Trump trial heads into home stretch as Michael Cohen returns for hush money testimony

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Trump trial heads into home stretch as Michael Cohen returns for hush money testimony

Former Trump attorney, Michael Cohen, departs his home for Manhattan Criminal Court for the trial of former US President Donald Trump for allegedly covering up hush money payments linked to extramarital affairs in New York City, on May 14, 2024. 

Timothy A. Clary | AFP | Getty Images

The end of the criminal hush money trial of Donald Trump may soon be in sight, as testimony from his one-time personal lawyer Michael Cohen resumes Monday. Now, one big question looms over a New York courtroom: Will the former president take the witness stand?

Cohen is a key witness against Trump, and prosecutors have already said he will be their last witness in the trial. Trump’s lawyers are expected to wrap up his cross-examination Monday.

Trump’s attorneys hedged last week when asked by Judge Juan Merchan if they would call any defense witnesses at all to testify in Manhattan Supreme Court.

Trump told a reporter last month, “I would testify, absolutely.”

But doing so would carry major risks for Trump, including the danger of being angered and rattled by cross-examination by prosecutors, and giving an answer that supports their case.

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Trump is charged with falsifying business records related to his and his company’s reimbursement to Cohen for paying porn star Stormy Daniels $130,000 before the 2016 election to buy her silence about an alleged sexual tryst with Trump.

The former president denies having sex with Daniels, who testified earlier in the trial.

Merchan has told attorneys to be ready for closing arguments on Tuesday. But because the trial is off Wednesday and Friday, and because a juror has to leave by 1 p.m. Thursday, there is a chance that any verdict would come next week at the earliest.

Trump, who is the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, is the first former president to face a criminal trial.

This is developing news. Check back for updates.

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