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Trump calls judges jury instructions unconstitutional as he awaits verdict


Former President Donald Trump took to social media Thursday afternoon as deliberations in his hush money trial in New York continued through the bulk of a second day.

Trump, 77, faces 34 counts of falsifying business records. Under New York state law, falsifying business records in the first degree is a Class E felony with a maximum sentence of four years in prison.

Trump said Judge Juan Merchan wanted the instructions to be confusing to the 12 jurors who will decide if he is guilty.

“The Jury Instructions given by HIGHLY CONFLICTED Judge, Juan Merchan, were UNFAIR, MISLEADING, INACCURATE, AND UNCONSTITUTIONAL,” Trump wrote Thursday afternoon on Truth Social. “They were also VERY CONFUSING (Just what the Judge wanted!), BECAUSE THERE WAS NO CRIME!”

On Wednesday, Merchan read 55 pages of instructions to the jury before deliberations began.

Among the instructions: “Although you must conclude unanimously that the defendant conspired to promote or prevent the election of any person to a public office by unlawful means, you need not be unanimous as to what those unlawful means were,” according to the instructions. “In determining whether the defendant conspired to promote or prevent the election of any person to a public office by unlawful means, you may consider the following unlawful means: (1) violations of the Federal Election Campaign Act otherwise known as FECA; (2) the falsification of other business records; or (3) violation of tax laws.”

Trump supporters have said the language in the jury instructions could be grounds for an appeal in the case.

Trump is preparing to face President Joe Biden in a rematch for the White House this November. Trump has repeatedly blamed Biden for his legal troubles, which extend far beyond New York.

Trump faces 88 felony counts across four criminal cases. In addition to New York, Trump faces trials in Florida, Georgia, and Washington, D.C. Federal prosecutors brought the two federal cases.

In New York, the case is focused on Trump’s alleged sexual encounter with an adult film actress in 2006 and a $130,000 payment to her in 2016 to keep her quiet ahead of the 2016 election. Trump has pleaded not guilty and denied the encounter happened.

Prosecutors allege that Trump covered up the payment to Stormy Daniels and another hush money payment to former Playboy model Karen McDougal ahead of the election, falsifying records to claim they were legal payments.

Trump, 77, is the first former U.S. president to be charged with a felony.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg charged Trump with 34 counts of falsifying business records related to money paid to Daniels and McDougal. Bragg has alleged Trump broke New York law by falsifying business records with the intent to commit or conceal another crime.

Prosecutors allege Trump falsified internal records kept by his company, hiding the true nature of payments to Daniels ($130,000), McDougal ($150,000), and Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen ($420,000). The money was logged as legal expenses, not reimbursements.

Trump remains under a gag order in the case.

Trump is prohibited from making or directing others to make public statements about the jurors, witnesses, attorneys, court staff, district attorney staff and family members of staff. Trump can talk about the judge and Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, which he has done frequently throughout the trial. The former president has also been fined 10 times for violating the gag order.