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Trump trial live updates: Jury begins second day of deliberations

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(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:

May 30, 9:54 AM
Judge begins rereading jury instructions

The jury entered the courtroom, and Judge Merchan began by reading back their two notes from yesterday.

In preparation for the reading of the transcript, the judge said, "We are ready to read it back to you in one minute."

Trump, at the defense table, briefly looked over at the jury.

Asked by Merchan whether they wanted the transcript or instructions first, the jury foreman responded to Merchan in open court that the jury would like the "Instructions first."

Merchan then began rereading the instructions, beginning on page 6.

May 30, 9:44 AM
Jury wants readback on how to consider evidence

"We did receive another note" from the jury this morning, Judge Merchan said.

According to Merchan, the jury wants the readback to begin with a description of how the jury should consider that evidence, and what should be drawn from the testimony.

Second, the jury said they want headphones "for use with the evidence laptop."

Merchan says the jury will get both headphones and a speaker so they can listen to the evidence.

May 30, 9:40 AM
Proceedings are underway

Judge Juan Merchan took his seat on the bench and began the day's proceedings.

After introductions from the lawyers, Merchan said his usual, "Good morning, Mr. Trump."

Before Merchan entered the courtroom, one of the court officers left a document on the bench and handed copies to both parties.

May 30, 9:21 AM
Trump, prosecutors arrive

Former President Trump has entered the courthouse for the day's proceedings.

The prosecution team has arrived in the courtroom. Prosecutor Josh Steinglass was seen reviewing documents with a court reporter.

May 30, 8:57 AM
Court staff preparing binders for readback testimony

Ahead of the start of deliberations this morning, court stenographers are sorting through seven enormous transcript binders that are scattered around the jury box.

With the jury requesting readbacks of testimony, the transcripts are set to play a key role in this morning's proceedings.

About 60 members of the press are packed into the gallery ahead of the proceedings.

May 30, 8:21 AM
Trump team hoping for a hung jury, say sources

As jurors begin their second day of deliberations, Trump's legal team feels that the longer the jury deliberates, the more they're hoping for a hung jury, sources told ABC News.

Trump's lawyers see the requests the jury has made to rehear testimony from the case as a mixed bag, the sources said -- not positive news that jurors wanted to rehear former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker's testimony, but at the same time feeling optimistic that jurors requested portions of Michael Cohen's transcript.

Trump's attorneys are looking for any indication that the jury will probe issues surrounding Cohen's credibility, which cuts to the core of their defense, according to the sources.

"We want chaos ... we want evidence of strong disagreements," one person close to Trump's legal team said regarding the jury, signaling their hope that at least one juror will raise doubts about the theories presented by the prosecution.

May 30, 7:18 AM
Jury to begin second day of deliberations

The jury in Donald Trump's criminal trial will return to court this morning for their second day of deliberations in the historic case.

After receiving instructions on the law from the judge yesterday morning, the jurors deliberated the case for four and a half hours and sent back two notes, asking to listen to testimony from two key witnesses in the case and to rehear the judge's instructions on the law.

The jury requested to rehear former National Enquirer David Pecker's testimony about a June 2016 phone call with Trump regarding the tabloid's response to a potential story about former Playboy model Karen McDougal's alleged year-long affair with Trump --- which he has denied --- as well as Pecker's decision about allocating the rights to her story.

Jurors also requested to hear both Pecker and Michael Cohen's testimony about the August 2015 Trump Tower meeting where the plan to catch and kill negative stories originated.

Judge Juan Merchan estimated that the entire readback will take approximately 35 minutes, and he also asked the jury to clarify this morning which portion of the instruction they would like read back.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Lawyers in Trump's hush money case hoping long deliberations lead to hung jury: Sources

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(NEW YORK) -- As jurors begin their second day of deliberations in former President Donald Trump's criminal hush money case Thursday, sources say Trump's legal team feels that the longer the jury deliberates, the more they're hoping for a hung jury.

The former president is facing 34 counts of falsifying business records in connection with a hush money payment his then-attorney Michael Cohen made to Stormy Daniels in order to boost his electoral prospects in the 2016 presidential election. Trump has denied all wrongdoing.

Trump's lawyers see the requests the jury has made to rehear testimony from the case as a mixed bag, the sources said -- not positive news that jurors wanted to rehear former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker's testimony, but at the same time feeling optimistic that jurors requested portions of Cohen's transcript.

The jury requested to rehear Pecker's testimony about a June 2016 phone call with Trump regarding the tabloid's response to a potential story about former Playboy model Karen McDougal's alleged year-long affair with Trump --- which he has denied --- as well as Pecker's decision about allocating the rights to her story.

They also requested to hear both Pecker and Cohen's testimony about the August 2015 Trump Tower meeting where the plan to catch and kill negative stories originated.

Trump's lawyers are looking for any indication that the jury will probe issues surrounding Cohen's credibility, which cuts to the core of their defense, according to the sources.

"We want chaos ... we want evidence of strong disagreements," one person close to Trump's legal team said regarding the jury, signaling their hope that at least one juror will raise doubts about the theories presented by the prosecution.

While it wouldn't be surprising to Trump's team for there to be a verdict Thursday, their hope is that deliberations will extend into next week as an indication there could be serious doubts among jury members that could result in a hung jury, the sources said.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Judge largely denies Scott Peterson DNA testing request in bid to prove innocence

In this July 9, 2003, file photo, Scott Peterson listens during a pretrial hearing in Stanislaus Superior Court, in Modesto, Calif. (Al Golub-Pool/Getty Images)

(NEW YORK) -- A California judge largely denied a motion by Scott Peterson's defense team for new or additional DNA testing in his case, as the Los Angeles Innocence Project seeks evidence proving he didn't murder of his wife and unborn child.

The LA Innocence Project, which took up Scott Peterson's case last year, had requested 14 items be tested or retested for DNA. On Wednesday, a judge in San Mateo County denied the request for all but one item -- the duct tape recovered from the pants of his wife, Laci Peterson, at the time of her autopsy.

An excised portion of that tape was DNA tested in 2003 and shown to have human DNA present but the "DNA was not of an acceptable quality to generate a profile" at that time, the motion stated.

Laci Peterson, who was 27 years old and eight months pregnant, disappeared on Christmas Eve in 2002. Her body was found in the San Francisco Bay in April 2003.

Scott Peterson, 51, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder in the death of his wife and second-degree murder in the death of their unborn son. He was convicted in 2004 and sentenced to death in 2005. He was later sentenced to life in prison without parole.

During the hourslong motion hearing in San Mateo County on Wednesday, the Los Angeles Innocence Project argued there is no forensic evidence that supports Scott Peterson having killed his wife and their unborn child, while prosecutors stood by the original ruling.

"The defendant’s argument is that there’s a fundamental fairness request that requires this testing. The argument is flawed and legally incorrect," David Harris, the original trial prosecutor from Stanislaus County, told the court. "The defendant says that the prosecution should want to know, an attempt to shame us into agreeing to this test. The people know the truth -- we know that Scott Peterson is guilty of, and has been convicted of, the murder of his wife and unborn son."

Attorneys with the LA Innocence Project have claimed that Scott Peterson's state and federal constitutional rights were violated, including a "claim of actual innocence that is supported by newly discovered evidence," according to court documents filed in January.

