WEDNESDAY LIVE UPDATES FROM INSIDE TRUMP TRIAL: TGP Contributor Paul Ingrassia Reports from Inside Judge Merchan’s Kangaroo Court – Jury Deliberations Begin

Credit: Charly Triballeau / AFP – Getty Images

President Donald Trump is back in court today on Wednesday in Juan Merchan’s show trial in New York City.

The prosecution has yet to define the alleged criminal act that President Trump committed. But it doesn’t matter. The court is ready to find Trump guilty and send him to prison.

This is Joe Biden’s America.

The Gateway Pundit contributor Paul Ingrassia is attending the ongoing show trial today in New York City today. Paul has been live-reporting from inside the Merchan kangaroo court for several days now.

Paul ended his reporting yesterday with this analysis:

Merchan wants to end by 8 p.m. tonight, Prosecution shows no signs of slowing down.

This really speaks to Merchan’s incompetence as a judge. He’s allowing the Prosecution to run the clock to the nighttime hours, which is absolutely ridiculous and unnecessary. Of course, this is by design: he and the prosecution are one and the same. He has a financial, political, and ideological stake in a guilty verdict. He hates Donald Trump with a passion, and will destroy what morsels of integrity remain in the justice system in order to force a guilty verdict — this is political persecution of the highest order.

This entire proceeding is riven with PREJUDICE. The entire case must be tossed out.

The jury will deliberate between 10 AM and 4:30 PM starting today.

We will be posting Paul Ingrassia’s live updates below.

Paul Ingrassia 9:05 AM: SPOTTED OUTSIDE THE COURTHOUSE: A Pro-Trump protest banner that reads: Stop partisan conspiracy Stop political witch hunt Stop DEM kangaroo court Vote Trump to Save America More Americans are waking up and calling out this Biden Show Trial for what it is: political persecution against the presidential frontrunner! MAGA!

Paul Ingrassia 9:20 AM:BREAKING: Several of us who have been reporting fair and accurate coverage from inside the Trump Criminal Trial have noticed that our X accounts are being throttled in recent days, in response to the overwhelming national interest in this show trial.

@elonmusk it is absolutely imperative that the truth gets out, especially considering how few honest reporters, such as myself and @AndrewHGiuliani get access to the courthouse. Most of the press here come from legacy outfits like @nytimes, @politico, @thehill, @CNN, and @MSNBC. You can count on one hand the number of independent journalists and media in the press overhead pool – and just a couple, maybe 2-3, of these are giving live, informed play-by-play all throughout the day.

Since New York State Courts do not allow any criminal trials to be televised (and this is arguably the most high-profile case in American history involving the leading candidate to become the 47th President of the United States) reliance on social media platforms like @X to get the word out to the largest audience possible, without censorship of any sort, is a matter of critical importance. We are observing the death of due process in real time; let us hope and pray that another fundamental constitutional rights — freedom of speech and the press — do not go down with it! 

Paul Ingrassia 9:50 AM: BREAKING: So, what can we expect on the docket today? Because of how late court ended last evening, Merchan delayed today’s session until 10 AM, to give jurors a little extra time in the morning. He clearly wants them well-rested, and also wants to avoid alienating them from Bragg Prosecutor, Steinglass’, overlong over-complicated rant of a summation, which tested the endurance of even the most dyed-in-the-wool liberal.

Today, jury instructions will begin. We’ll see how long that might last. Given the complexity of the prosecution’s theory of the case, it could last for some time. The judge will likely give a run down on the law (to the extent, a statute or controlling law exists here) and explain the evidentiary standard. It remains to be determined whether jury deliberations begin today, or tomorrow. Jury instructions are not expected to last more than a day, and it is highly unlikely today’s court session will go as long as yesterday.

What about the jurors? Most are doubtlessly left-leaning, based on their media consumption. While few checked off that they were MSNBC viewers, an overwhelming majority consumed The NY Times and CNN. Few watched Fox News. Only 1 had a Truth Social account; although that’s hit-or-miss: could just be a liberal obsessively hate viewing President Trump’s Truths. There are many such cases of that, especially in Manhattan.

So, what about the two lawyers? I saw many people saying on X that lawyers should naturally be better acquainted with the legal system, and thus more easily identify the countless abuses allowed to take place all throughout the trial. That may be so. But it is also possible that lawyers (and especially Manhattan lawyers) are among the most liberal of the professions, and thus actually more likely to side in favor of Merchan and Bragg, despite knowing better, than Trump.

