Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Live Event/Special

Now, Judge Delivering Instructions to Trump Jury. Aired 10- 10:30a ET

Aired May 29, 2024 - 10:00   ET




KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Inside this New York courthouse, 12 jurors are about to do what no jury in this country has ever done before, deliberate criminal charges against someone who has served as President of the United States and he's running for that same office again. The defendant, Donald Trump, has just arrived here. He did not speak to cameras, notably, as he typically does.

After six long weeks on trial, though, as Trump is walking into that room with his legal team in tow, he is now on the cusp of learning his fate, whatever it is that the jury decides.

I'm Kaitlin Collins in New York.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Jake Tapper in Washington. You are watching special CNN Live coverage of Donald Trump's hush money cover- up trial. Court is reconvening right now. And soon, seven men and five women will begin jury deliberations with huge stakes, not only for Mr. Trump, but also for the 2024 presidential election, and for the entire United States of America.

But, first, Judge Juan Merchan will present the jurors with carefully crafted instructions that will frame their discussions in the jury room, and potentially help shape the verdict. The judge will walk jurors through the charges against Mr. Trump, 34 felony counts of falsifying business records, and the legal issues that they must consider in deciding whether they find the former president of the United States guilty.

It's in the jurors' hands as they meet behind closed doors and review key questions from the trial, including was Michael Cohen's testimony credible? Was the alleged cover-up of the payment to Stormy Daniels an unlawful effort to help the 2016 Trump presidential campaign? Has the prosecution proven that this misdemeanor was carried out in the service of a completely different crime? And have they done so beyond a reasonable doubt? There is so much to consider in these truly historic deliberations.

CNN has a team of reporters and producers inside the courthouse are going to bring you constant updates to capture all the drama of the day. Kaitlan, we are in the final critical moments of this trial. COLLINS: Yes, Jake, we are. And one thing to note about the final moments of this trial that's interesting is once the judge gives the jury these instructions, which he is set to do, he said it will take about an hour, as he explains to them what they are supposed to be considering, what the law is that they're supposed to be considering, which the two parties did not do in their closing arguments yesterday, that is reserved specifically for the judge here, is that as the jury goes into that jury room, Trump and his legal team actually must remain inside the courthouse as the jury is here Deliberating what their verdict is going to be. They have to stay here in case they do reach that verdict in short order. Of course, we don't know how long it'll take the jury.

I do have CNN's Paula Reid and John Berman here with me. And, Paula, obviously, I should note, Trump has more family members in tow with him today. Donald Trump Jr. is seated next to Alina Habba in that first row behind his father. He actually just recently, you know, made an appearance here at this case. But it is notable that Trump has to stay inside the courthouse as the jury is going to be in that jury room. Deliberate. We don't know how long it could take.

PAULA REID, CNN CHIEF LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, he's going to hate that. He's made it clear. He does not clearly that he doesn't -- clearly, he doesn't like the case, but he also doesn't like the courthouse. He really just does not enjoy being in there.

So, he's going to probably be like a caged tiger and that'll be something for his lawyers have to deal with. And it really stinks for anyone, obviously, to be a defendant in a criminal case. It's stressful. You're waiting. But they have no idea how long they'll wait. Even when the jury does come back with a note, it could just be a question. So, this is going to be a challenging few days for him.

COLLINS: And I should note the courtroom has just been told that once the judge does begin the jury charge, those jury instructions, no one can leave or enter the room. I mean, that could be challenging for Trump's guests who often we're seeing going in and out of the room or coming in later, John, than the other ones as witnesses were testifying in this case.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: You know, it strikes me that Donald Trump chose not to speak before he entered the courtroom today. He often does. It's a reminder that the next time we hear from Donald J. Trump, he could be a convicted felon.


I mean, it's not inconceivable that the next time he speaks before cameras like that, the jury will have gone back into that jury room, begun deliberations, and then come out with a verdict.

I mean, this is truly a historic moment here. We are in uncharted territory, and it's really interesting to think about the possible implications of what's going on here, and how much is just unknown in that building still. COLLINS: That's a great point, because Trump has spoken almost every single day, if not every single day, that he has walked into that courtroom. He didn't speak last night, which wasn't totally surprising. It was a very late evening. He had an event to go to, the campaign said, but for him not to speak going into the room, I mean, he certainly is speaking a lot on social media and in common season making to others about this case, but it does say something that that he had nothing to say.

REID: Yes, or he has so much to say and his lawyer suggested that he not say it at this very sensitive moment because jurors are about to get their mission statement, the instructions from the judge. We haven't even seen these yet. The lawyers have them, but we don't know what exactly they're going to be told. And the way the judge describes how they need to approach this task, this can really shake the outcome of this case. So, this is such a critical moment and it definitely, I'm sure, it is a huge relief to his attorneys that he did not speak heading into this incredibly important day.

