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Closing arguments: Trump's defense claims he is innocent and that Cohen is 'the greatest liar of all time'

There may be a verdict this week in the historic Trump "hush money" trial.

Former president Trump

(Curtis Means / POOL / AFP)

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Throughout the day, the 12 jurors who will decide whether former President Donald Trump is guilty or innocent in the Stormy Daniels case heard closing arguments from both sides. The day was also marked by press conferences that took place outside the court, as not only did the former president speak, but surprisingly President Biden's campaign also held a press conference outside.

While the defense insisted that the prosecution's star witness Michael Cohen is a serial liar who even lied before Congress, and that during the six weeks of the trial the prosecution was unable to prove any crime committed by Trump, the accusing party stated that the former president knew and "actively" participated in a scheme to silence stories that were harmful to him and thereby influence the election.

Politically motivated?

The morning began quite controversial when President Biden's campaign decided, surprisingly, to make statements outside the court where the former president's trial is taking place. Former President Trump's communications team assured that this fact confirms that the entire trial is politically motivated and that President Biden is benefiting by seeking to have his opponent sentenced just a few months before the elections.

The president's campaign was joined by actor Robert De Niro, who has been accused of giving statements that seem taken from one of his films. Among other things, the actor assured that "Donald Trump wants to destroy not only the city, but the country, and eventually he could destroy the world."

'The greatest liar of all time'

The former president's defense assured that throughout the entire trial, there was absolutely no evidence that Trump intended to defraud anybody. Furthermore, Trump's team pointed out that there was no attempt to commit or conceal any crime, and payments to Cohen were recorded as legal expenses because that is what payments to an attorney are. Todd Blanche, Trump's lead attorney, focused the end of his arguments on assuring that there was no agreement to influence the 2016 election.

Trump's team told the jury that the former president is innocent and that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg "did not meet the burden of proof. Period." Blanche said that one cannot be found guilty based on the stories of a lying ex-convict, but that that decision must be based on the evidence and that if the law is followed it would be easy for the jury to reach the conclusion that Trump is innocent. "If you focus just on the evidence you heard in this courtroom, this is a very very quick and easy not guilty verdict," said the former president's lawyer.

The defense also reminded jurors that the case is not about whether or not Trump had a history with Stormy Daniels 18 years ago. Nor does it have to do with the confidentiality agreement that was signed eight years ago, but rather an alleged attempt to defraud and influence the election. Blanche said that beyond Cohen's stories, there was no evidence and even no other witnesses accusing Trump of such crimes. "The records were not false, and there was no intent to defraud," the attorney said.

There was also a long and detailed account of the lying history of the witness, on whom the entire case rests. Blanche reminded the jury that the prosecution's star witness lied before Congress, before federal and state judges, and also to the media. But Trump's lawyer also insisted that Cohen lied throughout this trial. "He is the greatest liar of all time. His words can not be trusted," the lawyer said.

The defense also claimed that Cohen not only systematically lies but is also biased and motivated. The prosecution's witness has even been airing a podcast, in which he talks about Trump six times a week, wearing a shirt with an image of Trump behind bars. Finally, Blanche said that Cohen "is the human embodiment of reasonable doubt."

'A tour guide through the physical evidence'

Meanwhile, the prosecution devoted its closing arguments largely to trying to clean up Cohen's image, assuring jurors that while it is true that Cohen has lied over the years, their star witness had asked the country for forgiveness. Prosecutor Joshua Steinglass said the trial saw a "mountain of evidence" to find the former president guilty.

Steinglass insisted to the jury that they not rely on Cohen's record in making their decision about the former president, telling them the 12 jurors that they should not care about Cohen's personality but rather about the access that Trump's former lawyer had to the details and events that occurred in the presidential campaign.

The prosecutor assured that Trump did falsify business records and that he did so to cover up an electoral conspiracy, and he asked the jury to look at Cohen “like a tour guide through the physical evidence.” He assured that the man who has lied for seven years, even under oath, is the one who has the information to understand the line of events committed with the intention of violating electoral law.

Tomorrow the jurors, following the instructions of Judge Juan Merchan, are expected to begin the deliberation phase to reach the final verdict.