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?

ABCNews logo
May 20, 2024, 7:17 PM GMT

Prosecutors play recording of Cohen discussing payment

Prosecutor Susan Hoffinger, with Michael Cohen back on the stand, played an Oct. 16, 2017, recording that Cohen secretly made of a conversation with Stormy Daniels' then-attorney Keith Davidson regarding the Stormy Daniels payment.

"What would you do if you were me?" Cohen is heard asking on the recording.

"Ugh. I can't even -- I don't even know. ... I can't even imagine," says Davidson.

"I mean, would you write a book, would you break away from the entire Trump, you know, we'll call it doctrine, you know, would you go completely rouge, would you join with Bannon, you know. What -- I mean any -- any thoughts?" Cohen asks.

"Because it's not just me that's now being affected. It is my entire family. It's, you know -- and the --- there's no -- nobody is thinking about Michael. You understand? And despite what like -- for example, you know, what the earlier conversation, you know, and who else would do that for somebody, who else?" he says on the recording.

" I did [it], because I care about that guy and I wasn't going to play pennywise, pound foolish," COhen says, to which Davidson replied, "Right."

"And I'm sitting there and I'm saying to myself, what about me?" says Cohen. "And I can't --- I can't even tell you how many times he said to me, you know, 'I hate the fact that we did it.' And my comment to him was, "But every person that you've spoken to told you it was the right move."

Asked by Hoffinger about the recording, Cohen said, "I was referring to the payment that I made to Keith Davidson that I made on behalf of Mr. Trump."

"How has telling the truth about what you did with Mr. Trump affected you?" Hoffinger asked.

"My entire life has been turned upside down. I lost my law license, my businesses, my financial security, which I was fortunate early to be able to obtain. My family's happiness is paramount," said Cohen.

ABCNews logo
May 20, 2024, 6:48 PM GMT

Lawyers agree to admit photo under Cohen's testimony

Prosecutors reached a compromise with defense counsel that prevents the need to recall C-SPAN executive Robert Browning to testify.

The state has called Michael Cohen back to the stand to introduce their desired photo evidence through Cohen's testimony.

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May 20, 2024, 5:29 PM GMT

Prosecution seeks to show screenshot of C-SPAN video to jury

After the jury was excused for lunch on Monday, prosecutors said they're seeking to show them a screenshot from a C-SPAN video of Donald Trump and his bodyguard Keith Schiller together at a campaign event on Oct. 24, 2016, just minutes before Cohen called Schiller's cell phone.

Prosecutor Joshua Steinglass told Judge Juan M. Merchan they wanted to show the image to blunt any suggestion by the defense that Trump and Schiller might not have been together at the time in question. Trump lawyer Todd Blanche said he never suggested, nor would he suggest, they were apart.

Cohen previously testified that he needed to speak with Trump "to discuss the Stormy Daniels matter and the resolution of it" and he knew that Schiller would be with him. Cohen wired $130,000 to Daniels' lawyer two days after the call in question.

Citing text messages and telephone records, Blanche pressed Cohen last week on the subject matter of the call, eliciting testimony that the witness was also dealing with harassing phone calls from a person who'd identified himself as a 14-year-old boy.

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May 20, 2024, 5:28 PM GMT

Prosecutors remind court that Cohen is not on trial

As she questioned Michael Cohen again on redirect, prosecutor Susan Hoffinger took a dig at the defense's exacting cross-examination of him during Donald Trump's hush money trial.

"I know you might feel like you're on trial here after cross-examination, but are you actually on trial here?," she asked.

"No, ma'am," Cohen replied after a defense objection was overruled.

Asked to describe the difference between testifying in court against Trump and the 2018 federal case in which he pleaded guilty to various crimes, Cohen said: "My life was on the line. My liberty. I was the defendant in that case. Here, I'm just a non-party subpoenaed witness."