COLLINS: Yes. And we've seen the relationship that this jury has developed with the judge, as he is often very much looking out for them, their schedules, what they have to do, whether or not they're getting exhausted yesterday during that very lengthy closing argument from the prosecution.

CNN's Elie Honig is at the magic wall. And, Elie, obviously, we have been following this now. We are in the seventh week of this trial, and this is really the do-or-die moment where we will find out what the jurors themselves, who have been largely expressionless during most of this trial, you can't really read what they are thinking as they are hearing from these attorneys and these witnesses. Now, we'll get to find out what exactly, how they've seen all of this evidence, and how they've perceived it, and whether or not they've determined Donald Trump is guilty or not guilty.

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, Kaitlan. In about an hour from now, the jury will begin its deliberations, but what's going to happen between now and then is that is really important. The judge is going to give the jury their formal legal instructions. And, really, the judge's goal here is to give them a view of the law that is fully accurate, but also that a normal human being can understand.

So, let's walk through some of the key points the judge is about to instruct the jury on. First of all, he's going to start with the indictment, which, of course, charges falsifying business records in the first degree. We know that there are 34 counts in the indictment. The jury is going to have to return a separate verdict on each of them.

Now, it's important to understand this crime is unusual. There's sort of three steps that the judge is about to outline for the jury. First, falsifying business records, which is essentially what it sounds like. But then, in order to commit some other crime under New York State law, that other crime here, according to the prosecutors, as the judge will lay out, is an effort to influence the election by, quote, unlawful means. And to that end, the prosecution has offered the jury three different unlawful means, falsification of other business records and tax fraud, both of which got sort of short shrift during the actual trial and during yesterday's closings. But the big one that prosecutors have really focused on is a violation of federal campaign laws. That's how this becomes a felony.

Now, the theory really all flows from the payments to Stormy Daniels, the hush money payments. Of course, we know Michael Cohen first paid Stormy Daniels $130,000 before the 2016 election and then was reimbursed by Donald Trump and the Trump Organization $420,000 after the election.

Now, how does that become a crime? Let me show you something the ADA said yesterday to the jury during his closing argument. He said once AMI, and he argued the same thing later for Cohen, once they purchased stories on the candidate's behalf and in coordination with that campaign, those purchases became unlawful campaign contributions. And then the theory is Donald Trump tried to hide those unlawful campaign contributions by making them look like legal fees, by labeling them as retainers on the checks and balances and invoices.

So, that's the theory of how you get to the crime here. The argument is these were legal fees that were -- they tried to make them look like legal fees in order to disguise the fact that they were campaign contributions.

A couple other really important points the judge is about to instruct the jury on. First of all, the burden of proof, the all important burden of proof in a criminal case, it is beyond a reasonable doubt. That's the highest in our entire legal system. The judge will make a point that the prosecution bears that burden of proof.

Also crucial, the judge will tell the jury it is up to you to decide witness credibility based on what the witness said, how they said it based on the other evidence. And, of course, the key battleground here is going to be Michael Cohen.

Now, the parties offered very different views of how the jury should interpret Michael Cohen's testimony. Todd Blanche, Donald Trump's lawyer, said, Michael Cohen, he's the human embodiment of reasonable doubt. Michael Cohen is the GLOAT. He's literally the greatest liar of all time.

The D.A. offered a very different view of Michael Cohen.


He said, that's not much of a hurdle, because in this case, there is literally a mountain of evidence of corroborating testimony that tends to connect the defendant, Donald Trump, to this crime. So, witness credibility is a key point.

A couple other really important points the judge is about to instruct the jury on the Fifth Amendment. He will tell the jury, no defendant ever has to take the stand. You cannot use the fact that Trump chose not to testify against him in any way that would under our Constitution.

And, finally, and importantly, the judge will tell the jury, you must be unanimous in order to return a verdict. It has to be 12-0 to convict, 12-0 to find not guilty. And so they're going to begin this process, Jake, in just a few minutes of seeing if they can work through the evidence, work through the laws and reach unanimity and deliver a verdict.

TAPPER: All right. Interesting stuff, Elie Honig, thanks so much.

My panel is here. Among our panelists, Karen Friedman Agnifilo, the former chief assistant district attorney in the Manhattan D.A.'s Office. Karen's of counsel for a firm that represents Michael Cohen, but she has no contact with Cohen, does not work in his case. And there are no restrictions on what you can say about this case.

Let us dive in and, David Chalian, let me start with you. Give us the 30,000 foot view here. The jury is going to get instructions and then they are going to go into a jury room. And even if the judge has said that they shouldn't listen to what the defense attorney said yesterday when he said you can't put this man in prison for this, that's already there and has --

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: I don't know how that leaves there.

