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Struggling with Legal jargon? Key 12 terms in Trump’s trial conclusion explained

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The trial of former President Donald Trump in New York is coming to a close after more than six weeks of proceedings. Jurors are now deliberating on whether to find Trump guilty on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records. The outcome of the trial could have significant implications for the upcoming US presidential election and the future of the country. This trial marks the first time a US president, past or present, has faced criminal charges. Prosecutors allege that Trump falsified business records to hide a hush-money payment that could have impacted the 2016 elections, while Trump and his defense team claim the charges are politically motivated.

In legal proceedings, terms like prosecutor, criminal charges, indictment, arraignment, jurors, verdict, convicted, acquitted, and hung jury are common and play a crucial role in determining the outcome of the case. In the Trump trial, Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg is leading the prosecution team, which includes Joshua Steinglass. Trump is facing a total of 34 criminal charges related to falsifying business records in connection to payments made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels. An indictment is an official set of charges approved by a grand jury, and Trump was indicted on March 30, becoming the first former president to face criminal charges.

Arraignment is the first formal presentation of charges to the defendant in court, where they are informed of their rights and asked to enter a plea. In criminal cases, jurors are randomly selected citizens who assess the guilt of the defendant based on the evidence presented by the prosecution and defense. The 12 jurors in the Trump trial must reach a unanimous decision for him to be found guilty. Jury deliberations follow the closing arguments, where jurors discuss the evidence and try to reach a verdict. A guilty verdict would make Trump the first former president to be convicted of a crime.

A conviction would mean that Trump is found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt on any of the 34 charges. However, an acquittal would mean that the jury believes the prosecution has not proven Trump’s guilt. A hung jury occurs when the jurors cannot agree on a unanimous decision, leading to a mistrial and potentially setting the legal proceedings back to square one. Trump could benefit from a hung jury, as it would bolster his argument that the charges were unwarranted. The maximum sentence for each felony count in Trump’s case is four years, but legal experts suggest he is more likely to face a fine or probation if convicted.

Defendants like Trump have the option to appeal a guilty verdict, typically on grounds of receiving an unfair trial or ineffective counsel. An appeals court can revoke a conviction and send the case back for a retrial if successful. Trump would likely appeal a guilty verdict, which would delay any potential consequences before the November presidential election. These legal terms and processes are essential components of the Trump trial, shaping its outcome and potential implications for the future of the country and the upcoming election.

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