Jury deliberations could take as short as an hour, or as long as a day or even more. During deliberations, jurors may pose questions to the judge; but the prosecution and defense can no longer speak to one another. As I get more information about the deliberations process, I will post updates based on what I’ve learned.

While the odds of an acquittal appear slim, it’s quite plausible that this case will result in a hung jury, which requires only one of the twelve jurors to decide in the President’s favor. Based on the reactions of jurors yesterday, they all appeared to be listening intently to Steinglass’ ridiculous screed of a summation, a bad sign. Many laughed at his cringe jokes. One or two, however, were observed rubbing their brows or visibly sighing in response to Steinglass’ closing argument, which may be a sign of hope. Also, as reported by those in the courtroom, several appeared to be nodding along with Blanche, when he delivered his summation, which, in contrast with the Prosecution, was cogent, clear, and concise – on all matters of fact or law.

Paul Ingrassia 9:50 AM: BREAKING: President Trump is expected to be joined in court today with his eldest son, @DonaldJTrumpJr and lawyer, @willscharf, among potentially other guests. I will report more updates as I receive them.

Paul Ingrassia 10:09 AM: BREAKING: Merchan, yet AGAIN, disrespects the office of the presidency by calling President Trump “Mr. Trump,” as soon as he entered the courtroom. And to those who gripe about Donald Trump being a “former President,” just when was the last time any media outlet or authority of any kind referred to Barack Obama as “Mr. Obama.”

Paul Ingrassia 10:19 AM: BREAKING: Merchan now instructing the jury on the law. Says instructions will take about an hour, and that jurors will not receive a copy of them.

Merchan says “Nothing I have said throughout this trial is meant to suggest I have an opinion about the outcome of this case.”

Claims it’s not his “responsibility to judge the evidence here” even though he repeatedly did (both directly and indirectly) by admonishing expert witness Robert Costello for the Defense, and excluding testimony of expert witness on election law from an FEC Commissioner. To say nothing of his dismissive remarks and rude treatment of Defense counsel, Todd Blanche, throughout this trial.

Merchan instructs jurors to put aside “personal biases” they may have about Donald Trump. Says “you must not allow any such opinions to influence your verdict.”

Says “you cannot speculate as to opinions related to sentencing or punishment,” adds “it will be my responsibility, with a guilty verdict, to determine the punishment.”

Paul Ingrassia 10:34 AM: BREAKING: Merchan says the FEC investigation into Cohen should not be used to make a determination of President Trump’s guilty or innocence.

Merchan now explaining presumption of innocence, burden of proof, and requirement of burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

“In determining whether the People have satisfied the burden, you may consider all the evidence admitted.”

“Defendant is not required to prove that he is not guilty. He is not required to prove or disprove anything. The People have the burden of requiring that the Defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The People must prove that the Defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt for every element of the crime, including that Defendant committed the crime.”

Now explaining proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Says “the law does not require guilty beyond all possible doubt. OTOH, it is not sufficient to prove that Defendant is probably guilty. In a criminal case, must be stronger than that: beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Merchan now explains definition of beyond a reasonable doubt — noticeably slurring words, quickly reading explanation, which makes it hard to hear what he has been saying.

“In evaluating the evidence, you must reasonably decide if that can convince you beyond a reasonable doubt of the Defendant’s guilty.”

On witness testimony: “if you find that a witness has testified falsely, you may disregard the entire testimony or take the part you believe to be truthful and disregard the rest.”

“The same factors used in life to determine truthfulness of things should be employed when evaluating the truthfulness of the witness testimony.”

Factors:

-did witness see or hear events witness testifies to
-was it plausible or likely to be true, or implausible?
-was it consistent or inconsistent with other testimony or evidence in case
-did manner in which witness testified reflected on the accuracy of the testimony
-how did witness background affect testimony
-conscious bias affect truthfulness of testimony
-unconscious bias based on stereotypes about people or groups of people, and if so, did it affect the witness’ ability to render truthful or accurate testimony
-did witness have a motive to lie, and if so, to what extent it affected truth of witness testimony?
-did witness expect to receive a benefit from testimony?
-did witness have an interest in the outcome of the case?
-not required to reject testimony of interested witness, or accept testimony of witness with no interest in outcome of the case
-may consider whether witness has been convicted of a crime or engaged in criminal conduct; and whether and to what extent it affects your evaluation of truthfulness of witness testimony
-did witness make statements at trial that are inconsistent with each other, or make previous statements inconsistent with testimony at trial?
-would it have been reasonable or logical for witness to have stated a fact
-contents of prior inconsistent statement are not proof of what happened, but only to evaluate truthfulness or accuracy of testimony at trial
-testimony consistent with other witnesses; if inconsistencies exist, whether they were significant related to important facts, or minor inconsistencies one would expect from multiple witness on the stand

Paul Ingrassia 10:45 AM: BREAKING: Merchan is now articulating the 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree.

