Trump trial updates: Defense rests without Trump taking the stand

Former President Trump did not take the stand in his criminal hush money trial.

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Last updated: Tuesday, May 21, 2024 10:51PM GMT
Defense rests without Trump taking the stand
Donald Trump's lawyers rested their defense Tuesday without the former president taking the witness stand in his New York hush money criminal trial.

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.

Key Headlines

Here's how the news is developing.
ByNadine El-Bawab ABCNews logo
May 20, 2024, 6:50 PM GMT

What are the potential outcomes of Trump's hush money trial?

Apr 19, 2024, 6:02 PM GMT

Who are the key players?

ABCNews logo
May 21, 2024, 2:21 PM GMT

Defense rests its case following Costello testimony

"You still have a lot of animosity against Michael Cohen," prosecutor Susan Cohen Hoffinger asked Michael Cohen's then-legal adviser Robert Costello after displaying emails from 2018.

"I don't have animosity but --," Costello replied before being cut off.

"Yes or no," Hoffinger said.

Hoffinger then asked Costello bluntly if he was trying to "intimidate" Cohen regarding his 2018 congressional testimony.

"Intimidate Michael Cohen?" Costello asked incredulously.

"Yes, that's my question," Hoffinger repeated firmly.

"Ridiculous, no," Costello responded.

Hoffinger then concluded her cross examination, which was followed by a brief redirect.

"Your honor, the defense rests," the defense team told Judge Merchan.

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May 21, 2024, 2:15 PM GMT

Costello email discussed getting 'Cohen on the right page'

Prosecutors displayed an email from Michael Cohen's then-legal adviser Robert Costello to Costello's law partner Jeffrey Citron from Aug. 8, 2018, in which Costello shared a link to a Fox News story about Rudy Giuliani joining Trump's legal team.

"All the more reason for Cohen to hire me because of my connection to Giuliani, which I mentioned to him in our meeting," he wrote.

In another email, Costello said, "Our issue is to get Cohen on the right page without giving him the appearance that we are following instructions from Giuliani or the President. In my opinion this is the clear correct strategy."

Questioned on the witness stand about that email, Costello told prosecutor Susan Hoffinger that he wanted "to get everybody on the same page because Michael Cohen had been complaining incessantly that Rudy Giuliani, was making statements in the press that Michael Cohen didn't approve of."

Costello told Hoffinger he has other emails clarifying that, "which I'd be delighted to tell you."

"That's all right," Hoffinger replied snarkily.

The gallery laughed, prompting a court officer to yell "Quiet!"

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May 21, 2024, 1:48 PM GMT

Costello's cross-examination already appearing tense

Only a few minutes into prosecutor Susan Hoffinger's cross-examination of Michael Cohen's former legal adviser Robert Costello, their exchanges are already sounding tense.

Hoffinger attempted to confirm that Costello boasted about his relationship with Rudy Giuliani, but Costello denied he did so during his first meeting with Cohen.

"You are quoting from an email that is much later," Costello said.

"I am not quoting from an email," Hoffinger replied.

Hoffinger then asked Costello about his relationship with Giuliani.

"He's been to your wedding?" Hoffinger asked.

"Yes he was," Costello said.

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May 21, 2024, 1:48 PM GMT

Costello retakes the stand

"Let's get the witness please," Judge Juan Merchan said after taking the bench.

Michael Cohen's one-time legal adviser Robert Costello entered the courtroom and took the witness stand to continue his cross-examination.

"Good Morning, Mr. Costello. Welcome back," Judge Merchan said.