Trump trial prosecution rests case after heated day, closing arguments likely next week

After approximately five weeks, 19 witnesses, reams of documents and a dash of salacious testimony, the prosecution against Donald Trump rested its case Monday, handing over to the defense before closing arguments expected next week.

Trump's team immediately sought to undermine key testimony against the former president, who is accused of covering up hush money paid to a porn star over an alleged encounter that could have derailed his successful 2016 White House bid.

His attorneys called lawyer Robert Costello -- who once advised star prosecution witness Michael Cohen before falling out with him -- in an apparent attempt to puncture Cohen's credibility.

But Costello's start on the stand was shaky at best, as his dismissive tone provoked an angry response from Judge Juan Merchan.

The judge ordered the jury out of the courtroom to admonish Costello, and, still unsatisfied, also ordered the press and others to briefly leave.

Trump, speaking to reporters afterward, called the episode "an incredible display," branding the proceedings "a show trial" and the judge "a tyrant."

Extended quibbling among the two legal teams, along with the upcoming holiday weekend, means closing arguments that the judge had hoped could start Tuesday are now anticipated for next week.

It's unlikely and risky, but the door remains open for Trump to take the stand in the criminal trial, the first ever of a former US president.

(AFP)


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