Paul Ingrassia 10:50 AM: BREAKING: Merchan says if there was a conspiracy to affect the outcome of an election, jury can consider whether the defendant violated the following laws: 1. Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA) (federal election campaign law) 2. Falsification of Business Records 3. Tax Laws This may be the broadest definition of a crime in history. Merchan is literally throwing the whole book at the jury. What authority does he have as a state court judge from a mediocre law school to opine on something as nuanced as federal election law? It’s so intricate and complex that the FEC has exclusive jurisdiction — and ordinarily preempts — other courts from all federal election law-related issues.

Paul Ingrassia 11:08 AM: BREAKING: Merchan noticeably mumbling throughout his reading of the law describing the crime for which President Trump is charged with 34 counts: falsifying business records in the first degree.

I had to look up the law (and linked below to the source) and have reprinted it below:

§ 175.10 Falsifying business records in the first degree.

A person is guilty of falsifying business records in the first degree when he commits the crime of falsifying business records in the second degree, and when his intent to defraud includes an intent to commit another crime or to aid or conceal the commission thereof.

Falsifying business records in the first degree is a class E felony.

For reference, I have reprinted § 175.05 Falsifying business records in the second degree as well:

A person is guilty of falsifying business records in the second degree when, with intent to defraud, he:

1. Makes or causes a false entry in the business records of an enterprise; or
2. Alters, erases, obliterates, deletes, removes or destroys a true entry in the business records of an enterprise; or
3. Omits to make a true entry in the business records of an enterprise in violation of a duty to do so which he knows to be imposed upon him by law or by the nature of his position; or
4. Prevents the making of a true entry or causes the omission thereof in the business records of an enterprise. Falsifying business records in the second degree is a class A misdemeanor.

References:

175.10

175.05

Paul Ingrassia 11:13 AM: BREAKING: Here is the NY State Election law that Bragg’s Prosecution has accused President Trump of violating:

SECTION 17-152 Conspiracy to promote or prevent election § 17-152.

Conspiracy to promote or prevent election. Any two or more persons who conspire to promote or prevent the election of any person to a public office by unlawful means and which conspiracy is acted upon by
one or more of the parties thereto, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

REFERENCE:

Merchan now explaining the three predicate crimes that may be used to convict President Trump of a criminal conspiracy.

Paul Ingrassia 11:21 AM: BREAKING: Merchan speaking in a very quiet voice, mumbling at times, speed-reading through the jury instructions. Very difficult to hear. Notably, his voice gets slightly louder when he talks about a “guilty” verdict and his voice quiets to a near-whisper when he says “not guilty.” His enunciation and tone leave much to be desired — and showcases clear evidence of bias, in my opinion.

Paul Ingrassia 11:24 AM: BREAKING: The idea that the jury can “mix and match” different crimes, each one proven with a completely different set of elements, flouts the Constitution’s Due Process clause. It is flagrantly unlawful under well-established precedent set by the United States Supreme Court. This is completely unorthodox and unprecedented. No unanimity to reach a guilty verdict violates President Trump’s fundamental rights as a criminal defendant. The magnitude of the error and prejudice here should prompt a mistrial.

Paul Ingrassia 11:26 AM: BREAKING: Merchan has finished his jury instructions. Deliberations to follow.

Paul Ingrassia 11:31 AM: BREAKING: Merchan buttering up the jurors now. Compliments Juror #3 specifically for his/her note-taking abilities. Saying they were all so very attentive throughout the entirety of this trial, and always showed up to court on time ready to listen. Gives credit to Juror #4 and Juror #6 for volunteering to operate the laptop to review all the evidence during deliberations. Clear bias to influence the verdict!

Deliberations have officially commenced.

Paul Ingrassia 11:37 AM: BREAKING: Merchan says he is now going “upstairs.” Tells everyone to remain on standby, and if they leave and the jury reaches a verdict, they must return “quickly.” Hardly anyone from the press pool has left the room.

Paul Ingrassia 11:46 AM: BREAKING: POTUS now speaking, calling Robert DeNiro a “broken down fool.”

Says “it’s a very unfair trial that should’ve never happened. If it was gonna happen, it should’ve happened 7 years ago.”

Criticizes Merchan for not using the #1 election attorney, FEC Commissioner, Brad Smith, who was “ready to testify” but Merchan “wouldn’t let him do it.”

Also admonishes Merchan for his treatment of Bob Costello on the witness stand.

