns about Smith’s testimony prompting a “battle of the experts” between Smith and an expert called by prosecutors, which Merchan said would confuse the jury.

Merchan said that Smith could still testify, as long as he follows the limits imposed in his pretrial ruling on the case’s motions in limine.

“The court will monitor this testimony closely to ensure full compliance,” Merchan said in a pretrial ruling. “Any deviation from this ruling could result in sanction up to and including striking the expert’s entire testimony.”

May 20, 8:59 AM
Judge rejects defense request to admit email as evidence

Judge Merchan has begun hearing arguments about the admissibility of some defense exhibits, including an email communication between Michael Cohen and his one-time attorney Bob Costello’s law partner Jeffrey Citron.

Defense attorney Todd Blanche argued that the exhibit could be used to impeach Cohen’s testimony.

Judge Merchan said he will not allow the email into evidence. Prosecutors argued that the email was hearsay and cannot fairly offer a window into Cohen’s state of mind.

“There is another layer there of hearsay,” Merchan said about the email. “I don’t see any probative value for impeachment purposes here at all.”

May 20, 8:53 AM
Judge says summations will likely happen next Tuesday

“Good morning Mr. Trump,” Judge Juan Merchan said as he gaveled in the proceedings.

“It’s become apparent that we are not going to be able to sum up tomorrow,” the judge said after taking the bench.

Merchan said it’s more likely summations will take place next Tuesday, after procedural matters and the Memorial Day break.

“Either have a long break now or a long break then, and unfortunately the calendar is what it is,” the judge said.

May 20, 8:41 AM
Trump, prosecutors enter courtroom

Prosecutors have entered the courtroom for Day 19 of the trial.

Trump has arrived with his entourage.

Before entering, the former president addressed reporters but ignored their questions about whether he’ll testify in the trial.

May 20, 6:00 AM
Prosecution expected to rest its case Monday morning

Donald Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen returns to the witness stand Monday morning for the final time before prosecutors rest their case against the former president in his criminal hush money trial.

Prosecutors are expected to rest their case later Monday morning.

Defense attorneys have not yet declared who they plan to call to testify — including whether Trump will testify in his own defense.

Cohen, the prosecution’s last major witness, is scheduled to complete his cross-examination by Trump’s defense team Monday morning.

Proceedings are scheduled to get underway at 8:45 a.m. ET with arguments over the admission of additional exhibits, after which the jury is expected back in court at 9:30 a.m.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.