Trump's Fate Now In The Hands Of Manhattan Jury | Crooked Media
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May 29, 2024
What A Day
Trump's Fate Now In The Hands Of Manhattan Jury

In This Episode

  • The Manhattan jury in former President Donald Trump’s criminal defense trial began deliberations on Wednesday. The jury asked to rehear four pieces of testimony before breaking for the day. Outside the courtroom, Trump complained about how the case was “rigged” and how “Mother Teresa could not beat these charges.” Norm Eisen, author of the book “Trying Trump” and former special counsel to the House Judiciary Committee, explains what happens now that the jury has the case.
  • And in headlines: Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito says he will not recuse himself from cases related to January 6th, Israel’s national security advisor said that he expects the war in Gaza to last another seven months, and giant pandas are returning to the nation’s capital.
Show Notes:




Priyanka Aribindi: It’s Thursday, May 30th. I’m Priyanka Aribindi. 


Tre’vell Anderson: And I’m Tre’vell Anderson and this is What a Day. The show where we’re thanking whoever’s up there for the news that Glenn Close and Kerry Washington were cast in the next Knives Out movie. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yes, this is the scandal damages crossover we have all been waiting for. Very exciting. 


Tre’vell Anderson: For all of y’all googling Damages. Thank us later. [music break]


Priyanka Aribindi: On today’s show, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito refuses to recuse himself after the flag saga. Plus, the pandas are coming back to the National Zoo in Washington, just one of several creatures in the zoo that is Washington, DC. 


Tre’vell Anderson: [laugh] But first, the jury in Donald Trump’s hush money trial began deliberations on Wednesday. The former president was in the Manhattan courtroom for jury instructions, and afterwards, he fixed his mouth to say this to reporters. 


[clip of Donald Trump] Mother Teresa could not beat these charges. These charges are rigged. The whole thing is rigged. 


Priyanka Aribindi: I’m sorry. Did Mother Teresa pay hush money to a porn star before an election? I’m confused. What does she got to do with this? Keep her name out of your mouth. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Literally. 


Priyanka Aribindi: I mean, I guess anything to uh distract us for a moment. Give us a sound bite. 


Tre’vell Anderson: That’s exactly what he is trying to do. But now this case is in the hands of the jury, and there’s a lot of evidence for them to consider. On Wednesday, they deliberated for about four hours, during which they sent a handful of notes to Justice Juan Merchan, either seeking clarity on instructions they were given or asking for certain parts of witness testimonies to be read back to them. I wanted some clarity on what we can expect over the coming days. So I spoke with friend of the show, Norm Eisen, author of the book Trying Trump: A guide to his first election interference criminal trial, and former special counsel to the House Judiciary Committee. He’s been in the courtroom for this trial the entire time. And I started by asking him if the instructions Justice Merchan gave to the jury differ, because this case deals with the former president. 


Norm Eisen: The guidelines were notable to me because of how normal they were. There’s been just in the past decade, about 10,000 of these felony business record falsifications. And all of them are the same three questions. Did the defendant falsify a business record, put false information or cause false information to go in a business record? Was that done intentionally and on on purpose or by accident? And number three, was it done to commit or help or to cover up another crime? The judge walked this jury right through all three of those points. There was no reference anywhere in those instructions to the status of Donald Trump as a former president. They literally were the same instructions you get in every case. And that’s testament to our rule of law system. Nobody is above the law. Former presidents get the same instructions as all those other 10,000 falsifying business record defendants since 2015. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Okay, so now they have the rules. It’s time to deliberate. Walk us through exactly what is happening in that jury deliberation room. Is there a juror assigned to lead the discussion? You know, I assume everyone’s not just jumping in all at once. 


Norm Eisen: Generally, the foreperson, which in New York is the first person picked, that’s the only qualification. If you’re the first person picked for the jury. You are the fore person of the jury. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Oh, wow. 