Says while Biden isn’t smart enough to devise, this the people — the “fascists” — around him are behind this.

Calls “November 5th” the most important day of our country, to undo the damage from the Biden Regime: inflation, crime, 15 million illegals, and a rigged and corrupt justice system.

Paul Ingrassia 12:48 PM: RECAP: Just to breakdown how unprecedented Merchan’s novel theory of criminal liability is: Normally, in a criminal trial, the constitutional requirement is that a jury reaches a unanimous verdict on guilt or innocence.

Unanimity requires that all jurors believe the burden of proof, beyond a reasonable doubt, has been satisfied on every element of the alleged crime.

Implicit in this scheme is that there is also unanimity on what the underlying crime is. You can’t have one juror believing the burden of proof was met for one crime, and another juror believing the burden of proof was reached for another, but not the first crime. And because both jurors believed the defendant was guilty for *something* that fact alone should drive a guilty verdict.

The above would be a due process violation — and for obvious reasons, it implicates double jeopardy issues, and completely destroys the extremely high evidentiary standard needed to prove guilt in a criminal trial.

But for Merchan: none of that matters. If juror 1 believes the People did not meet its burden of proof for an FEC violation, but did on some nebulous “tax law violation,” while juror 2 believes the opposite, the fact that they both were in consensus on a guilty verdict is sufficient for a guilty verdict.

This is utterly outrageous. Merchan is deliberately lowering the threshold for what Bragg needs to prove in order to more easily reach a guilty verdict. That’s the only explanation for what he’s doing, never mind the fact that he’s flagrantly ignoring well-established precedent set by the United States Supreme Court that said what Merchan is doing is an unlawful violation of due process.

For all the insinuations heard out of Bragg’s prosecutors mouths over the last few days that suggested Donald Trump ran his business like a mafia don, it’s quite rich that it’s the accusers who are relying on a Machiavellian “ends justify the means” approach of retributive justice to find President Trump guilty, massacring his due process rights along the way.

Paul Ingrassia 1:18 PM: Since her name was invoked, let us pray for the intercession of St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta — and all the saints — to help exonerate this innocent man and begin to heal this country of the deep evil that has overtaken the justice system.

Paul Ingrassia 1:18 PM: HAPPENING NOW: Even though the area surrounding the courthouse is locked down like Fort Knox, hundreds of Trump supporters have bravely showed up at the park across the street in response to the news, now spreading like wildfire, that the jury is currently deliberating a verdict about whether the leading candidate to be America’s 47th President is guilty of bogus charges devised by a rogue D.A. and conflicted so-called “Judge.” MAGA!

Paul Ingrassia 2:23 PM: Can someone explain to me how President Trump engaged in a “conspiracy” to “promote or prevent” an election?

First, he was a federal candidate, not state candidate, and thus New York State Election Law, where the language above comes from, is inapplicable.

Second, a presidential campaign for anyone not named Donald John Trump is usually not deemed a “conspiracy” under law. The normal term for that sort of conduct is “running for office.”

Third, by having the audacity to not only run, but also win, the 2016 presidential election (which Republicans, most especially of all America First Nationalists, are not supposed to do), Donald Trump can now be charged as a criminal defendant based on the novel theory of criminal liability brought by Bragg.

The irony of ironies is that this case basically involves all the key players from 2016: Michael Cohen, Stormy Daniels, even the Clintons (Bill & Monica were namedropped during the prosecution’s summations yesterday).

The Left has never been able to move on from 2016, and this case speaks to that reality: Bragg is for all intents and purposes relitigating the results of the 2016 presidential election. Full stop.

And they do that while also obstructing the 2024 race, which the Left is well on its way to lose again, hence the desire to take President Trump off the campaign trail and lock him inside the “icebox,” because he is simply too popular. And, as we all know, being too popular is now considered a crime in Joe Biden’s America.

Paul Ingrassia 2:36 PM: There is no greater case of jury tampering that exists. It’s also a clear attempt by Merchan to fast-track this deliberation to boost his chances of getting the jury to reach a guilty verdict, his desired outcome both professionally and personally. Insane.

Paul Ingrassia 2:50 PM: MY THOUGHTS: What’s notable all throughout the last five weeks of this show trial is Merchan never making even the slightest of effort to mitigate against the perceived improprieties running rampant all throughout this case.

Even if Merchan sincerely believed in his heart of hearts that he was merely just faithfully applying the law as an impartial, unbiased actor, a good-faith judge would at least be cognizant of the perceived biases throughout this case, due to the profile and significance of the defendant, paired with the unprecedented nature of the proceeding, and take strides to at least remove the appearance of impropriety. Yet absolutely zero effort was made.

