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Has the jury reached a verdict? What to know about day 2 of Trump trial deliberations

Former U.S. President Donald Trump sits at the defendant's table inside the courthouse as the jury is scheduled to continue deliberations for his hush money trial at Manhattan Criminal Court on May 30, 2024 in New York City.
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Former U.S. President Donald Trump sits at the defendant's table inside the courthouse as the jury is scheduled to continue deliberations for his hush money trial at Manhattan Criminal Court on May 30, 2024 in New York City.

The New York jurors in former President Donald Trump’s criminal trial filed back into the Manhattan criminal courthouse this morning for a second day of deliberations.

The 12 jurors will need to unanimously agree to either convict or acquit Trump in the first criminal case against a former or sitting U.S. president. And Trump, who is the front-runner for the GOP nomination in the 2024 election, must wait in the building until the jurors are done. This could take several more hours, or more days.

The jurors were returned to the courtroom at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday to review several requests they had made during their first five hours of deliberations the day before. They had asked to have several portions of testimony read back to them.

Specifically, the passages jurors asked about were from former National Enquirer tabloid publisher David Pecker: his testimony regarding a phone call with Trump, the negotiations around the purchase of a story from Playboy model Karen McDougal and of a meeting with Trump in Trump Tower in August of 2015. They also requested former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s testimony of that same Trump Tower meeting. The stenographers read the transcript.

During the trial, prosecutors had argued that during that 2015 meeting in Trump Tower, Trump, Pecker and Cohen entered into an agreement to use Pecker’s tabloid networks to find and quash stories that could hurt the Trump campaign. This deal, prosecutors said, is what eventually led to the “catch and kill” and payouts to McDougal and adult film star Stormy Daniels. Both were paid to keep quiet about alleged affairs with Trump in the months leading up to the 2016 election.

The jurors also asked for New York Judge Juan Merchan to read back a portion of the jury instructions that described how they should consider certain testimony, laws around liability, definitions of intent and New York tax law.

Prosecutors allege that Trump falsified business records in order to conceal another crime. The instructions say the other crime could be tax or campaign finance violations and does not need to be agreed upon or proven.

Jurors also asked for headphones in order to listen to audio evidence given to them on a laptop. Merchan offered speakers as well.

Recapping the instructions and the testimony is likely to take up most of the morning, leaving the jurors with the afternoon to deliberate. Trump has pleaded not guilty to all counts and has long argued that this trial is a political witch hunt because it limits his ability to campaign across the country.

Copyright 2024 NPR

Ximena Bustillo
Ximena Bustillo is a multi-platform reporter at NPR covering politics out of the White House and Congress on air and in print.
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