NY v Trump: Prosecution says they have presented 'powerful evidence' against former president

New York prosecutors presented the jury with their closing argument in the case against former President Trump Tuesday, saying the case is “about a conspiracy and a cover-up,” and maintained that they have presented “powerful evidence” to convict. 

Trump is charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree. He has pleaded not guilty. 

Prosecutors need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Trump falsified records to conceal a $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels, a pornographic performer, in the lead-up to the 2016 election to silence her about an alleged affair with Trump in 2006. The former president has maintained his innocence.

New York prosecutor Joshua Steinglass presented the closing arguments for Bragg. Steinglass presented his closing argument for more than five hours. 

Steinglass said Trump’s intent to defraud “could not be any clearer,” arguing that it would have been far easier for him to pay Stormy Daniels directly. Instead, the prosecutor said, he concocted an elaborate scheme and everything he and his cohorts did was “cloaked in lies.”

“The name of the game was concealment and all roads lead inescapably to the man who benefited the most: the defendant, former President Donald Trump,” Steinglass said.


Steinglass defended their use of Michael Cohen as a witness, telling the jury: “I’m not asking you to feel bad for Michael Cohen. He made his bed.” 

“But you can hardly blame him for making money from the one thing he has left, which is his knowledge of the inner workings of the Trump Organization,” he said. 

“We didn’t choose Michael Cohen to be our witness. We didn’t pick him up at the witness store,” Steinglass said. “The defendant chose Michael Cohen to be his fixer because he was willing to lie and cheat on the defendant’s behalf.” 

Cohen had testified he was “reimbursed $420,000” for the $130,000 he paid to Daniels. Cohen said former Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg suggested he “gross up” the payments and that Trump knew the details of the reimbursement.

The prosecution presented Cohen with 11 checks totaling $420,000. Cohen confirmed they were all received and deposited. The checks had a description of “retainer,” which Cohen said was false.

Meanwhile, Steinglass argued the prosecution presented the jury with “smoking guns,” referring to handwritten notes by former Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg and ex-controller Jeffrey McConney.

The two documents show calculations related to the payments Cohen got in 2017. They included $130,000, in addition to as well as an unrelated payment, a bonus, and money to cover taxes, according to testimony.

“They are the smoking guns,” Steinglass said, saying they “completely blow out of the water” the defense’s claims that the payments were for legal work. 

Steinglass went on to accuse Trump of “lies” in bank accounts, shell companies, false denials. 

“The name of the game was concealment and all roads lead to the man who benefited most, the defend, Donald Trump,” he said.

Steinglass said Trump was actively trying to prevent “catch & kill” scheme from going public, saying “he had every reason to conceal election fraud.” 

Halfway through Steinglass’ presentation, Trump exited the courtroom, only to post on his Truth Social his opinion of the lengthy closing argument by the prosecution. 

“BORING!” Trump posted on Truth Social Tuesday.

Steinglass went on to highlight a phone call between Cohen and Trump on Oct. 8, 2016 — the day after the “Access Hollywood” tape was made public. 


“There’s just no way — no way! — Cohen wouldn’t tell Mr. Trump about Daniels in that phone call,” Steinglass claimed. 

Pointing to more calls, many around the time of key developments in the Daniels negotiations, Steinglass asked, “Is this timing all a coincidence?”

Wrapping up his five-hour presentation, Steinglass, echoing an infamous Trump line: “Donald Trump can’t shoot someone on Fifth Avenue at rush hour and get away with it.” 

The comment prompted an objection from Trump’s lawyer, which was sustained.

Trump pleaded not guilty to all charges. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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