Norm Eisen: And generally, the fore person acts as the chair. And in watching juries deliberate, the foreperson tends to kick things off. But, you know, it’s like a really good family dinner. The conversation starts flowing around the table. Everybody has their own ideas. People ask questions. At some point, the jurors will poll each other. They’ll want to know, well, let’s go around. Who believes the defendant is guilty, who believes the defendant is innocent? Then they take votes. Why do you feel that way? And then they debate. They discuss and they try to persuade each other because another one of those instructions is get to an agreed upon verdict. We know this jury is starting to do that. Really sink their teeth into the argument here. 


Tre’vell Anderson: We do know that jurors were given a laptop with all the evidence that was presented to them throughout the trial to review during deliberations. Do we know what evidence is on the laptop and what’s not? 


Norm Eisen: Every single exhibit, in this case, over 200 exhibits and the exhibits start with the beginning of the alleged conspiracy to benefit Trump’s campaign that started, according to prosecutors, in a meeting at Trump Tower between the publisher of the National Enquirer, David Pecker, Michael Cohen, Trump’s former fixer, and Trump himself. They say hey, prosecutors allege we’re going to benefit the campaign by catching and killing stories, and we’re going to publish to get good stories out to help candidate Trump. And then there’s documents there’s hundreds of them that run all the way through the Stormy Daniels payment, the other payments that were made on that alleged conspiracy, its cover up, false checks. Trump signed a total of 34 documents besides the checks, there’s invoices. All those documents are on the laptop. 


Tre’vell Anderson: The jurors also sent a note to Merchan on Wednesday making four requests. Tell us a little bit about what they were. 


Norm Eisen: Yes. The jury sent a note out just before 3:00. They had been deliberating for about three hours, and they requested a number of portions of the witness testimony of David Pecker be read back to them. They wanted to know about Pecker’s testimony, what happened at that Trump Tower meeting. They wanted to know about a direct call from Pecker to Donald Trump, about one of the alleged actions to implement this conspiracy to interfere with the campaign. And finally, they also wanted Michael Cohen’s testimony about that critical August 2015 Trump Tower meeting where the conspiracy was allegedly hatched as if they were taking the prosecution up on their invitation. Hey, compare contrast, this is corroborated. Everything Michael Cohen has to say. 


Tre’vell Anderson: So now Merchan also instructed the jury that they, as you mentioned, have to be unanimous on each count that Trump was charged with in order to convict. Does that make a hung jury more likely that they all have to agree? 


Norm Eisen: It makes it more likely, but it doesn’t make it likely. Hung juries only occur in about 5% of cases. They’re rare, a little more common in high profile cases. It doesn’t feel to me like it is a strong possibility in this case. I think there is a more than 80% likelihood of conviction in this case. The evidence and the law here is very powerfully on the prosecution’s side. So hung jury possible. Not likely. 


Tre’vell Anderson: So if we were to think through that potential, say other 20% that you just put there of, say, the jury being hung and not coming to a unanimous decision, what would happen if that were to occur? 


Norm Eisen: It’s called a mistrial. The prosecution has to decide. Will they bring the case again? Sometimes you put a new case on very quickly after a hung jury. Here, because of the presidential campaign, you might not get a retrial if the prosecution asked for one in 2024. So that’s an important reason that the judge is not going to just settle for a hung jury. But we really don’t know. And we have to be patient while this jury does its business. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. Speaking of being patient, any sense on when we might hear whether they are on one page or not in terms of a verdict? 


Norm Eisen: I think the soonest you could expect something, but not realistically, is end of the day Thursday. Somewhat more likely, end of the day Friday. Juries do like to if they can reach consensus and finish before the weekend, but it won’t be anything unusual if they’re not finished by the end of the day Friday. This is a big case. It’s an important case. It has massive consequences for our country. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if deliberations went into next week. 


