A Swift Defense and a Decision Ahead: 5 Takeaways From Trump’s Trial

On Tuesday morning, five weeks after the first jurors were seated for the criminal trial of Donald J. Trump, the defense rested, with closing arguments and then jury deliberations scheduled for after Memorial Day weekend.

And, despite dangling the possibility, Mr. Trump did not testify.

Testimony started April 22 with a tabloid publisher called by the prosecution, David Pecker, and ended with a lawyer called by the defense, Robert Costello. In between were a porn star, Stormy Daniels; Mr. Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, Michael D. Cohen; an erstwhile aide of Mr. Trump, Hope Hicks; and a bevy of lesser-known witnesses, mostly for the prosecution.

The former president is charged with falsifying 34 business records to hide Mr. Cohen’s reimbursement for a $130,000 hush-money payment he made to Ms. Daniels, who says she had sex with Mr. Trump in 2006. Mr. Trump, 77, has denied the charges and the encounter. If convicted, he could face prison or probation.

Here are five takeaways from Mr. Trump’s 20th day on trial.

The defense’s big witness may not have been a great idea.

Mr. Costello, once Mr. Cohen’s informal adviser, continued on the stand on Tuesday, after a reprimand Monday from Justice Juan M. Merchan, who said he had been “contemptuous.”

Mr. Costello had been called by the defense to attack Mr. Cohen’s credibility, but during cross-examination, prosecutors sought to portray him as an agent of Mr. Trump, suggesting he was trying to prevent Mr. Cohen from cooperating with federal investigators. That included reading an email from Mr. Costello saying he was trying “get Cohen on the right page.”

The defense had hoped to damage Mr. Cohen — a key prosecution witness — beyond repair. Mr. Costello’s choppy performance may be remembered, too.

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