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Judge Merchan tells jurors they don’t need to agree on ‘unlawful means’ to convict Trump

The 12 jurors in the New York criminal case against former President Donald Trump began deliberations Wednesday following instructions on the law from Acting Judge Juan Merchan, according to a statement from the court. live update From the court.

Former Assistant Attorney General John Yoo previouslyBlaze News He noted that the judge’s instructions to the jury “could be biased against the defense” and that they are “the last resort a judge can use to favor the prosecution.”

“Merchant has just given the finishing command.”

Trump is charged with 34 felony counts under state law for falsifying business records relating to 11 invoices, 12 vouchers and 11 checks. The payment to Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen was recorded as $420,000 in legal fees. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s team argued that the payment to Cohen was not a legal fee but a repayment of $130,000 in a settlement with Stormy Daniels, a porn actress who claims she had an affair with the former president.

Former federal prosecutor and ex-Trump lawyer Jim Trusty previously told Blaze News that Marchan’s jury instructions could have a major impact on the outcome of the trial.

“There’s a big difference between a judge saying the government has to prove that these statements are false and that President Trump knew or should have known,” Trusty said. “In other words, the government has to prove that these statements are false and that President Trump was complicit in making them beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Marchant told jurors that Trump “does not have to prove his innocence” or “prove or disprove anything.” He noted that Trump’s decision not to testify in the case would not be held against him.

“It is not enough to prove that a defendant is probably guilty,” Marchan explained. “The People must prove every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, including that the defendant is in fact the person who committed the crime. The burden of proof does not shift from the People to the Defendant.”

“If we are not convinced beyond a reasonable doubt of the crime charged, we must acquit the defendant,” Marchand added. Marchand repeatedly told the jury that they were the “judges of the facts” in the case.

Marchant explained that the jury was told they could not convict Trump based solely on Cohen’s testimony because, legally, Cohen was an accomplice.

Regarding the charge that Trump falsified business records, the judge told jurors that to convict them, they “must first prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Trump solicited, requested, ordered, pleaded or knowingly assisted that person to do that act, and then prove that he did so with the requisite state of mind to commit the crime.”

“A person is guilty of falsifying a corporate record in the first degree when, with intent to defraud (including intent to commit another crime or to aid or conceal that crime), he makes or causes to be made a false entry in a corporate record,” Marchan continued.

Marchant said that if jurors find Trump guilty, they do not have to unanimously decide “whether the defendants committed crimes individually or conspired with others to commit crimes, or both.” He also said that the jury does not have to agree on the “unlawful” means, which could include violating federal election campaign laws, falsifying other business records or violating tax laws.

“We don’t have to come to a unanimous decision on what the illegal means were. It could be violations of federal criminal statutes, falsifying other business records or violating tax laws,” Marchan told jurors.

Legal expert Jonathan Turley writes:X“Marchant has just given the order to deliver the final blow. He said there is no need for agreement on what happened. There can be disagreement on what was the crime among the three options. So even if it’s 4-4-4, he will treat it as unanimous.”

Journalist Paul Ingrassia said Marchan’s jury instructions “may be the broadest definition of a crime in history.”

“Marchant is literally throwing the entire book at the jury: How does a state court judge with a mediocre law school background have the authority to opine on such a sensitive issue as federal election law, which is so complex and intricate that the Federal Election Commission has exclusive jurisdiction, and typically preempts other courts, over all matters related to federal election law,” Ingrassia wrote.X.

Marchan finished his explanation and the jury retired to begin deliberations early Wednesday afternoon.

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