The jury in Donald Trump’s hush money trial will receive instructions. A mosquito-borne virus is surging in Latin America and threatening the U.S. Plus, the MLB history books are getting a historic addition.

Here’s what to know today.

Jury to weigh Trump’s fate in his first criminal trial

The 12-person jury in Donald Trump’s hush money trial is set to begin deliberations after it receives instructions from Judge Juan Merchan on the laws it will need to consider as it decides the historic case. The instructions and deliberations follow a day of closing arguments that, at times, felt as if star witness Michael Cohen was on trial, rather than the former president. 

Defense lawyer Todd Blanche focused much of his three-hour closing argument on Cohen, Trump’s former fixer, calling him “the MVP of lying” and “the GLOAT,” or “the greatest liar of all time.” Cohen’s credibility matters so much to the defense because his testimony tended to corroborate the narrative of New York prosecutors: that false business records were created; that the falsification was designed to cover up a conspiracy to aid Trump’s 2016 campaign; and that Trump was involved in the conspiracy and intended to defraud the public. 

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The prosecution attacked the Trump team’s focus on the trial’s key witness, calling Blanche’s focus on Cohen “a deflection.” Yet, Cohen was also a central player in prosecutor Joshua Steinglass’ closing remarks. “He answered to the defendant directly,” Steinglass said of Cohen’s relationship with Trump. “He got the jobs no one else wanted, the jobs the defendant wanted to keep quiet.” Ultimately, the case rests on documents and testimony from other witnesses, Steinglass argued — such as former magazine publisher David Pecker, longtime Trump aide Hope Hicks and others. 

Trump is charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records related to hush money payments Cohen made to adult film star Stormy Daniels in the closing days of the 2016 presidential election.

Read more key takeaways from the closing arguments and what to expect today.

More Trump trial news: 

  • “You are gangsters”: Actor Robert De Niro clashed with pro-Trump protesters outside the Manhattan courthouse where Donald Trump’s trial is taking place.

Gaza war adds uncertainty to U.S.-Saudi Arabia deal

‘Every day we get closer’ to normalization with Israel, Saudi crown prince says in rare interview
Chesnot / Getty Images file

Despite the United States and Saudi Arabia reaching the final stages of a landmark trade and defense deal, a finalized set of agreements is far off, with Israel’s war in Gaza and the timing of the U.S. presidential election stalling the negotiations, according to U.S. officials. The deal would boost Saudi Arabia’s military defenses against Iran, provide U.S. assistance for Saudi civilian nuclear infrastructure and more. While some Republicans in Congress are pushing for an agreement, Democrats are very unlikely to approve such a deal without having concrete assurances about a future Palestinian state.

As the U.S. inches closer to the presidential election and the war in Gaza persists, some experts expressed pessimism at the chances of an overarching deal. But a series of smaller agreements might be on the table.

More on the Israel-Hamas war: 

  • The White House said that Israel had not crossed the Biden administration’s “red line” as it pushed deeper into Rafah just days after an airstrike sparked a major fire that killed dozens of Palestinians.
  • An “All Eyes on Rafah” image has been shared more than 37 million times on Instagram. Here’s why.
  • The U.S. military was forced to suspend aid deliveries into the Gaza Strip by sea after its temporary pier system suffered damage.

A historic update to Major League Baseball’s records

Mark Rucker / Transcendental Graphics/Getty Images file

Major League Baseball’s record books are in for a long-awaited update today, when Negro Leagues statistics officially become part of the historic record. The change, which is more than three years in the making, opens the door for 2,300 Negro Leagues players to have their accomplishments recognized.

Among names you can expect to see at the top of the ranks is Josh Gibson, long considered one of the best baseball players to ever hold a bat. During his Negro Leagues career in the 1930s and ’40s, he eclipsed records set by major league legends Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth in categories including batting average and slugging percentage.

The additions are only the beginning, with more updates coming as researchers pore over more newspaper clippings, microfilm and anecdotal accounts to add to the record.

Woman sues Florida sheriff over searches at her home

Okaloosa County Sheriff Eric Aden
Gerald Herbert / AP file

A woman has sued a Florida sheriff, alleging that she was twice forced out of her home naked as deputies executed warrants. LaTanya Griffin said she was neither arrested nor charged after the encounters, and her attorney said she was not the target of the warrants. Griffin alleged in the suit that her Fourth Amendment rights — which prohibit unreasonable searches and seizures — were violated, and she’s seeking damages of more than $1 million. The lawsuit details the searches that Griffin’s attorney said left her “humiliated.”

The sheriff’s department at the center of the lawsuit, the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, was under scrutiny earlier this month after a deputy fatally shot Air Force Senior Airman Roger Fortson, a Black man, in his apartment.

Dengue fever threatens the U.S.

Latin America is experiencing its worst dengue fever outbreak on record, and experts say it should be a warning of what the virus could look like in the future because of climate change. Cases in Latin America during the first 4½ months of this year are already 238% higher than they were by this time last year, thanks to an unusually warm and wet summer season.

Once confined to the tropics, the mosquitoes that carry dengue fever are now regularly found in southern parts of the U.S. A warming climate expands mosquitoes’ habitat — thus explaining their spread — and allows them to breed year-round. Meanwhile, people who travel to regions that have higher-than-usual cases risk bringing the virus back home. Here’s what to know about dengue fever symptoms and its spread.

Politics in Brief

Texas politics: State House Speaker Dade Phelan narrowly fended off a challenge from a conservative activist in a bitter primary election runoff, marking a victory for the establishment wing of the Texas GOP. And Republican Rep. Tony Gonzales won his primary runoff in Texas’ 23rd Congressional District, defeating a pro-gun YouTuber. 

Ohio ballot drama: The Democratic National Convention plans to hold a “virtual roll call” to nominate Joe Biden before the party’s August convention, a tactic meant to spare the president the danger of being left off Ohio’s general election ballot.

Want more politics news? Sign up for From the Politics Desk to get exclusive reporting and analysis delivered to your inbox every weekday evening. Subscribe here.

Staff Pick: The ‘Espresso’ earworm

Sabrina Carpenter singer
Amy Harris / Invision/AP file

“I’m working late ‘cause I’m a singer,” has been stuck in my head for weeks. No matter what I play on Spotify, Sabrina Carpenter’s “Espresso” always seems to play next and I never skip it. The song just sounds like summer to me. But what does that really mean? It turns out, the “song of the summer” isn’t just a feeling, it’s an actual phenomenon. I talked to music industry experts about what makes “Espresso” so addictive and how it can become the official anthem of summer 2024. — Kaetlyn Liddy, newsroom coordinator

NBC Select: Online Shopping, Simplified 

Pulling out your white clothes for summer? Here’s how to get them extra bright without using bleach, according to experts. It’s also time to switch to linen sheets — NBC Select found the seven best sets.

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