His attorneys are also seeking dozens of items they say they could not locate after reviewing the trial files from his prior counsel "after a thorough search," according to court filings. The items include evidence from the investigations into a December 2002 burglary of a home across the street from the Petersons' house in Modesto in Stanislaus County, Laci Peterson's missing Croton watch, and a van fire in the Airport District on Dec. 25, 2002, according to the filings. They are also seeking documents from interviews with several witnesses.

The motion for post-trial discovery is scheduled to be discussed in court on July 15.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Bystander shot in gunfire exchange between suspect, police at Kroger grocery store near Cincinnati

Shelby Tauber/Bloomberg via Getty Images

(CINCINNATI) -- A bystander was shot as a suspect and police exchanged gunfire at a Kroger grocery store just outside of Cincinnati, on Wednesday, police said.

Authorities were dispatched to the Kroger on Springdale Road just before 4 p.m. ET following a report of "shots fired," according to the Colerain Police Department in Colerain Township, Ohio.

A suspect was outside the store as officers approached, Colerain Township Police Chief Ed Cordie told reporters Wednesday night. The suspect then pointed the weapon at officers "and gunfire ensued," he said. The suspect then retreated into the store.

After various early and conflicting reports from police, law enforcement ultimately confirmed that one bystander had been injured in the gunfire exchange between the suspect and police, the chief said.

During the incident, the suspect was also struck and taken into custody, he added.

Both the bystander and suspect are expected to survive their injuries, he said.

The Kroger location was shutdown following the incident.

"We're making sure everything is processed correctly before allowing people back in," Colerain Police Department PIO Jim Love said Wednesday afternoon, adding, "The store's cameras will be crucial for the investigation."

Love noted that the Springfield Road Kroger location is one of the busiest in the township, saying, "To have shots fired in the middle of the day here is a big deal."

An investigation is ongoing.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Trump trial: First day of deliberations wraps with no verdict

Creativeye99/Getty Images

(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:

May 29, 6:19 PM
Trump, exiting court, rails against charges

Former President Trump, exiting the courtroom, again claimed to reporters that no one knows the crime he's been charged with.

"Nobody knows what the crime is. The DA didn't name the crime. They don't know what the crime is," Trump falsely claimed, despite District Attorney Alvin Bragg reading all 34 counts during Trump's arraignment last year and the judge in the case reviewing each one during jury instructions yesterday.

"It's a disgrace," Trump said of the case. "This thing ought to be ended immediately. The judge ought to end it to save his reputation."

May 29, 5:26 PM
Court ends for day after judge says he'll mull requested testimony

Prosecutor Josh Steinglass walked Judge Merchan through each of the disputed portions of the transcript regarding the 2016 Trump Tower meeting, detailing the page and line number for each disputed portion that the jury had requested be read back.

For some of the portions, defense attorney Todd Blanche expressed concern about providing too much information -- not just regarding the topic of the meeting but its repercussions -- while Steinglass argued that some of the testimony could create confusion for the jury.

"This issue is both confusing and difficult to correct," Steinglass said.

Merchan said that "for the sake of time," he would take the transcript with him after the proceedings conclude and make a decision.

Told about about another dispute, Merchan said, "I will take this with me into chambers and let you know what I think."

He then stepped off the bench and told the parties he would see them at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow.

Trump rose from his seat, looking tired, and exited the courtroom with his entourage.

May 29, 5:12 PM
Merchan returns to help sort out requested testimony

Judge Merchan returned to the bench to check on how the search for the jury's requested readback material was coming.

"Where do we stand?" the judge asked.

Prosecutor Josh Steinglass said there were a "few outstanding issues" requiring Merchan's intervention.

Steinglass said the parties were in agreement about three of the four requests, but disagreed over the relevant portion of the transcript regarding David's Pecker's testimony about the 2016 Trump Tower meeting.

Steinglass said the lawyers disagreed over whether the jury should hear a portion of Pecker's testimony regarding what he relayed about the meeting to then-National Enquirer editor Dylan Howard.

"We tried to draw a line between the substance of the meeting and the execution," Steinglass told the judge.

"I can see why Mr. Blanche has some concerns about most of this," Merchan said after reviewing that portion of the transcript himself.

May 29, 4:59 PM
Search for readback material continues

Prosecutors Josh Steinglass and Susan Hoffinger, and defense attorneys Todd Blanche and Emil Bove continued to hash out the relevant portion of the transcript for tomorrow's readback as requested by the jury.

After spending about half an hour in his waiting area, Donald Trump returned to the courtroom.

He entered alongside his son Don Jr. and took a seat at the defense table as the attorneys continued to pore over the material.

May 29, 4:16 PM
Judge confers with attorneys on readback material

After dismissing the jury for the day, Judge Merchan asked the lawyers not to leave the courtroom until they decide the portion for the jury's requested readback.

"Yes, your honor," defense attorney Todd Blanche responded.

As the lawyers met with Merchan at the bench, Trump leaned back in his seat at the defense table, with his arm resting on the top of his chair.

Blanche asked if Trump could return the his waiting area while the attorneys searched for the readback material.

Merchan said he would allow it as long as Trump remained nearby in case he is needed.

Trump slowly walked out of the courtroom, scowling as he left.

May 29, 4:09 PM
Judge says jury notes will be addressed tomorrow

With the just back in the courtroom, Judge Merchan told them the requested readback of testimony would will take at least half an hour, so announced he would dismiss the jury for the day and address both their notes when they return tomorrow.

Before dismissing the jury for the day, the judge emphasized his standard instruction about the jury not looking up information related to the trial.

"You are at a critical point in the proceedings," Merchan said.

"See you tomorrow morning at 9:30," the judge said before the jury exited the courtroom.

May 29, 3:59 PM
Jury asks to rehear judge's instructions

Judge Merchan, returning to the bench, announced, "We did just receive another note."

The judge said the jury wants to rehear the judge's instructions.

Merchan suggested bringing them back to clarify if they want the entire instructions or just a portion.

May 29, 3:56 PM
Prosecutors said Trump Tower meeting was central to case

In his closing argument yesterday, prosecutor Josh Steinglass framed the 2016 Trump Tower meeting, for which the jury requested the transcript, as central to the case.

"That was the whole purpose of the Trump Tower meeting, to get AMI to help [Trump] win the election," Steinglass told the jurors, claiming that "the Trump Tower conspiracy violated New York state election law."

Defense attorney Todd Blanche, in his closing, pushed back on the significance of the meeting, saying it was AMI merely agreeing to do what it had done for decades.

"They had been doing it for President Trump since the Nineties," Blanche said of the arrangement to catch and kill unflattering stories. "Mr. Pecker told you that AMI purchases stories all the time.

"They purchased stories about Tiger Woods, Mark Wahlberg and other people. No crime," Blanche said.

May 29, 3:42 PM
Requested testimony centers on McDougal payment

The phone call between Trump and then-National Enquirer publisher David Pecker, which the jury requested be read back, involved an alleged discussion about Playboy model Karen McDougal, who alleged a year-long affair with Trump that Trump has denied.

"With all of the evidence and documents in this case, it's easy to lose sight of the significance of this phone call," prosecutor Josh Steinglass told jurors during his closing argument yesterday.

Steinglass argued that the call proved that Trump "was overtly discussing purchasing [McDougal's] story to keep it from being published" -- and that it also proved that Michael Cohen was telling the truth when he said he was acting at the direction of Trump.

