Trump trial: Defense rests, clearing way for jury deliberations next week

NEW YORK — Donald Trump’s defense team rested its case on Tuesday morning after questioning two witnesses in as many days in the former president’s hush money trial.

Trump did not take the stand, a decision that came after Judge Juan Merchan left open the opportunity for prosecutors to question Trump about some of his unrelated legal battles.

“We’ll be resting pretty quickly, meaning resting the case. I won’t be resting. I don’t rest. I’d like to rest sometimes, but I don’t get to rest,” Trump told reporters as he entered the courtroom Tuesday.

Defense attorneys first questioned a paralegal who worked at Trump attorney Todd Blanche’s law firm. The paralegal, Daniel Sitko, had created a chart of dozens of phone calls between Michael Cohen and a longtime attorney who once advised him named Robert Costello. Sitko explained the chart and confirmed details of it on Monday.

Costello served as the defense attorneys’ second and final witness. Trump attorney Emil Bove began questioning Costello later on Monday, and his testimony ran into Tuesday morning.

Trump’s team brought Costello in to dispute aspects of the testimony of Cohen, who accused Costello of dangling a pardon in front of him in 2018, when Cohen was facing prosecution.

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Merchan announced Tuesday that attorneys would present closing arguments in one week and that he expected jury deliberations to begin Monday, meaning a verdict could come by the end of next week.

This story is developing and will be updated.

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