Trump trial: Former president doesn’t testify as defence rests

Donald Trump will not testify in his historic criminal trial, after his defence team rested their case on Tuesday.

It will be up to his lawyers to speak for him instead as they deliver closing statements next week.

Though Mr Trump decided not to testify, he talked at length to the press waiting outside the courtroom.

“I think a great case was put on. There is no crime,” Mr Trump said just before the afternoon session.

It is not unusual for criminal defendants to choose not to take the stand, legal experts say.

Testifying under oath would have opened Mr Trump up to aggressive questioning from prosecutors, as well as other elements of his background including unfavourable verdicts in his recent civil trials.

Mr Trump faces 34 felony charges of falsifying business records, to which he has pleaded not guilty. Prosecutors say that he falsified records of reimbursements to his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, who had paid $130,000 (£102,000) in hush money to an adult film star before the 2016 election. They allege that he did so to commit or conceal a second crime.

Before resting their case, his lawyers called just two witnesses, following a parade of 20 witnesses for the prosecution.

Justice Juan Merchan dismissed the jury mid-morning, telling them to return on Tuesday for closing statements from both prosecutors and Mr Trump’s lawyers.

He then oversaw a flurry of business to set the jury up to begin deliberations, devoting the afternoon to a highly technical but crucial hearing to determine how he will instruct the jury before they are sent to deliberate.

Both sides made suggestions on how the judge will tell the jury to apply the law and use the evidence in this case.

Many of the lawyers’ arguments were highly technical. In one example, there was a debate about referring to Mr Trump’s former lawyer Cohen’s past “crime” or, as there was more than one, “crimes”. Cohen was a key witness for the prosecution.

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