"This call makes it impossible for the defense to claim that Cohen was acting on his own, that he was taking it upon himself to work with AMI to purchase the McDougal story," Steinglass told the jurors.

May 29, 3:24 PM
Court prepares for readback of requested testimony

"I will be in the robing room -- let me know when you are ready for readback," Judge Merchan said after the jury requested a review of four pieces of testimony from Michael Cohen and David Pecker.

Merchan then left the courtroom.

A court reporter dropped a 12-inch stack of transcripts on the prosecution counsel table then handed an index to the prosecutors.

Trump attorneys Emil Bove and and Todd Blanche appeared to be searching through papers on their table, while Trump sat motionless. Prosecutors were doing the same thing.

May 29, 3:14 PM
Jury sends note with 4 requests for testimony

"Good afternoon. We have received a note," Judge Merchan said after taking the bench.

The jury has made four requests for testimony:

- Former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker's testimony about the phone conversation with Donald Trump

- Pecker's testimony about the decision regarding the assignment of Playboy model Karen McDougal's life rights

- Pecker's testimony about the 2016 Trump Tower meeting

- Michael Cohen's testimony about the 2016 Trump Tower meeting

May 29, 3:09 PM
Parties return to the courtroom

The prosecution team has returned to the courtroom, with about seven members of the DA's office in the gallery.

Trump has returned to the courtroom as well.

He entered alongside his lawyer Todd Blanche, with his other lawyers and staff following behind.

May 29, 1:09 PM
Trump says he doesn't 'even know what the charges are'

As the jury continues its deliberations, Donald Trump posted on his social media platform in all caps that "I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT THE CHARGES ARE IN THIS RIGGED CASE."


The post comes after Trump watched Judge Merchan spend over an hour instructing the jury on the law and specific charges in the case, including each of the 34 counts that the former president faces for falsifying business records in order to hide a hush money payment to boost his prospects in the 2016 election.

May 29, 12:24 PM
Trump says 'Mother Teresa could not beat these charges'

"Mother Teresa could not beat these charges," former President Trump told reporters as he exited the courtroom following Judge Merchan's jury instructions.

"We'll see how we do," Trump said as the jury began its deliberations. "It's a very disgraceful situation."

Trump reiterated his grievances with the judge and case's limited gag order, before complaining that he should be on the campaign trail.

"This is five weeks and five weeks of really, essentially, not campaigning," Trump said.

He exited the hallway without answering any questions from reporters.

-Kelsey Walsh

May 29, 11:45 AM
Judge tells parties to stay in building during deliberations

Jurors will deliberate until 4:30 p.m. ET today, Judge Merchan said.

"You cannot leave the building and you need to be able to get here quickly" when a verdict is reached, the judge Merchan told the parties after the jury had left the courtroom.

Former President Trump got up from the defense table and spoke with several associates, then exited the courtroom with his entourage.

The staff and lawyers from the Manhattan district attorney's office also left the courtroom.

May 29, 11:35 AM
Alternate jurors will stay through deliberations

As the 12 main jurors left the courtroom, most appeared to look away from Trump as they passed his counsel table.

The six alternate jurors remained in the courtroom after the 12 main jurors left to begin deliberations.

"We are not going to excuse you just yet," Judge Merchan told the alternates,

He asked them to stick around through the deliberations. though they won't participate in the deliberations themselves.

May 29, 11:29 AM
Jury begins deliberating in historic case

"That concludes my instructions on the law. Counsel please approach," Judge Merchan said when he was done instructing the jury.

He held a sidebar with the attorneys, after which the jurors filed out of the courtroom to begin deliberations.

May 29, 11:22 AM
Merchan tells jurors be firm but considerate of other jurors

Judge Merchan emphasized that jurors each need to come to an individual decision about the verdict after hearing and understanding the view of the other jurors.

"Each of you must decide the case for yourself, but only after a fair and impartial consideration of the evidence with the other jurors," Merchan said.

"You should discuss the evidence and consult with each other, listen to each other, give the others' views careful consideration," he said. "You should not surrender an honest view of the evidence simply because you want the trial to end, or because you're outvoted."

"Your verdict on each count you consider must ... be unanimous -- that is, each and every juror must agree to it," Merchan said.

Merchan said that the jury foreperson will read the verdict for each of the charged counts. Merchan will then poll the entire jury to confirm their verdict.

May 29, 11:09 AM
Judge reviews law on falsifying business records

Judge Merchan read the jury the New York state law related to falsifying business records.

"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," Merchan read.

Few of the jurors appeared to be taking the notes at that point.

May 29, 11:03 AM
Judge runs through each count

Judge Merchan then reviewed each of the counts against Trump to explain the People's burden of proof.

He said that in the interest of brevity, he would instruct them on Falsification of Business Records for the first count -- but not the full instruction for all 34 counts, because they are identical.

Merchan methodically walked through each of the allegedly falsified documents, listing the dates, voucher numbers, and check numbers for each of the records.

The judge said he would be happy to repeat the instructions later if the jury so requests.

May 29, 10:56 AM
Judge lays out 'unlawful means' to be considered

Judge Merchan explained to jurors the prosecution's three theories for the unlawful means used to influence the 2016 election.

First, Merchan said that the unlawful means could include a violation of the Federal Election Campaign Act, which caps campaign contributions. Prosecutors allege that Michael Cohen's payment to Stormy Daniels exceeded the legal cap.

Second, Merchan said prosecutors argue that Trump and others falsified business records, including the bank paperwork for Essential Consultants Inc., the money wire to Daniels, and the 1099 forms related to Cohen's repayment.

Third, Merchan said the crime could be violations of tax laws related to the "grossing up" of Cohen's reimbursement to cover the taxes he would owe on the payment.

May 29, 10:51 AM
Merchan describes the 'other crime' possibly committed

Judge Merchan tells the jury that prosecutors allege that Trump attempted to conceal a violation of New York election law by falsifying business records.

"They need not prove that the other crime was committed, aided, or concealed," Merchan said.

Prosecutors are relying on New York Election Law 17-152, which prohibits "any two or more persons who conspire to promote or prevent the election of any person to a public office by unlawful means." Prosecutors offered three theories of the "unlawful means" mentioned in that law.

Though jurors will need to agree Trump falsified records in furtherance of an additional crime in order to convict, "they need not be unanimous" on "what unlawful means" were used, Merchan said.

May 29, 10:47 AM
Judge instructs jury on intent

Judge Merchan instructed the jury about how to decipher intent, telling them it "does not require premeditation."

Intent can even be momentary, Merchan said, telling the jurors the question about how to judge intent "naturally arises."

"You must decide if the required intent can be inferred beyond a reasonable doubt," he told them.

Merchan also said earlier, "If it is proven the defendant is criminally liable for the conduct of another, the extent or degree of defendant's participation does not matter ... The defendant is as guilty of the crime as if he had personally omitted the crime."

May 29, 10:42 AM
Judge tells jury they can't convict based on Cohen alone

Judge Merchan told jurors that Michael Cohen is an "accomplice" to the alleged crime, so the jury cannot convict Trump on Cohen's testimony alone.

Even if they believe Michael Cohen, they need to rely on evidence corroborating his testimony, Merchan said.

