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New York judge loses mind after Trump’s lawyer’s shocking plea, urging jurors ‘not to send Trump to prison’

The American public remains hungry to see the outcome of the New York hush-money case as the trial is coming to an end. Labeled as a circus, the several-week-long trial has been pure entertainment for the public as the former president and presumptive Republican candidate for president, Donald Trump, became the first ever president to stand trial on criminal charges. The trial continued Tuesday as defendant Trump’s lawyer, Todd Blanche, began his nearly two-hour-long closing argument.

About the case

In this high-profile case, Trump is accused of 34 felony charges including fabricating company records, which carries a maximum four-year prison sentence. He has put up a not guilty plea and disputes any wrongdoing. Central to the trial are accusations that Trump and his allies used hush money payments to try to bury negative headlines during the 2016 presidential campaign. This includes paying an adult film actress who said she had a se*ual experience with Trump ten years prior. Former fixer and attorney for Trump, Michael Cohen, admitted to arranging a $130,000 payment to the actress, Stormy Daniels, to prevent her from going public with her story. Cohen subsequently pleaded guilty to federal charges related to these payments and to lying to Congress.

Cohen received a prison term and was disbarred later, but because of his direct participation in these activities, he is the most important witness in the prosecution. With accusations of dishonesty and a determination to see Trump convicted, the proceedings have grown extremely heated since Cohen’s testimony. The trial, which takes place in the middle of the presidential campaign where Trump is expected to face President Joe Biden, is likely to remain the only trial against former President Trump, as he and his legal team successfully created a complicated legal scheme in an effort to postpone the start of the trials in all three remaining cases against Trump for after the November election.

Closing arguments

When Todd Blanche, Trump’s lawyer, was nearing the end of his close to two-hour closing argument, he emphasized to the jury that their verdict should not be swayed by their personal or political opinions about Trump, pointing out that this trial should not be seen as a vote on his political future. With this statement, Blanche shot himself because Trump and his campaign maintain that this entire trial is in fact a politically motivated sham that directly impacts the election. At the conclusion of his speech, while expressing gratitude to the jurors, Blanche slipped up. He suggested that if they focused solely on the evidence presented, they should quickly and easily find Trump not guilty. He also urged them not to send Trump to prison.

At the conclusion of his speech, Todd Blanche suggested that if the jury focused solely on the evidence presented, they should quickly and easily find Trump not guilty.
Judge Juan Merchan, Courtesy of @PoliticsOnX on X (former Twitter)

An escalating moment

At this moment, prosecutor Joshua Steinglass rose to object. He described the remark as a clear and completely inappropriate attempt to gain sympathy for Trump, and he asked for a corrective instruction, according to The New York Times. Judge Merchan, visibly angry, then reprimanded Blanche for his “outrageous” comment. He reminded Blanche, who had been a prosecutor before, that such remarks were out of bounds.

“Making a comment like that is highly inappropriate,” he told Blanche before the court break for lunch. “It’s simply not allowed, period.”

At the conclusion of his speech, Todd Blanche suggested that if the jury focused solely on the evidence presented, they should quickly and easily find Trump not guilty.
Prison. Credit: Unsplash

Why does it matter

Blanche’s comment was problematic because it could have confused the jurors about the consequences of convicting Trump, potentially making them rethink their decision based on the implied severity of the punishment. However, it’s important to remember that if Trump is convicted, it will be Judge Merchan, not the jurors, who determines his sentence, which might not even include jail time.

“That comment was improper and you must disregard it,” Merchan told the jurors after lunch on Tuesday.

Jurors could begin deliberations as soon as Wednesday.

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