Tre’vell Anderson: We’ve asked you this question before. I’m going to ask you again. If we do get a guilty verdict, what comes next for Trump and especially this campaign that he is on for the White House. 


Norm Eisen: As a legal matter, the things that will come next are his sentencing in the case, that’s done by the judge. The judge will have to decide jail time or not. That’ll be followed by an appeal. There are a bunch of issues here that Trump is going to argue the judge got wrong on the political side. We’re going to see if once Trump has been convicted, if voters feel differently about him. If he’s convicted and sentenced, if that creates a change in how voters feel. The prosecutors have argued this case as a democracy case. If Trump is convicted, he will be guilty of voter deception, election influence. That is a very serious matter. And I think as that is conveyed to the American people, it’s going to have a powerful impact. 


Tre’vell Anderson: That was my conversation with Norm Eisen, author of Trying Trump: A guide to his first election interference criminal trial. 


Priyanka Aribindi: We’ll keep an eye on this case and see if the jury comes back with a verdict later this week. But that is the latest for now. We’ll get to some headlines in just a moment, but if you are enjoying our show, please make sure to subscribe and share it with your friends. We’ll be right back after some ads. [music break]




Priyanka Aribindi: Let’s wrap up with some headlines. 


[sung] Headlines. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito says that he will not recuse himself from cases related to January 6th. His refusal to step aside comes amid mounting pressure from Democrats, after The New York Times reported two right wing flags were seen flying outside of the justice’s homes. In a letter to Senate Democrats on Wednesday, Alito said that the flags didn’t meet the conditions for recusal. He continued to blame his wife for the flags in the yard, writing, quote, “my wife is fond of flying flags, I am not. My wife was solely responsible for having flagpoles put up at our residence and our vacation home, and has flown a wide variety of flags over the years.” Okay, uh seems to be a very common refrain here. My wife did it, I know nothing. I find it plausible that he has very little control over what goes on in his home. But still, this is crazy. 


Tre’vell Anderson: This is wild. 


Priyanka Aribindi: The two flags in question were an upside down American flag spotted at the Alito’s Virginia home a week after the January 6th insurrection and the Appeal to Heaven flag that was seen flying outside of their beach house last summer. Both were carried by rioters at the Capitol and are MAGA symbols. Right on cue, former president and January 6th ring leader Donald Trump congratulated Alito on his defiance of judicial ethics in a Truth Social post, saying it took, quote, “intelligence, courage and guts.” I’m just like at a loss for words. No it didn’t. This is insane first that this happened and now that he is just spitting in all of our faces saying, no, I actually won’t recuse myself from a case that clearly I have weighed in on publicly. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Unfathomable. 


Tre’vell Anderson: It is wild. 


Priyanka Aribindi: And then throwing the wife under the bus too is just like cherry on top. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Israel’s national security advisor said that he expects the war in Gaza to last another seven months. He said this on an Israeli broadcast on Wednesday, despite mounting international pressure to wind down the war and reach a ceasefire deal with Hamas, the International Court of Justice has ordered Israel to halt its military offensive in the southern city of Rafah, where more than a million displaced Palestinians have been forced to flee. The International Criminal Court’s top prosecutor also sought arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the country’s defense minister, as well as leaders of Hamas. But Israel continues to double down and the White House continues to support Israel. On Tuesday, it said that Israel’s mounting incursion into Rafah does not cross President Biden’s red line to reconsider military aid. Here’s National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby speaking to reporters. 


[clip of John Kirby] We still don’t want to see the Israelis, as we say, smash into Rafah with large units over a [?] over large pieces of territory. And we still believe that. And we haven’t seen that at this point. But we’re going to be watching this, of course, very, very closely. 


Tre’vell Anderson: The New York Times reported Wednesday that Israel used a U.S. made bomb in the weekend strike that killed dozens at a camp for displaced people. 