Trump, at the defense table, appeared to perk up just a bit at this, looking up at Merchan as he delivered this information to the jury.

May 29, 10:35 AM
Judge addresses how to handle an untruthful witness

Judge Merchan told the jury that they have the ultimate authority in determining the truthfulness of a witness' testimony -- an instruction that might come in handy given the emphasis that defense lawyers placed on Michael Cohen's testimony, which they say includes lies.

"You will alone determine the truthfully and the accuracy of the testimony of each witness," Merchan said.

He added that the jury could either disregard the testimony of an untruthful witness entirely, or disregard part of it.

"There is no particular formula" to determine credibility, Merchan said.

"You may consider whether the witness has any interest in the outcome of the case," he said -- another matter that might weigh on jurors' minds.

"You may consider whether a witness did have, or did not have, a motive to lie," the judge said.

Trump's attorney had told the jury Cohen had an "axe to grind" against his former boss. Prosecutors partially conceded that Cohen had a motive, acknowledging that, to date, he is the only one who suffered any consequences from the matter at hand.

Trump, at the defense table, appeared to look over to the jury and offer a bit of a closed-mouth grin.

May 29, 10:29 AM
Merchan says Trump can't be judged for not testifying

Judge Merchan instructed the jury that they cannot hold Trump's not testifying against him.

"Defendant is not required to prove that he is not guilty," he said.

"The defendant is not required to prove or disprove anything," said the judge.

May 29, 10:24 AM
Judge says he will be responsible for any sentencing

Judge Merchan told the jury that they should not speculate about the sentence or punishment in the case.

"It will be my responsibility to impose an appropriate sentence," Merchan said.

The judge also had to advise the jury about this yesterday after defense lawyer Todd Blanche argued that the jury "cannot send somebody to prison" based on Michael Cohen's testimony.

The jury appears to be laser focused on Merchan during the charge. Half of the jurors appear to be taking notes.

May 29, 10:20 AM
'You are the judges of the facts,' judge tells jurors

"It is not my responsibility to judge the evidence here. It is yours," Judge Merchan told the jurors as he began his instructions for their deliberations.

"You are the judges of the facts, and you are responsible for deciding whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty."

The judge instructed jurors on avoiding "stereotypes" or "implicit biases" in their deliberations.

"As a juror you are asked to make a very important decision about another member of the community," he said.

May 29, 10:16 AM
Judge says reading of jury charge will take an hour

Judge Juan Merchan took his seat on the bench, and Trump flashed a closed mouth smile when the judge said good morning in his usual fashion.

Before bringing the jury back into the courtroom, Merchan asked the parties to confirm the proposed verdict form.

Prosecutor Josh Steinglass flagged a minor typo, but both sides appeared to be in agreement about the form, which will the jury will fill out once they render a verdict.

After the jury was brought into the courtroom, Merchan told them the reading of the jury charge will take approximately an hour.

May 29, 10:11 AM
Trump, online, calls prosecutors' closing statement bull----

Former President Trump did not speak with reporters as he entered the courtroom this morning, but instead made a series of posts on social media.

Referring to prosecutors' five-hour closing statement yesterday, Trump wrote, "THE D.A.’s OFFICE WAS ALLOWED TO GO ON WITH 5 HOURS OF BULL---- YESTERDAY."

The defense's closing argument took three hours.

May 29, 9:57 AM
Prosecutors, Trump arrive in courtroom

The prosecution team has entered the courtroom ahead of this morning's jury charge.

Prosecutors Josh Steinglass, Matthew Colangelo and Rebecca Mangold are seated at the counsel table, and seven other members of the district attorney's team are in the gallery.

Former President Trump entered the courtroom minutes later.

May 29, 9:03 AM
Reporters take their place for today's proceedings

About 60 members of the press have filled up the courtroom's wooden pews ahead of today's proceedings.

As reporters settled in, a court reporter used an office chair to wheel a three-foot stack of printed transcripts into the courtroom.

She left the precarious slack of binders at the front of the courtroom near the jury box, prompting light applause from the reporters in the gallery.

May 29, 7:01 AM
Jury deliberations scheduled to get underway

The jury in Donald Trump's criminal hush money trial is scheduled to begin deliberating the outcome of the case this morning after lengthy closing arguments yesterday.

Judge Juan Merchan will begin the proceedings at 10 a.m. ET when he instructs the jury about the law in the case -- a vital process that Merchan estimates will take approximately an hour.

Once the jury is charged, they can begin deliberating whether prosecutors met their burden by proving that Trump falsified 34 business records to further a criminal conspiracy to influence the 2016 election.

The jury heard nearly eight hours of summations yesterday when defense lawyer Todd Blanche and prosecutor Joshua Steinglass delivered marathon closing arguments.

Blanche told jurors that prosecutors failed to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt due in part to their reliance on the testimony of former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, who he described as the "human embodiment of reasonable doubt."

Steinglass argued that Trump's alleged falsification of records ahead of the election amounted to a "subversion of democracy" by hiding critical information from voters.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Michigan attorney general files charges in death of Black man hit by unmarked police car

Courtesy of Sterling family

(LANSING, M.I.) -- The Michigan Department of Attorney General filed charges on Tuesday against an officer who struck and killed a Black man with an unmarked police vehicle.

Michigan state police trooper Detective Sgt. Brian Keely is facing second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter charges – crimes punishable by life or 15 years in prison, respectively – for the April 17 death of Samuel Sterling, who was being chased by officers in Kentwood for outstanding warrants.

"Detective Sergeant Keely's actions that day were legally, grossly negligent and created a very high risk of death or great bodily harm, which could have otherwise been prevented," Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a statement.

Marc Curtis, Keely's attorney, said in a statement provided to ABC News that Keely has made hundreds of arrests without incident over his 25-year career and is "broken-hearted" over Sterling's death.

"This accident could have also been avoided if Mr. Sterling would have simply complied with the commands of the Detectives," the statement further said. "Mr. Sterling's action not only put himself in danger but the citizens that were in the area at the time."

Sterling, 25, allegedly fled when officers approached him at a gas station and was struck by an unmarked Michigan State Police car after officers converged on him at a parking lot of a nearby Burger King, police claim. He died later that day at a hospital.

Law enforcement body camera footage released May 10 showed officers rushing to Sterling on the ground after he was hit, as he was moaning in pain and claiming he did not have a gun. The unmarked police vehicle is seen up on a curb in front of Sterling, near to the restaurant.

"These charges should serve as a stark warning to law enforcement that their actions have consequences, especially when those actions, which we see all too often, take another life," civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is representing Sterling's family, told ABC News in a statement. "With each ounce of justice, we move closer to equitable policing and a world with fewer tragedies like the one that ended Samuel's life."

Ven Johnson, another attorney representing Sterling's family, said in a statement provided to ABC News that they were "stunned and appalled to see the MSP trooper deliberately drive over a curb – onto a sidewalk – and violently take Samuel's life by striking him with an unmarked police car."

"No one person should be able to appoint themselves as judge, jury and executioner, yet deaths from police brutality and excessive force continue to occur too often," Johnson added.

Officers are seen on the body camera footage putting handcuffs on Sterling and telling firefighters who responded to the scene to keep the cuffs on him.

