Here are the top 5 biggest moments from Trump’s NY trial

Former President Trump’s New York criminal trial is nearing its end as the jury deliberates Wednesday, but the proceedings have been a roller coaster for weeks.

The trial began April 15, and the former president has railed against the prosecutors, Judge Juan Merchan and some of the witnesses throughout the process. Here are some of the biggest moments over the past few weeks.

Michael Cohen admits to stealing from the Trump Org

Ex-lawyer Michael Cohen was the “star witness” for the prosecution, testifying that he had been the middleman for hush money payments from Trump to adult film actress Stormy Daniels.

Cohen admitted in testimony on May 20 that he stole thousands of dollars from the Trump Organization by overstating how much he paid a tech company that provided services for the Trump Organization.

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“You stole from the Trump Org, right?” Trump attorney Todd Blanche asked Cohen.

“Yes, sir,” Cohen responded.

The testimony stems from his comments earlier in the trial, when he detailed to the court that he and former Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg calculated a $420,000 repayment to Cohen for his $130,000 payment to Daniels. The payment to Daniels came ahead of the 2016 election to quiet her claims of an alleged affair with Trump in 2006. 

Cohen previously testified that the repayment was “grossed up” to prevent him from taking a tax hit, and also included reimbursement for paying tech company Red Finch an alleged $50,000.

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Cohen testified Monday that he went to TD Bank and withdrew cash over a couple of days to pay Red Finch for its services, and stored the money in a brown paper bag. The cash ultimately totaled about $20,000, which he gave to Red Finch’s CEO, according to Cohen, but he said he never gave the company the full $50,000. 

During a 2017 meeting on the repayment plan, Cohen said, he told Weisselberg he paid Red Finch $50,000 – meaning he pocketed the $30,000 difference.

Stormy Daniels’ testimony backfires

Daniels testified earlier in the trial about her affair with Trump, telling the court that he paid her off to keep quiet.

Her testimony went into vulgar detail about her interactions with Trump, and many commentators – even those critical of the former president – thought it was a disaster for the prosecution.

“The View” co-host Alyssa Farah Griffin, a former Trump aide who is now a strong critic, also questioned Daniels’ credibility.

“I actually don’t believe she needed to go into salacious detail. I would have liked to hear from Stormy, who is a mom, who wants to live a private life, wants to put this behind her, has been exploited by countless men in her life,” Griffin said. “She was there under subpoena just to confirm what she is able to.”

Stormy Daniels

CNN senior legal analyst Elie Honig offered his own opinion about Daniels taking the stand. Honig claimed that cross-examination by Trump’s team had successfully brought up the topic of her credibility.

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“Her responses were disastrous,” Honig said, referring also to the moment when Daniels said she hated Trump.

“When the witness hates the person whose liberty is at stake, that’s a big damn deal!” Honig said. “And she’s putting out tweets, fantasizing about him being in jail. That really undermines the credibility.”

Judge threatens Trump with jail time over gag order

Much of the drama in the trial has centered on Judge Juan Merchan’s gag order against Trump, which prevents the former president from criticizing witnesses.

Merchan sided with prosecutors when they accused him of violating the gag order multiple times. The judge fined Trump $9,000 – $1,000 for each violation – and warned him that further violations could result in jail time.

Trump speaks to media

The judge detailed that if Trump carries out “continued willful violations” of the gag order, he could face “incarceratory punishment” if “necessary and appropriate.”

Trump attorneys argue the gag order is a violation of the former president’s First Amendment rights. District Attorney Alvin Bragg and his office alleged Trump violated the order at least 14 times. The gag order was imposed on Trump on April 1.

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Trump complained about the gag order nearly every time he spoke to the press outside the courtroom.

Judge shuts down Trump’s motion for a mistrial

Trump’s defense attorneys moved for a mistrial amid Daniels’ testimony, arguing it had been prejudicial.

Merchan said a mistrial was not warranted and that he was doing everything he could to control the witness, including once objecting to Daniels’ testimony himself.

“I agree that it would have been better if some of these things had been left unsaid,” Merchan said at the time.

Donald Trump attends his criminal trial

Blanche argued the prosecution was trying to inflame the jury with Daniels’ testimony, including with evidence that he said does not matter. Blanche said it is prejudicial testimony and evidence, saying Daniels has been trying to sell her story about an alleged consensual sexual encounter since 2016.

“We believe there should be a mistrial,” he said, “or that this witness’ testimony is excluded and extremely limited.”

Blanche said Daniels’ lurid and explosive testimony “has nothing to do with this case” and is “totally irrelevant.”

Biden campaign sends Robert De Niro to Trump’s trial

Actor Robert De Niro crashed Trump’s trial in an appearance with President Biden’s campaign outside the Manhattan courtroom on Tuesday.

De Niro railed against Trump, arguing he would destroy the country if he gains office in 2024.

De Niro was heckled by Trump supporters as he was leaving the podium after giving his remarks. He even got into a shouting match with one man in a MAGA hat who called him a “washed up” actor.

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Donald Trump and Robert De Niro in Manhattan Tuesday

“De Niro being chased out of his own press conference is epic,” one Trump supporter wrote on X. Another added, “New Yorkers hate him! This didn’t go the way he thought it would.”

The Biden campaign event was mocked as a joke by many commentators on the right.

“It was beautiful!” Juanita Broaddrick added on X. “De Niro’s TDS has metastasized to his brain. He has dual citizenship in Italy. He can move there after November.”

Trump campaign senior adviser Steven Cheung called the Biden camp’s press conference “election interference of the highest order.” 

“Crooked Joe Biden and his campaign are in complete freakout mode,” he added.

De Niro was joined by the Biden campaign’s communications director, Michael Tyler – who called Trump a “chaos agent” – as well as retired D.C. Metropolitan Police Department Officer Michael Fanone and former Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn, who were both present at the Capitol during the Jan. 6 riot.

Fox News’ Emma Colton, Brooke Singman and Hanna Panreck contributed to this report.

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