Amidst the relentless hum of New York City, the courtroom drama involving former President Donald Trump took an intriguing turn Wednesday afternoon. As the jury sent a second note requesting additional instructions, the atmosphere changed; Trump’s defense team exchanged guarded smiles, suggesting a surge of optimism. In contrast, the District Attorney’s representatives struggled to conceal their mounting apprehension, reports said.

The jury is still deliberating on 34 counts of falsified business records related to a hush money payment to adult film actor Stormy Daniels.NBC’s Katherine Doyle reported at 1:05 PM PDT: “The district attorney’s team looks tense and apprehensive. Todd Blanche, on Trump’s defense team, just cracked a tight smile. Trump, Blanche, and Emil Bove, another one of Trump’s attorneys, are whispering among themselves and look newly animated.” This nuanced change in the atmosphere of the courtroom occurred shortly after the jurors were excused for the day, following several intense hours of deliberation and more requests for instructions and information from Judge Juan Merchan.

Trump is accused of falsifying business records to hide a payment made towards the end of his 2016 presidential campaign. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges. The stakes are high, with the case stretching the limits of business ethics and legal accountability, and also striking at the core of what it means for presidential conduct to be scrutinized.

Legal analyst Jonathan Turley weighed in on the development via X, suggesting that the request “is particularly interesting. I cannot imagine a need for the instruction unless there was an early disagreement in that room on the evidence and the standards,” Turley wrote. “That could indicate at least one juror who is not convinced by either Steinglass or Blanche saying that this is a no-brainer.”


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The jury wrapped up their discussions for the day at 4:06 p.m., and Judge Merchan emphasized the importance of confidentiality, instructing them not to share details of their deliberations with anyone, engage in exchanges for benefits, or follow any media coverage concerning the trial.

The prosecutors notified Judge Merchan that the jurors’ request to review the testimony from David Pecker and Michael Cohen covers about 30 pages, anticipating that the rereading would take roughly 30 minutes.

“One threshold issue is whether any of Cohen’s testimony should be considered,” Turley continued. “What if a juror invoked Merchan’s instruction that, if Cohen lied on any material point, the jury should feel free to disregard the entirety of his testimony. That would raise whether there is corroboration (as in the Trump Tower) as well as the instruction.”


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