As an example, portioning the jury into four separate groups, each tasked with deciding on a separate matter of law, seems wildly unconventional, even for most lawyers. Most of us are screaming “due process violation!”

But let’s suspend reality for a moment and give Merchan the benefit of the doubt: let’s assume this is just some arcane issue uniquely pertaining to juries tasked with deciding on complex New York State election law-related issues, where it is customary for juries for be split up into many different sub-groups each tasked to decide a different matter of law.

You would think, then, at the bare minimum, that Merchan would make that fact clear to the jury, most of whom are not lawyers, and the parties (and the media observing), out of a desire to dispel doubts that this is anything but a political show trial.

Instead, Merchan has just brazenly ignored customs, the rule of law, longstanding precedent, and every single canon of legal ethics under the sun, and simply pushed forward with this charade shamelessly. Even if one had no knowledge of, or was hopelessly confused about the thorny legal issues implicated in this case, judging Merchan’s actions alone – his callous disregard for explaining his actions and attempting to establish at least the pretext of impartiality and fairness – would lead to the conclusion, and a very reasonable one at that, that this trial is nothing but a HATCHET JOB. And guess what? That is exactly what it is!

Paul Ingrassia 2:59 PM: BREAKING: There is a “buzzer” setting off in the courtroom right now, and the press have flocked back into the room. Update to follow shortly.

Paul Ingrassia 3:10 PM: BREAKING: President Trump called back into courthouse. Buzzer sounded a few moments ago, many are speculating that it was just a jury question, not a verdict as that would be unusually fast, but we’re waiting to hear more details.

Paul Ingrassia 3:13 PM:BREAKING: Merchan says he received a note marked as court exhibit #4 signed by the foreperson at 2:56 pm. Note contains four requests: -David Pecker’s phone conversation with DJT -David Pecker’s testimony not to sign over ?? -David Pecker testimony on Trump Tower meeting -Cohen testimony on TT meeting

Paul Ingrassia 3:52 PM: BREAKING: It’s a quarter to 4 p.m. now, and the jurors remain in deliberation. On ordinary days, this court has been recessed around 4:30 or 5 p.m. Yesterday was an exception, where court was not recessed until after 8 p.m.

I don’t think Merchan will want to go as late today, given how long and grueling the past two days have been, but we shall see how this plays out.

I don’t think they will be getting a verdict today, and as we move closer to the 4 p.m. hour, the odds seem less and less.

I wanted to clarify a point about the 4-4-4, based on some information I received from a highly respected lawyer. It seems like this is a conceptual partition, not a physical partition. In other words, all the jurors will remain in the same room, but they will each decide on three separate issues of law for the predicate crime issue, the requirement for elevating this to a felony because the statute of limitations expired for the underlying alleged misdemeanor.

Also, some legal commentators are reading the latest note request as indication that some jurors voted not guilty and the ones pushing for a guilty verdict are putting additional pressure, via the testimonial request, on those who are holding out.

Again, we’re only looking for a single brave holdout to result in a hung jury!

Paul Ingrassia 3:56 PM: BREAKING: Second Jury Note Received!

Paul Ingrassia 3:57 PM: BREAKING: Jury requests to rehear judge’s instructions.

Paul Ingrassia 4:03 PM: BREAKING: Merchan asks if laptops given to jurors have wifi capabilities and if there’s a way to disable such capabilities.

Merchan is speaking very quietly; hard to tell what he’s saying. It seems like they are now providing 30 pages of print-out of a transcript.

Note 1:
Request: 1. DP’s testimony re phone testimony to DJT
2. DP’s testimony re decision not to finalize or defund the assignment but complete his life rights (?)
3. DP’s testimony re TT meeting
4. MC’s testimony re TT meeting

Note 2:
1. Request to rehear jury’s instructions Merchan decision:

Jury must decide whether they want to rehear whole instructions or portions of the instructions.

Paul Ingrassia 4:05 PM: BREAKING: Merchan dismissed courtroom for the day. NO VERDICT today. Will reconvene tomorrow at 9:30 a.m.

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Paul Ingrassia is a Constitutional Scholar; a two-time Claremont Fellow, and is on the Board of Advisors of the New York Young Republican Club and the Italian American Civil Rights League. He writes a widely read Substack that is regularly re-truthed by President Trump. Follow him on X @PaulIngrassia, Substack, Truth Social, Instagram, and Rumble.

You can email Paul Ingrassia here, and read more of Paul Ingrassia's articles here.

 

Thanks for sharing!