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At Trump Trial’s Closings, Lawyers Weave Facts Into Clashing Accounts

With Donald J. Trump’s personal freedom at risk and his political fortunes in the balance, lawyers on both sides of his criminal trial mounted a final flurry of arguments on Tuesday to sway the 12 New Yorkers who will soon decide his legal fate.

Mr. Trump’s lawyer, Todd Blanche, went first. And he came out swinging at the prosecution’s case, which centers on the accusation that Mr. Trump falsified records to cover up a sex scandal involving a porn star. The case, the first criminal prosecution of an American president, is “absurd” and “preposterous,” and it “makes no sense,” Mr. Blanche argued.

Joshua Steinglass, the prosecutor who delivered the state’s closing argument after Mr. Blanche finished, fired back at the defense’s attacks on “our integrity.” He argued that Mr. Trump’s lawyers, not the prosecution, had played games with the evidence. And Mr. Trump, he said, “not only corrupted those around him, but he got them to lie to cover it up” — including faking the records that underpin the case.

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Mr. Blanche, across a sprawling and sometimes disjointed closing argument, aimed attacks at the prosecution’s bedrock contention that the records were false, and that Mr. Trump was responsible for creating them. But Mr. Blanche saved his harshest criticism for the prosecution’s star witness, Michael D. Cohen, Mr. Trump’s former fixer. It was he who paid off the porn star, Stormy Daniels, in a hush-money deal in the final days of the 2016 presidential campaign.

Portraying Mr. Cohen as a greedy liar bent on revenge, Mr. Blanche assailed his credibility and claimed that the defense had caught him testifying falsely about Mr. Trump’s knowledge of the deal.

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