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The trial involving Trump’s hush money enters a new phase following the defense’s decision to rest without testimony from the former president

Donald Trump Jr. speaks outside the criminal court (Via Julia Benn/Getty Images)

Donald Trump’s trial over hush money entered a new phase on Tuesday, moving closer to the jury’s decision without the former president testifying in his defense.

“Your honor, the defense rests,” said Trump’s lawyer Todd Blanche to the judge. The defense concluded with a former federal prosecutor who aimed to challenge the credibility of the prosecution’s main witness, one of two witnesses called by the defense. The Manhattan district attorney’s office presented 20 witnesses over 15 days before resting its case on Monday.

The jury was dismissed for a week until May 28, when closing arguments are scheduled. Meanwhile, lawyers returned to discuss how the judge will guide jurors before deliberations, providing instructions to help them apply the law to the evidence and testimony.

Former President Donald Trump speaks at Manhattan Criminal court (Via Frank Boult/Shutterstock)

Trump, the first former U.S. president facing a criminal trial, did not explain why he chose not to testify. While he previously expressed interest in testifying, it’s common for defendants to opt out without consequence. His legal team focused on undermining the credibility of prosecution witnesses rather than proving his innocence, a standard defense tactic given that the burden of proof rests with the prosecution in criminal cases.

Despite Trump’s criticism of the trial as politically motivated, he has used it to bolster his campaign efforts, fundraising, criticizing President Joe Biden, and showcasing support from his political allies.

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