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Final acts at the extraordinary trial of Donald Trump, the defense pleads for acquittal

Photo: Julia Nikhinson Getty Images/Agence France-Presse Donald Trump upon his arrival at Manhattan court

Gregory Walton – Agence France-Presse and Andréa Bambino – Agence France-Presse in New York

Posted at 1:29 p.m.

  • United States

Donald Trump is 'innocent and committed no crime': Former US president's lawyers asked jurors in his trial for the final time Tuesday to spare him a criminal conviction with incalculable consequences in the middle of the presidential campaign.

Upon arriving at Manhattan court, the November 5 Republican presidential candidate warned of a “dangerous day for America,” once again portraying himself as a victim of political prosecution.

At the end of this historic criminal trial, the first for a former president of the United States, the 12 jurors will have to decide whether or not Donald Trump is guilty of 34 falsifications of accounting documents to hide a $130,000 payment to porn actress Stormy Daniels to avoid a sex scandal at the tail end of her 2016 presidential campaign.

But for his lead lawyer, Todd Blanche, “there was no intent to defraud and no conspiracy to influence the 2016 election.” “It’s a not guilty verdict, pure and simple,” he insisted.

The defense has a final opportunity to torpedo the credibility of the number one accuser, Donald Trump's former confidant, Michael Cohen, who has become his sworn enemy.

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“Head of the free world”

The latter had paid the money, on the orders of his boss, to Stormy Daniels, to buy her silence about a sexual relationship she claims to have had in 2006 with the billionaire, when he was already married to his wife Melania.

An episode that Donald Trump denies but to which the actress returned at length during a shocking testimony before the jurors, during which she spoke of a consensual relationship but where the “balance of power” was “unbalanced”.

Once Donald Trump was elected and in the White House, Michael Cohen was reimbursed using, according to the prosecution, false invoices and entries disguised as “legal fees” in the accounts of his group of companies, the Trump Organization, hence the prosecution for accounting falsifications.

“It was Michael Cohen who produced the invoices” , insisted Todd Blanche, for whom Donald Trump, then “leader of the free world”, had bigger fish to fry than looking at the checks in detail.

“He was president of the United States. “It's absurd that the prosecution wants you to believe that he examined the checks and the invoices,” he insisted.

The defense does not needs to convince only one juror not to convict Donald Trump, because any verdict of guilty or acquittal requires jury unanimity.

If the jurors fail to reach an agreement, the trial will be canceled and re-started.

The prosecutors, who must speak after the defense, will insist that through this hidden payment, which they liken to a hidden campaign expense, Donald Trump “corrupted” the 2016 election. The prosecution anticipates that his indictment will last more than 4 hours.

Judge Juan Merchan will then entrust jurors, perhaps as early as Wednesday, with the difficult task of deciding whether they find the former American head of state guilty or not guilty.


If found guilty, the 77-year-old Republican presidential candidate will be able to appeal and, in any case, appear on November 5. But with the considerable weight of a criminal conviction, while his duel with Joe Biden, 81, promises to be close.

The stakes are all the more important that this trial will probably be the only one to take place before the presidential election, among the four cases in which Donald Trump is indicted, in particular the one, of a much larger scale, on his alleged illegal attempts to overturn the results of the presidential election of 2020.

Throughout the debates, the jurors delved behind the scenes of another presidential campaign, that of 2016, where the fear of a sex scandal seemed omnipresent, especially after the revelation of a video where we heard Donald Trump vulgarly bragging about “grabbing” women “by the pussy”.

A former tabloid boss, friend of the billionaire, told the witness that he was his “eyes and (his) ears” to chase away any embarrassing revelation, even if it means paying a Playboy model $150,000 to keep quiet about an affair with Donald Trump.

Here again, nothing reprehensible, assured Donald Trump's lawyer.

“A campaign is designed to amplify the positive aspects of a candidate. This is a campaign, not a crime,” he said.

Robert de Niro attacks Trump

Robert De Niro appeared by surprise in front of the cameras on Tuesday near the New York court to attack Donald Trump, a “clown” who could become a “tyrant”, the actor taking up the cause of Joe Biden in the middle of the presidential campaign .

“This is my neighborhood,” the Hollywood legend said on a piece of sidewalk. “I love this city, I don’t want to destroy it. Donald Trump not only wants to destroy this city, but the country, and ultimately he could destroy the world,” fumed this longtime opponent of the former Republican president.

This speech was organized by the campaign team of Democratic President Joe Biden while at the same time, a stone's throw away, Donald Trump was listening to his lawyers plead for his acquittal at his criminal trial.

An intervention obviously intended to capture a moment of media attention for the Democrats, while the Republican billionaire speaks in front of the cameras every day of his trial to denounce a political “witch hunt”.

Qualifying the Republican candidate as a “clown”, Robert de Niro, 80, recalled: “When Trump ran in 2016, it was like a joke, a buffoon running for president. »

But “we have forgotten the lessons of history, which show us that other clowns were not taken seriously until they became ferocious dictators,” said he emphasized.

“With Trump, we have a second chance, and no one is laughing anymore. We have a unique opportunity to stop him by voting against him, once and for all,” insisted the actor, who will appear in an ad for the Democrat’s campaign.

“The only way to preserve our freedoms and maintain our humanity is to vote for Joe Biden,” he said in front of a swarm of microphones, while a horn sounded insistently in the street.

Gray shirt, black jacket and sunglasses, the giant of Taxi Driver and Freedmen spoke alongside two police officers present during the attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021. Harry Dunn and Michael Fanone, injured during the assault and who have since left the police force, are “of real heroes”, according to the actor.

Harry Dunn is one of three police officers present that day in Washington who will campaign for Joe Biden for the November presidential election, his campaign team said on Tuesday.< /p>

Donald Trump “continues to support political violence, going so far as to say there will be a 'massacre' if he loses the election again and that he will be a dictator from 'day one' in office », alerted Harry Dunn, unsuccessful candidate in the Democratic primaries in Maryland for an elected seat in Congress.

France Media Agency

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116