Priyanka Aribindi: So completely shameful that it’s US made weapons that are being used to do this, and to watch these officials try to do mental gymnastics, to say that this doesn’t cross a red line. I mean, it’s become a joke at this point. 


Tre’vell Anderson: They keep moving that red line. 


Priyanka Aribindi: The red line. Yeah. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. They keep moving it. Um. So super interesting to say the least. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. On Wednesday, President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris spoke at Girard College, a majority Black boarding school in Philly, as part of the campaign’s initiative to engage Black voters. In a speech, Biden praised Black voters for helping them win in 2020. 


[clip of President Joe Biden] Because you voted, Donald Trump is a defeated former president. [cheers] Now with your vote [cheers and applause] with your vote in 2024, we’re going to make you, Donald Trump, a loser again. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Recent polls show that President Biden has lost support from Black Americans since the beginning of his term. And while Biden won swing states like Pennsylvania in 2020, it is clear that turnout of Black Democrats will be vital to his campaign this time around once again. To hammer this home, Biden also condemned Trump during Wednesday’s rally. 


[clip of President Joe Biden] This is the same guy who wanted to tear gas you as you peacefully protested George Floyd’s murder, the same guy who still calls the Central Park Five guilty even though they’re exonerated. He’s that landlord who denies housing applications because of the color of your skin. 


Tre’vell Anderson: And the giant pandas are coming back home. Priyanka, are you excited? 


Priyanka Aribindi: Finally, some good news for the people. [laughter]


Tre’vell Anderson: There we go. After six pandaless months, the Smithsonian National Zoo in DC said that two pandas will be jet setting to the US from China before the end of the year. Bao Li and Qing Bao are two years old. The San Diego Zoo will also receive a pair of pandas. If you remember, last November, panda lovers nationwide were crushed when the National Zoo’s panda program ended after more than 50 years. And the three bears were shipped back to China. Zoo Atlanta is the only zoo with pandas in the US, but not for long. The agreement with the new DC pandas is that any babies they might have belong to China, and the pandas must head back to China by age four. Pandas are kind of like diplomats. Even President Xi Jinping has called them envoys of friendship. And even through the tense relations between Beijing and Washington, it’s nice to know that these pandas are, you know, bringing some joy. Hopefully they’ll bring a little peace down the line. You know what I mean, Priyanka? 


Priyanka Aribindi: I mean, we’re asking a lot of these little bears. [laughter] But if you, like me, spent most of that headline wondering how exactly pandas are “shipped,” quote unquote. There is a plane that Fedex um has created. It’s called the Fedex Panda Express. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Oh, wow. 


Priyanka Aribindi: And that is apparently how they ship these pandas around the world. Really new meaning to Panda Express, I love it. I mean, I love both versions. They’re both great. [laughter] And those are the headlines. 




Priyanka Aribindi: That is all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe. Leave a review. Take Justice Alito’s How to Blame Your Wife for Incriminating Stuff, master class and tell your friends to listen. 


Tre’vell Anderson: And if you are into reading and not just the list of places in the US where you can see giant pandas like me, What a Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at! I’m Tre’vell Anderson. 


Priyanka Aribindi: I’m Priyanka Aribindi. 


[spoken together] And happy birthday Raven! 


Priyanka Aribindi: We love Raven. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Raven’s one of our fabulous producers by the way. For all of those listening. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Our producer extraordinaire. 


Tre’vell Anderson: He is responsible for much of the wondrousness. 


Priyanka Aribindi: We love him. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Okay. That you hear in these episodes. 


Priyanka Aribindi: If you have enjoyed our show, please wish Raven a happy birthday. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely. [music break]


Priyanka Aribindi: What a Day is a production of Crooked Media. It’s recorded and mixed by Bill Lancz. Our associate producers are Raven Yamamoto and Natalie Bettendorf. We had production help today from Michell Eloy, Greg Walters, and Julia Claire. Our showrunner is Erica Morrison, and our executive producer is Adriene Hill. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.