Trump trial live updates: Drama sweeps courtroom

After 20 witnesses, prosecutors rested their case in Trump's hush money trial.

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Last updated: Monday, May 20, 2024 11:01PM GMT
Trump Trial: Prosecutors rest their case
Donald Trump's hush money trial is heading into the final stretch, with prosecutors' last witness back on the stand Monday for more grilling before the former president's lawyers get their chance to put on a case.

NEW YORK -- Former President Donald Trump is on trial in New York City, where he is facing felony charges related to a 2016 hush money payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels. It marks the first time in history that a former U.S. president has been tried on criminal charges.

Trump last April pleaded not guilty to a 34-count indictment charging him with falsifying business records in connection with a hush money payment his then-attorney Michael Cohen made to Daniels in order to boost his electoral prospects in the 2016 presidential election.

Key Headlines

Here's how the news is developing.
ByNadine El-Bawab ABCNews logo
May 20, 2024, 6:50 PM GMT

What are the potential outcomes of Trump's hush money trial?

Apr 19, 2024, 6:02 PM GMT

Who are the key players?

AP logo
May 20, 2024, 1:48 PM GMT

Michael Cohen returns to the stand

Michael Cohen has returned to the courtroom for his fourth day of testimony in Donald Trump's hush money trial. He nodded at a court officer but didn't look at the former president or the defense table as he made his way to the witness stand.

Trump turned his head and looked in Cohen's direction as he was taking the witness stand.

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May 20, 2024, 1:39 PM GMT

Judge declines to broaden scope of testimony from potential witnesses

The judge in Donald Trump's hush money trial declined Monday to broaden the scope of testimony that the defense can elicit from a potential expert witness, Bradley A. Smith, a former Bill Clinton-appointed Republican Federal Election Commission member.

Judge Juan M. Merchan echoed his pretrial ruling that, if called, Smith can give general background on the FEC - its purpose, background and the laws it enforces - and the definitions of such terms as "campaign contribution."

Merchan rejected the defense's renewed efforts to have Smith define three terms in federal election law, saying it would breach rules preventing expert witnesses from interpreting the law. Nor can Smith opine on whether the former president's alleged actions violate those laws, Merchan said.

If Smith were to testify about those issues, Merchan said, the prosecution would then be permitted to call an expert of its own. That would result in a "battle of the experts," the judge said, "which would only serve to confuse and not assist the jury."

Smith is a law professor, and that there often are guardrails around expert testimony on legal matters, on the basis that it's up to a judge - not an expert hired by one side or the other - to instruct jurors on applicable laws in a case.

ABCNews logo
May 20, 2024, 12:57 PM GMT

Judge says summations will likely happen next Tuesday

"Good morning Mr. Trump," Judge Juan Merchan said as he gaveled in the proceedings.

"It's become apparent that we are not going to be able to sum up tomorrow," the judge said after taking the bench.

Merchan said it's more likely summations will take place next Tuesday, after procedural matters and the Memorial Day break.

"Either have a long break now or a long break then, and unfortunately the calendar is what it is," the judge said.

ABCNews logo
May 20, 2024, 12:47 PM GMT

Trump, prosecutors enter courtroom

Prosecutors have entered the courtroom for Day 19 of the trial.

Trump has arrived with his entourage.

Before entering, the former president addressed reporters but ignored their questions about whether he'll testify in the trial.