Prosecutors rest case in Trump hush money trial

May 20, 2024, 3:40 PM | Updated: 4:20 pm

former president trump shown, hush money trial verdict in...

Former President Donald Trump speaks to the media as he enters Manhattan Criminal Court on Friday, April 19, 2024 in New York. (Spencer Platt/Pool Photo via AP)

(Spencer Platt/Pool Photo via AP)

NEW YORK — Prosecutors in former President Donald Trump’s hush money trial rested their case on Monday, turning it over to the defense team.

Related: Adult film star testifies in Trump hush money case

ABC News Legal Analyst Royal Oakes joined Jeff Caplan’s Afternoon News to discuss the developments in the trial.

The podcast and a portion of the transcript are below. This interview has been edited for clarity.


Jeff Caplan: The other story we’re following closely; the prosecution is done at the Trump trial. They rested today. ABC News Legal Analyst Royal Oakes is joining us live. Royal, did the prosecution prove its case to the jury?

Royal Oakes: Well that depends on how you feel about the whole Michael Cohen situation. The fact of the matter is Cohen’s credibility was shredded in several days of really rough cross-examination.

But from the DA’s standpoint, their hope is that even if the jurors have no use for Michael Cohen, the documents themselves are enough to convict Donald Trump.

For example, those checks that Trump signed.

Just one inch away from his distinctive Sharpie signature, you got the words “legal expenses.”

The jury may well conclude that Donald Trump must have known that was a lie. That would be enough to convict him, in spite of the fact that they don’t really like Michael Cohen.

Caplan: Okay, so it’s all a question of how you see it.

But one thing is clear. The Trump defense team is going to put on its case. We’re getting some indications it might be quick.

How long are they expecting this to run?

Oakes: Based on what we’ve heard in the last hour or so, Donald Trump is not going to testify.

What the defense did was that they called a paralegal today just to identify some documents.

But then a substantive issue arose. Robert Costello, who used to represent Michael Cohen and thinks that Cohen is a liar, was free to testify about otherwise privileged stuff.

He testified in a very contentious session in front of the jury and the judge, saying that Cohen was a liar.

The witness just sort of rolled his eyes and said the word “Jeez” under his breath when the judge issued an order that was adverse to Trump. The judge actually dismissed the jury out of the room so he could yell at the witness saying, “you can’t do that, you have to show respect for the courts.”

So that probably boomeranged on the Trump side.

Now the Trump lawyers are telling us that tomorrow they will wrap up their case pretty quickly, which is a very clear signal they are not going to call Donald Trump as a witness.

Listen to the podcast for the entire interview.

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Prosecutors rest case in Trump hush money trial