The released footage came from three agencies who were part of the fugitive task force – the Michigan State Police, Grand Rapids Police Department, and the City of Wyoming Police Department – and included footage from four sources: three officers' body camera footage and one dash camera from a police vehicle, Michigan State Police said.

Keeley was not wearing a body camera and his vehicle did not have a dash camera "due to his assignment on a federal task force," Michigan State Police said in a statement.

The Michigan State Police subsequently launched an investigation into the incident and suspended Keely without pay.

"It is unfortunate that in this time of political correctness, Michigan's Attorney General has chosen to ignore the facts of this incident and rely on political pressure," Curtis further said in his statement.

Nessel said that it was important that the attorney general's office's review was swift – for Sterling's family, the greater Grand Rapids region, and the law enforcement community.

"Public integrity is a top priority for my Department," Nessel said in her statement announcing the charges, "and we remain committed to providing a thorough and just review and resolution in each case brought before us."

ABC News' Sabina Ghebremedhin contributed to this report.

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How Crisis Intervention Training is helping police respond to mental crisis calls

Sarah Reingewirtz/MediaNews Group/Los Angeles Daily News/Getty Images

(ANTIOCH, C.A.) -- More than three years after watching her brother die in an encounter with police at her family's California home, Bella Quinto Collins said her brother's last words still haunt her.

"Please don't kill me. Please don't kill me," Angelo Quinto, a 30-year-old Navy veteran, pleaded as officers allegedly took turns restraining her brother with their knees on the back of his neck, according to Bella Quinto Collins.

Bella said she called the police because Angelo was experiencing a paranoia episode. When the police arrived, she said her brother had calmed down in his mother's arms.

"When [police] arrived, they had acknowledged that this was a mental health crisis," Bella Quinto Collins told ABC News of the deadly Dec. 23, 2020, episode that unfolded in Antioch, California.

John Burris, an attorney who represented the Quinto family in a lawsuit filed against the city of Antioch, told ABC News that Angelo Quinto died needlessly.

"[Officers] were aware that [he] was mentally impaired. They were aggressive when they should not have been," said Burris.

A coroner report concluded that Angelo died from asphyxiation due to being held in a prone position. An autopsy requested by the Contra Costa District Attorney's Office found the cause of death to be Excited Delirium Syndrome, according to the county's press release.

Former Antioch Police Chief Tammany Brooks responded to the allegations at a press conference in March 2021.

"At no point did any officer use a knee, or other body parts to gain leverage or apply pressure to Angelo's head, neck, or throat, which is outside of our policy and training," said Brooks.

Representatives for the Antioch Police Department declined ABC News' request for comment.

The Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office said in 2022 there was no evidence of criminal offense by the police officers involved in Angelo's case based on the autopsy and an analysis of the police encounter with Angelo.

"The method of restraining Angelo Quinto by Antioch Police officers on December 23rd was objectively reasonable under the totality of the circumstances," the DA's office said.

Nearly one in four people who have died at the hands of police officers in the United States had a mental health condition, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Now, some law enforcement agencies across the country are starting to change how they interact with individuals with mental health issues.

Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) is one model being implemented in many police departments. CIT was created after a man who experienced a mental health crisis was shot in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1988.

There are 2,700 CIT programs in the nation, according to NAMI. During CIT, police officers learn de-escalation techniques through role-play, hear from family members and individuals with mental health conditions and learn about local mental health facilities and resources.

"De-escalation really teaches you to listen to the person, not the problem," said Ernest Stevens of the Justice Center of the Council of State Governments.

Stevens launched a CIT program in the San Antonio Police Department (SAPD) in 2008. One year later, SAPD successfully helped resident Jeff Ownes, who was experiencing a paranoia episode.

"[Owens] set a fire in [his mom's] garage, stabbed the family dog with a pair of scissors, threw all the food in the refrigerator away because he thought it was poisoned and began to take apart [his mom's] car’s engine," Stevens recalled.

Ownes' mother, Jeannine Ownes, called police. CIT officers in non-uniform clothing were able to de-escalate the situation and took Jeff Ownes to the hospital to receive the help he needed, Stevens said.

"His life was not threatened and he calmed down," said Jeannine Ownes. "If [Jeff] was in berserk mode, I would always worry the police would come and they would shoot him."

In Illinois, Lake County's Crisis Outreach and Support Team (COaST) program pairs a police officer with a social worker, clinician, or specialist to respond to mental health-related calls.

Lake County officers refer an individual experiencing a mental health crisis to COaST, but if no specialist is available, a CIT-certified officer will address the emergency.

After five years, the program achieved its 5,000th referral in October 2023, a milestone for the city, according to a Lake County press release. One barrier to the COaST program, however, is the lack of counselors or therapists, said James Yanecek, the director of training at the Lake County Sheriff's Office.

In Denver, Colorado, the Support Team Assisted Response (STAR) program sends a behavioral health professional and a paramedic to help instead of the police.

In three years,STAR program responders went on 7,464 calls, with 49% of the individuals being referred to a mental health service. Police did not issue a single ticket or make an arrest.

CIT programs are not mandatory at police departments and require a 40-hour time commitment, making it difficult for some officers to attend, according to Emily Ribnik of the Criminal Justice Coordinating Center of Excellence at Northeast Ohio Medical University.

Additionally, some rural police agencies with smaller units can't send officers to CIT programs, said Ribnik.

Mental health advocates believe CIT is a start to create safer spaces for people who are mentally ill. However, successful police responses to mental health crises go beyond CIT, said Hannah Wesolowski, the chief advocacy officer for NAMI.

"The long-term goal is to create alternative responses instead of police," said Wesolowski.

In New York City, council members introduced a law to staff each police precinct with a licensed social worker in May 2024. The Police Benevolent Association (PBA) responded that mental health should be addressed before a crisis ensued.

"We always welcome more resources to help New Yorkers. However, police officers deal with individuals who need this type of help every single day because they aren’t getting it anywhere else. They should be receiving services before there is a crisis, and certainly before we have to bring them into a precinct because they have harmed someone," PBA President Patrick Hendry told ABC News.

Yaneck of the Lake County Sheriff's Office argued that police can play an important role in responding to a mental health crisis.

"It allows us to have that contact with folks, and for them to understand that we are not there to arrest them or give them a ticket," said Yaneck. "It reduces the anxiety for them."

After the death of Angelo, the Quinto family pushed for the Antioch Police Department to use body cameras and other reforms. Antioch police also initiated Antioch CARE, a program to address mental health-related emergencies.

"This is an example of turning a tragic event into a very positive effort on the part of [the Quinto] family," said Burris.

The Quinto family ultimately settled with the city for $7.5 million over Angelo's death.

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Justice Alito refuses to recuse himself from Jan. 6 cases after flag controversies

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(WASHINGTON) -- Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito is rejecting Democrats' calls for his recusal from cases related to the Jan. 6 Capitol attack and the 2020 election after flags flown at his personal residences sparked controversy.

Alito provided further details of the incidents as he responded to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse's request to Chief Justice John Roberts that Alito recuse himself from such proceedings.

The flag-flying incidents, first reported by the New York Times, included an upside-down American flag outside his Virginia home and an "Appeal to Heaven" flag at his New Jersey beach house -- both symbols carried by some rioters on Jan. 6.

Alito told lawmakers in the letter that the incidents were not in any way his doing.

"My wife is fond of flying flags. I am not," he wrote.

