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.

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

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May 21, 2024, 4:33 PM GMT

Judge will hold pre-charge conference this afternoon

Judge Merchan asked the parties to return to the courtroom at 2:15 p.m. ET. for the previously scheduled pre-charge conference.

It will provide an opportunity for the parties to weigh in on the instructions Merchan will provide the jury about the law and evidence in the case.

Trump and his entourage then filed out of the courtroom.

ABCNews logo
May 21, 2024, 4:33 PM GMT

Judge adjourns proceedings until next Tuesday

Following the defense resting its case, Judge Juan Merchan told the parties that "summations will not be quick" and that they "will take at least a day." Jury instructions will then take at least an hour, he said.

"At the end of the day, I think the best thing we can do is to adjourn now until next Tuesday. At that time you will hear summations from the attorneys," Merchan said.

Merchan says that deliberations could begin as early as next Wednesday.

Merchan told the jury he opted to delay the summations because of this week's abbreviated schedule and his belief that "it's always ideal or best not to break up summations."

Trump's eyes were closed, his head titled back, as Merchan instructed the jury to return on Tuesday.

The jury then left the courtroom.

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.

ABCNews logo
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!"