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Jury reaches verdict in Donald Trump’s historic criminal trial

Trump is accused of falsifying business records to cover up a 2016 presidential election scheme. He’s the only president in American history, current or former, to stand trial on criminal charges. 

MANHATTAN (CN) — Jurors said Thursday afternoon that they have reached a verdict in Donald Trump's historic hush-money criminal trial. The announcement came just after 4:30 p.m.

The case went to the jury at around 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday. Jurors went home without coming to a verdict after four and a half hours, and resumed deliberations Thursday morning.

Trump is accused of falsifying business records to cover up a 2016 presidential election scheme. He’s the only president in American history, current or former, to stand trial on criminal charges. 

» Small group of Trump supporters gather outside court

As the jurors continued deliberating inside on Thursday, a small group of pro-Trump protesters chanted and waved "TRUMP 2024" flags outside of the courthouse. One woman held up a sign of Trump's Georgia mugshot with the caption "Never Surrender."

Tensions rose at one point, with several social media clips showing the Trump supporters colliding with an even smaller number of anti-Trump demonstrators.

Dozens of reporters on the scene outnumbered both groups, however.

Trump continued to post to Truth Social during the court’s afternoon lunch break, calling the trial a “crooked Joe Biden witch hunt” and complaining that the proceedings are keeping him from the campaign trail.

» Court rereads testimony and jury instructions

At the request of the jurors, Merchan reread his instructions about how they are to consider evidence and what can be inferred from it. Trump leaned back deep in his chair, eyes shut.

Afterward, court stenographers read aloud portions of trial testimony requested by the jury. They started with David Pecker, the former CEO of American Media, revisiting parts of his testimony regarding Trump’s involvement in buying silence from Karen McDougal — the former Playboy model who claimed to have had a yearlong affair with Trump.

“I still believe that we should take this story off the market,” Pecker said he told told Trump.

The jury took a particular interest in the infamous 2015 Trump Tower meeting where prosecutors say the hush-money scheme was hatched. They requested readbacks of testimony about that meeting from both Pecker and Michael Cohen, Trump’s ex-fixer.

Pecker testified that he told Trump he would be the “eyes and ears” of his presidential campaign, agreeing to buy and kill stories that could hurt his White House odds. Cohen echoed that sentiment in his own testimony. He claimed that, at that meeting, Pecker told him that he could keep an eye out for negative press and “try to stop it from coming out.”

Jurors sent the court another note Thursday morning, asking for headphones to listen to evidence. Merchan and counsel agreed to give them the headphones for their court-issued laptop, and offered the jurors speakers as well.

» ‘Here we go again,’ Trump tells reporters

Trump strolled into court just before 9:30 a.m., flanked by a noticeably smaller entourage than Wednesday. Gone was his group of family members and political allies present in days past. Eric Trump was in attendance, however, seated in the front row of the gallery just a few feet behind his father.

“Here we go again,” Trump told reporters outside of the courtroom.

As he has done repeatedly throughout the trial, Trump read quotes from conservative political commentators criticizing the merits of the case. He also lambasted the judge’s gag order against him.

Live coverage from the trial will be updated throughout the day. This story was last updated at 5:02 p.m.

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Categories / Criminal, National, Politics, Trials

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