Alito revealed that in the case of the upside-down American flag -- reported to have been raised by his wife Martha-Ann Alito during a "nasty neighborhood dispute" -- he actually told his wife to take it down and that she refused.

As for the "Appeal to Heaven" flag at his vacation home, Alito said he was not aware of it until recently, and neither he nor his wife were conscious of its connections to the "Stop the Steal Movement."

"The use of an old historic flag by a new group does not necessarily drain that flag of all other meanings," he wrote in the letter.

The justice, quoting from the Supreme Court's Code of Conduct, argued that the facts and circumstances do not meet the bar for recusal and that he will not do so.

"I am confident that a reasonable person who is not motivated by political or ideological considerations or a desire to affect the outcome of Supreme Court cases would conclude that the events recounted above do not meet the applicable standard for recusal," Alito wrote. "I am therefore required to reject your request."

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Jury instructed to treat Trump as 'another member of the community' in hush money trial

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(NEW YORK) -- In a lengthy jury instruction, Judge Juan Merchan asked jurors to treat the former president as "another member of the community" as they embark to determine Donald Trump's fate in his hush money criminal trial.

"It is not my responsibility to judge the evidence here. It is yours," Merchan said. "You are the judges of the facts, and you are responsible for deciding whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty."

Jurors were told not to hold Trump's decision to not testify against him and to use their judgment in determining the credibility of untruthful or biased witnesses – an issue defense counsel repeatedly impressed upon members of the jury.

"There is no particular formula" to determine a witness' credibility, Merchan said, and "you may consider whether the witness has any interest in the outcome of the case" – another matter that might weigh on jurors' minds.

Merchan also described how jurors should interpret legal concepts from trial, such as "beyond a reasonable doubt," "unlawful means," "intent to defraud," and "motive," among others.

Crucially, while prosecutors must prove that that the business records were falsified in furtherance of an additional crime, "they need not prove that the other crime was, in fact, committed."

In sum, "if the People satisfy their burden of proof, you must find the defendant guilty," he said.

Merchan also advised that jury that they cannot rely solely on the testimony of Michael Cohen to convict the former president because Cohen is an accomplice to the alleged crime; instead, the jury can only use Cohen’s testimony if it is corroborated by evidence.

“In other words, even if you find the testimony of Michael Cohen to be believable, you may not convict the defendant solely upon that testimony unless you also find that it was corroborated by other evidence tending to connect the defendant with the commission of the crime,” Merchan told jurors.

Jurors appeared attentive throughout the instructions. Several were observed scribbling notes. Trump assumed his characteristic posture, leaning back in his chair and at times shutting his eyes. He fiddled with papers on his desk from time to time.

Merchan concluded his instructions at 11:23 a.m.

Prosecutors alleged that as part of a scheme to reimburse former Trump attorney Cohen for the payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels, Trump fraudulently recorded $130,000 in expenses as the cost of legal services for Cohen.

Trump has pleaded not guilty and denied any wrongdoing.

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Law enforcement on alert for upcoming Cricket World Cup in New York

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(NEW YORK) -- The upcoming Cricket World Cup in Nassau County, New York, along with associated events in New York City, could be viewed by extremists as "an attractive opportunity to perpetrate acts of violence or disruption," according to a new assessment by the NYPD Intel Bureau.

"Recent pro-ISIS propaganda which specifically referenced the upcoming India-Pakistan match at this major event, coupled with sustained official and supporter-generated propaganda highlighting large scale sports venues as priority targets, raises concerns and reinforces the need for heightened vigilance among public and private-sector security partners," the NYPD said.

The NYPD assessment, obtained by ABC News, references the March attack outside of Moscow along with a series of other incidents that underscore the current threat environment. It also mentioned a May 28 posting on a pro-ISIS channel that showed a hooded figure with a rifle on its back and drones in the background that mentioned "Nassau Stadium."

The assessment was distributed to law enforcement throughout the region.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said Wednesday there would be elevated security measures in response to a possible threat including "increased law enforcement presence, advanced surveillance, and thorough screening processes."

The governor's office said there is credible public safety threat.

The International Cricket Council's Men’s T20 World Cup is scheduled to start on June 3 in Nassau County, New York.

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Charges dismissed against star golfer Scottie Scheffler over traffic incident during PGA Championship

Louisville Metro Police Department

(LOUISVILLE, K.Y.) -- All charges have been dismissed against star golfer Scottie Scheffler, who was arrested while in Louisville, Kentucky, for the PGA Championship earlier this month.

Jefferson County Attorney Mike O'Connell addressed the court Wednesday on a motion to dismiss the charges.

The golfer, ranked No. 1 in the world, was driving near the Valhalla Golf Club on May 17 when police alleged he ignored an officer's traffic command and injured the officer with his vehicle. He was arrested hours before his second-round tee time at the year's second major.

Scheffler, 27, was arrested on charges of second-degree assault of a police officer -- a felony -- as well as third-degree criminal mischief, reckless driving and disregarding traffic signals from an officer directing traffic, according to police. He was scheduled to be arraigned on June 3.

The arrest occurred about an hour after a deadly accident near the golf course. Around 5 a.m. that day, a man was fatally struck by a shuttle bus as he tried to cross a road near the course holding the PGA Championship, according to a statement released by the Louisville Metro Police Department. The victim was identified as PGA Championship volunteer John Mills.

A police report alleged that Scheffler refused to comply with a police officer's request to stop and "accelerated forward," dragging the detective to the ground. The officer -- identified as Detective Bryan Gillis -- was taken to the hospital after suffering "pain, swelling, and abrasions to his left wrist and knee," the report stated.

In a police record, Gillis stated he was directing traffic following the accident in front of a gate. After PGA personnel stopped a bus from entering the gate, he stated that he stopped an approaching vehicle and advised the driver, Scheffler, he could not proceed due to the bus.

"He demanded to be let in, and proceeded forward against my directions," Gillis wrote. "I was dragged/knocked down by the driver. I then proceeded to arrest the driver."

Scheffler called the incident a "big misunderstanding" and said that he was "proceeding as directed by police officers."

"It was a very chaotic situation, understandably so considering the tragic accident that had occurred earlier, and there was a big misunderstanding of what I thought I was being asked to do," Scheffler said in a statement following his arrest on social media. "I never intended to disregard any of the instructions."

Scheffler's attorney, Steve Romines, said in a statement to Louisville ABC affiliate WHAS that Scheffler was following orders from one officer and there was a "miscommunication" with the second officer who attempted to stop him.

"In the confusion, Scottie is alleged to have disregarded a different officer's traffic signals resulting in these charges," Romines said in the statement. "Multiple eyewitnesses have confirmed that he did not do anything wrong but was simply proceeding as directed. He stopped immediately upon being directed to and never at any point assaulted any officer with his vehicle."

There is no body camera footage of the incident between Scheffler and the officer, Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg previously told reporters. Gillis had a body-worn camera but had not switched it on, in violation of department policy, according to Louisville Metro Police Chief Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel.

Following an internal investigation, Gillis received a corrective action for failing to turn on his body-worn camera, the chief announced on May 23.

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Opening statements set to begin in state trial against Paul Pelosi attacker David DePape

San Francisco Police Dept

(SAN FRANCISCO) -- David DePape's state trial on charges in the 2022 attack on Paul Pelosi is underway after DePape was sentenced in his federal trial for the hammer assault.

