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Jurors resume deliberations in Trump hush money trial after reviewing testimony

Jurors in Donald Trump’s hush money trial resumed closed-door deliberations on Thursday after reviewing instructions and testimony that could help them reach a verdict in the first criminal trial of a former U.S. president.

As the 12 jurors began their second day of sorting through evidence and testimony, it was unclear when they would reach a verdict that could potentially upend Trump’s hopes of recapturing the White House from Democratic President Joe Biden as the Republican candidate in the Nov. 5 election.

“We’ll be here it looks like a long time,” Trump told reporters outside the courtroom.

A conviction will not prevent Trump from campaigning for the presidency. Nor will it prevent him from taking office if he wins.

New York prosecutors have charged Trump, 77, with falsifying business documents to try to cover up a hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels in the final weeks of the 2016 presidential election. Trump has pleaded not guilty and denies wrongdoing.

Jurors appeared to be taking a close look at the testimony given by former Trump fixer Michael Cohen, who paid the $130,000 that ensured Daniels would not tell voters about her alleged 2006 sexual encounter with Trump. Trump denies ever having sex with Daniels.

Cohen also testified that he and Trump discussed a plan to reimburse him through monthly payments disguised as legal fees – the alleged conduct that spurred the criminal charges.

At jurors’ request, court officials read back portions of Cohen’s testimony on Thursday morning.

Trump’s lawyers have said Cohen’s testimony is unreliable, pointing to his criminal record and a history of lying. Merchan also told jurors they must scrutinize his testimony carefully because he was an accomplice to the acts he described.

Prosecutors have said emails and other evidence corroborate Cohen’s testimony.

Jurors also heard court officials recite testimony from David Pecker, the former publisher of the National Enquirer tabloid, who had told jurors he worked with Trump to suppress stories that might have hurt the businessman-turned-politician’s campaign.

They also heard Justice Juan Merchan re-read roughly half the 55 pages of instructions he had read to them on Wednesday before they began deliberations. Merchan said he would also provide a laptop, speakers and headphones so they could review audio from the trial.

Prosecutors from Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office face the burden of proving Trump’s guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt,” the standard under U.S. law.

Jurors must reach any verdict unanimously. If they cannot resolve their differences, Merchan can order a mistrial.

Opinion polls show Trump and Biden locked in a tight race. But Reuters/Ipsos polling has found that a guilty verdict could cost Trump support.

Trump faces up to four years in prison if found guilty, but those found guilty of the crime he is charged with are more often fined or given probation.

Trump faces three other criminal prosecutions, but they are not expected to go to trial before the November election. He has pleaded not guilty in all of them.

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