Opening statements are set to begin in the case on Wednesday for the break-in and attack at the Pelosis' San Francisco residence. Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was not home at the time.

DePape, 44, was charged with attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, residential burglary, elder abuse, false imprisonment and threatening the life or serious bodily harm to a public official. He pleaded not guilty.

If convicted, he faces 13 years to life in prison, according to the San Francisco District Attorney's Office.

The state trial comes following his sentencing in the federal case, where he was convicted of seeking to hold former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hostage and attacking her husband with a hammer.

A judge sentenced DePape to 30 years in federal prison on May 17. However, the sentencing was reopened after prosecutors noted that the defendant was never formally given the opportunity to address the court during his sentencing. He was again sentenced to 30 years in prison during a hearing on Tuesday, during which he apologized for the attack.

"I'm sorry for what I did," he said, according to San Francisco ABC station KGO. "Especially what I did to Paul Pelosi. I should have just left the house when I realized Nancy Pelosi wasn't home."

DePape's attorneys filed a brief notice of appeal following his initial sentencing in the federal case.

A jury found him guilty in November 2023 of attempted kidnapping of a federal officer or employee and assault of an immediate family member of a federal official.

DePape admitted during the federal trial that he was looking for Nancy Pelosi to question her about Russian influence on the 2016 election and planned to hold her hostage, but only Paul Pelosi was home when he broke in on Oct. 28, 2022.

Paul Pelosi said on the stand during the federal trial that DePape repeatedly asked him, "Where is Nancy?"

DePape hit Paul Pelosi, then 82 years old, with a hammer, causing major injuries, including a skull fracture, though told the court he was "never my target."

"I'm sorry that he got hurt," DePape said during the federal trial. "I reacted because my plan was basically ruined."

The incident was captured on police body camera video by officers who responded to the scene.

Paul Pelosi was hospitalized for six days and underwent surgery to repair a skull fracture and serious injuries to his right arm and hands.

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Harvard will no longer comment on public matters unrelated to 'core function'

Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe/Getty Images

(CAMBRIDGE, M.A.) -- Harvard University announced that it will no longer be speaking out on political or social issues that don't impact the institution's "core function," after months of unrest on college campuses amid the Israel-Hamas war.

The move follows guidance and recommendations from the Institutional Voice Working Group, which Harvard established in April to consider if and how the Ivy League university should address "publicly salient" issues.

According to the group, it gathered input from each school at the university, as well as from more than 1,000 faculty, students, staff, and alumni via 31 focus groups, an online poll, and an email address to which people could submit their thoughts, to come to its conclusion.

The group recommended that the university and institutional leaders should not "issue official statements about public matters that do not directly affect the university's core function."

The statement noted that the report found "such statements risk compromising the 'integrity and credibility' of our academic mission and may undermine open inquiry and academic freedom by making it 'more difficult for some members of the community to express their views when they differ from the university's official position.'"

Harvard "is not a government, tasked with engaging the full range of foreign and domestic policy issues, and its leaders are not, and must not be, selected for their personal political beliefs," the report says, in part. Harvard leaders have previously spoken out on issues including the Israel-Hamas war, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and as other geopolitical and sociopolitical issues.

The Institutional Voice Working Group was created following months of tension on the Harvard campus.

Immediately after the start of the Israel-Hamas war, student groups, led by the Palestine Solidarity Committee, issued a statement on the conflict, saying Israel is "entirely responsible for all unfolding violence."

"Today's events did not occur in a vacuum," the Harvard student groups said in their statement. "For the last two decades, millions of Palestinians in Gaza have been forced to live in an open-air prison. Israeli officials promise to 'open the gates of hell,' and the massacres in Gaza have already commenced. Palestinians in Gaza have no shelters for refuge and nowhere to escape. In the coming days, Palestinians will be forced to bear the full brunt of Israel's violence."

After the statement was released, Jewish student groups pushed back and accused the pro-Palestinian groups of supporting the Hamas attack. Students in the pro-Palestinian groups denied those claims and said their statement was misinterpreted.

In January, then-Harvard President Claudine Gay resigned her office after facing criticism in a House hearing over allegations and concerns of antisemitism on the Harvard campus following the start of the Israel-Hamas War.

Most recently, the campus has seen an intensified wave of protests, including encampments of students demanding that the university divest from companies or groups that benefit from Israeli military operations in Gaza.

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'Bad Breath Rapist' caught across the country after 16 years on the run

U.S. Marshalls

(DIALBLO, C.A.) -- A convicted rapist dubbed the "Bad Breath Rapist" has been caught more than 16 years after he fled Massachusetts, according to authorities.

Tuen Lee -- who was arrested in Northern California on Tuesday -- broke into a co-worker's house and raped her on Feb. 2, 2005, according to the Massachusetts State Police.

"He was ultimately identified by DNA and his horrible breath, which produced the nickname 'The Bad Breath Rapist,'" police said in a statement.

In 2007, a jury found Lee guilty of rape and kidnapping, according to the U.S. Marshals Service said. But he had already fled the state, authorities said.

Authorities hunted for Lee for years, with detectives putting in hundreds of hours into the search, police said. Investigators also publicized the case on the TV show "America's Most Wanted," according to police.

Then, this year, police zeroed in on a multimillion-dollar home owned by a woman in Diablo, California, about 25 miles east of Oakland, authorities said.

On Tuesday, police surveilled Lee and a woman leave that home and they conducted a traffic stop on their car, authorities said.

Lee at first gave authorities a fake name, state police said, but he later admitted his true identity, which was confirmed by fingerprints.

"His female companion, after 15 years of being together in California, never knew who he really was," state police said.

"Tuen Lee was on the run for more than 16 years and the unwavering dedication by law enforcement to locate and arrest him hopefully brings peace of mind to the victim and her family," Chief Inspector Sean LoPiccolo, acting commander of the U.S. Marshals Service Pacific Southwest Regional Fugitive Task Force, said in a statement.

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From 'MVP of liars' to 'subversion of democracy,' Trump's hush money case wraps with dramatic closings

Former U.S. President Donald Trump during a break at Manhattan criminal court in New York, US, on Tuesday, May 28, 2024. (Justin Lane/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

(NEW YORK) -- Trump defense attorney Todd Blanche called witness Michael Cohen "an MVP of liars," while prosecutors said the former president committed a "subversion of democracy" as each side delivered its closing argument in Donald Trump's criminal hush money trial Tuesday.

After it gets instructions on Wednesday, a jury of 12 New Yorkers will decide if Trump is guilty of falsifying business records to hide the reimbursement of a hush money payment his then-attorney, Cohen, made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels in order to boost Trump's electoral prospects in the 2016 presidential election. The former president has denied all wrongdoing.

Calling Cohen "the human embodiment of reasonable doubt," Blanche, over the course of his nearly three-hour presentation, repeatedly framed perceived gaps in the state's case as "reasonable doubt," and said prosecutors failed to meet their burden of proof.

And after each claim, Blanche returned to Michael Cohen.

"He is biased and motivated to tell you a story that is not true," Blanche said. "You cannot convict President Trump of any crime beyond a reasonable doubt on the words of Michael Cohen."

Among Blanche's key arguments:

Michael Cohen is a proven liar

According to Blanche, Cohen lied about a key meeting with Donald Trump at the White House, a phone call he allegedly had with Trump, the so-called catch-and-kill schemes, a lunch meeting, a recording -- in effect, the most crucial elements of the state's case.

"I don't know how many lies are enough lies just to reject Mr. Cohen's testimony," Blanche said. "Big or small, meaningful or not meaningful, but that was a lie."

In just one of many instances, Blanche accused Cohen of lying about speaking with Donald Trump about the Stormy Daniels agreement in a 90-second phone call just two weeks before the 2016 election.

"It was a lie!" Blanche yelled, pausing between each word. "That was a lie, and he got caught red-handed."

"That is perjury," Blanche continued, sounding out each syllable of the word.

"He is literally like an MVP of liars," Blanche said. "He lies constantly."

Trump had no knowledge of the alleged conspiracy

Blanche repeatedly sought to distance his client from any element of the state's case, including the alleged agreement to "catch-and-kill" negative stories about him, the allegedly falsified records, and the payments doled out to Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels.

"There's no evidence at all that Donald Trump had anything to do with that," Blanche said.

Recalling the phone call where Cohen and Trump allegedly hashed out the reimbursement payments to Enquirer parent AMI -- and the confusion over whether to pay in cash or checks -- Blanche claimed that the two men were "talking past each other."

"President Trump has no idea what [Cohen] is talking about" in the recording, Blanche said.

Again, Blanche said this element of the state's case rested on Cohen's word.

"There's no way that you can find that President Trump knew about this payment at the time it was made without believing Michael Cohen. Period," Blanche said. "And you cannot believe his words."

Trump was 'too busy' to micromanage a conspiracy

Blanche told jurors that Donald Trump was simply "too busy" as president of the United States to engage in a "tight conspiracy" with Michael Cohen

"President Trump was very busy. He was running the country," Blanche said.

Prosecutors have attempted to frame Trump as a tight-fisted businessman who never signed any document or paid any check without first scrutinizing it.

Blanche attempted to counter that narrative, citing testimony of then-Trump aide Madeleine Westerhout who testified that Trump only "sometimes" looked at what he was signing.

"You can't convict President Trump because 'sometimes,' without being specific at all ... President Trump looked at invoices ... that is a stretch," Blanch said. "And that is reasonable doubt."

Cohen was paid for legal work

Blanche told jurors they will have to find two things to convict his client: "First, that the documents contained false entries, and second, that President Trump acted with an intent to defraud."

To undermine the first point, Blanche stressed that Michael Cohen did legal work for Trump in 2017, which made his invoices for legal services -- which Cohen claimed he submitted for reimbursement of the Stormy Daniels payment -- legitimate requests for payment.

"Cohen was rendering services to President Trump in 2017 as his personal attorney," Blanche argued, highlighting parts of Cohen's testimony about his role and work for Trump.

Cohen testified that he served as Trump's personal attorney for free, but Blanche suggested that the invoices at the center of the case were Cohen's way of getting payment in 2017.

The government "asked you to believe [Cohen] was just going to work for free," Blanche said. "Do you believe that for a second? That after getting stiffed on his bonus in 2016 ... do you think that Mr. Cohen thought, 'I want to work for free.' Is that the man who testified, or is that a lie?"

"The idea that President Trump would agree to pay Michael Cohen $420,000 even though he only owed him $130,000 is absurd," Blanche said.

Prosecutors, in their closing, argued that Trump choreographed "a conspiracy and a coverup" in a brazen attempt to "pull the wool" over voters' eyes ahead the 2016 presidential election

Here are some of the key arguments advanced by prosecutor Josh Steinglass in his lengthy five-hour summation:

There's a 'mountain of evidence' beyond Cohen

"This case is not about Michael Cohen," Steinglass said. "This case is about Donald Trump and whether he should be held accountable for making false entries in his own business records, whether he and his staff did that to cover up for his own election violations."

Steinglass asked jurors to view Cohen as the "ultimate insider" to provide "context and color" for the paper trial. Steinglass described Cohen as a "tour guide through the physical evidence."

And while Cohen might have lied or forgotten details in the past, "those documents don't lie, and they don't forget," Steinglass said.

"We didn't choose Michael Cohen to be a witness. We didn't pick him up at witness store. The defendant chose him as a fixer because he was willing to lie and cheat," he said, drawing a few laughs from the jury.

Trump was motivated by the election

Donald Trump hatched a plan to "muzzle" Stormy Daniels and other women because their stories "were capable of costing him the whole election -- and he knew it," Steinglass argued.

When Trump met with Michael Cohen and David Pecker in August 2015 and arranged for Pecker to serve as the campaign's "eyes and ears," Steinglass said "it turned out to be one of the most valuable contributions anyone ever made to the Trump campaign."

"This scheme cooked up by these men at this time could very well be what got President Trump elected," Steinglass suggested.

Referring to Stormy Daniels' allegations of a sexual encounter with Trump, which Trump has long denied, Steinglass said, "It's no coincidence that the sex happened in 2006 but the payoff didn't happen until October 2016, two weeks before the election. That's because the defendant's primary concern was not his family, but the election."

Steinglass also cited former Trump aide Hope Hicks' testimony that Trump said after the fact that he preferred that the Stormy Daniels story came out after the election.

"That was the last thing she said on direct," Steinglass said. "And she basically burst into tears" at that point, "because she realized how much this testimony puts the nail into the defendant's coffin."

"That is devastating," Steinglass said.

Documents provided a 'smoking gun'

Steinglass stressed to jurors that the core of the government's case is what he called the "smoking gun documents" that Trump allegedly falsified.

"These documents are so damning that you almost have to laugh at how Mr. Blanche explained it to you," Steinglass joked at one point. "They completely blow out of the water the defense claim."

Steinglass reviewed for jurors an extensive timeline of the case, reiterating every step in the context of the 2016 presidential campaign.

"It's just inconceivable that [Trump] would be so involved in buying these women's silence and then stick his head in the sand when it comes to Cohen's reimbursement," he said.

Trump is a micromanager

Steinglass reiterated a point the state emphasized at trial by depicting Donald Trump as a "micromanager" who was always "immersed in the details."

"That has been his philosophy from the beginning," Steinglass said. "The cardinal sin for Mr. Trump is overpaying for anything."

For this, Steinglass recited passages from Donald Trump's books. Referring to one such quote, Steinglass said, "If Donald Trump is checking invoices from his decorator, you can bet he's checking his invoices from Michael Cohen."

Steinglass argued that Trump's overall business sense led him to tightly monitor his checks.

"It's the combination of frugality and attention to detail that led Donald Trump to keep tight reins on his checks in particular," Steinglass said. "He doesn't like spending money, and he's proud of it."

Steinglass also repeatedly claimed that Cohen lacked the authority to orchestrate these catch-and-kill arrangements without Donald Trump's say-so.

"Michael Cohen is not some rogue actor here. He is acting at the direction of the defendant," Steinglass said. "Mr. Trump is being kept abreast of every development."

In the end, Steinglass argued, jurors need not rely on Cohen alone, because "it's difficult to conceive of a case with more corroboration."

"In the interest of justice and in the name of the People of New York, I ask you to find the defendant guilty," Steinglass said at the end of his marathon closing.

Judge Juan Merchan will instruct jurors on the law Wednesday morning. After that, deliberations will begin.

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