TAPPER: Yes. Well, it was there, I'm sure, to begin with.


TAPPER: But it's momentous. It's momentous.

CHALIAN: Yes, I'm sure. I'm not sure we've employed the word unprecedented as much as we have for this case, but it is totally deserved. I mean, we've never seen anything like this. And now 12 Manhattanites are going to hold in their hands the decision-making of what will be the outcome of the first ever criminal trial of a former president of the United States. It's just astounding to think about that.

TAPPER: And let me just interject for one second just to give some color from inside the room. Right now, the prosecutors are there. Trump walked in down the center aisle, trailed by his attorney, Todd Blanche. Donald Trump Jr. is there next to Alina Habba, Donald Trump's other attorney, in the first row behind Trump. There's no sign of the district attorney, Alvin Bragg. The judge is on the bench, the jury is entering and Judge Merchan has said, members of the jury, I will now instruct you on the law.

So, I mean, there's a pageantry to it and a weightiness.

CHALIAN: There's no doubt about that, Jake. And I think for the former president also, how could there not be weight on him? I think you see it as he, you know, entered the courtroom today. Obviously, the fist up and the defiance, but the not speaking and, and understanding this moment is one that he can't. They've done all the work they've done in the pre messaging and conveying to the country that they think this is a totally unfair trial and a total political witch hunt. And they hope that will work for them as a basis from which a large swath of Americans will see whatever the outcome is, but that doesn't take away this personal moment for Donald Trump, who has tried his entire life to avoid this kind of a moment.

TAPPER: So, on this, on this matter, as Judge Merchan is saying, members of the jury, I will now instruct you on the law, let us turn to my legal flank here over. And one of the things I want to get some fact checking and assessing on the defendant, Mr. Trump, posted a new message on Truth Social, saying, quote, and this is in all caps, can you imagine that I, as a defendant, am not allowed to rebut or correct the many lies told during the five-hour filibuster just put on by the Soros-backed D.A.'s office in the Manhattan court? What a disgraceful performance of misrepresentation it was. MAGA 2024.

It's actually not a bad theoretical argument about how the jury system and how this should work, I mean, if we are in a system of checks and balances that's supposed to favor the defendant in some ways and bend over backwards to make sure everybody gets a fair case. I think it's a decent argument that the defense should get to go last. But they don't and this is not unique to Donald Trump. This is not how it is.

LAURA COATES, CNN ANCHOR AND CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: It's not you don't Trump and I I'm glad that somebody who is asking to be the head of the executive branch of government, which oversees the Department of Justice, has a real interest in making sure that there is more equity in our justice system, which you and I have talked about is a legal system in aspirational venue --

TAPPER: There is a two-tiered system of justice, without question.

COATES: There is. However --

TAPPER: Merchan just told the jury you are the judges of the facts and you are responsible for deciding whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty. Please continue.

COATES: But to the point that he is making, first of all, he's trying to play upon a kind of ignorance about the system that suggests that for the first time ever this is happening just because it's Donald Trump. It is not. It is unique in New York. It is a couple hits to the same bang to have the defense go first and the prosecution. Our federal system has the prosecution, then the defense and the prosecution can rebut these different issues.


But the burden of proof is always with the Department of Justice or with the state or local prosecuting body, in this case, the Manhattan D.A.'s office. That burden of proof is a very, very substantial way that the government must always prove, and it's such that the defense need not ever present a case, that is essentially what makes it more balanced. And the judge is telling the jury that nothing he has said through the trial was meant to suggest that he has an opinion on this case. This is also pretty standard.

But in this realm, he's on a whole new definition and insight because Donald Trump has tried to suggest that this judge is politically motivated or bias. And so he's saying, if you have formed an impression, I do have an opinion. You must put it out of your mind at this time because the judge's job is not to decide.

TAPPER: So, Elie Honig and Karen, I want to ask you about something I read by former, I think, Assistant U.S. Attorney Andy McCarthy.

HONIG: Yes, Southern District.

TAPPER: Southern District of New York. So, he writes for the National Review and he's often cited by Donald Trump when he goes in and out of the courtroom. He said something that I thought was interesting, and I want to get you your assessment on it and, and fact check it if you will or at least explain.

So, he says, it's very critical of Judge Merchan and the case. And one of the things he writes in the National Review, it's quite amazing how explicitly the state of New York is relying on violations of FECA, that's federal election campaign laws, as the other crime that Donald Trump was allegedly concealing by causing his business records to be falsified.

Just to take a second there to explain this. This is a misdemeanor case, the business falsifications, but since the theory of the case is it was done in service to another crime, the federal election campaign laws. That's what makes it a felony. The judge just said, as a juror, you were asked to make a very important decision about another member of the community.

In any case, Andy McCarthy writes that the state is relying on Merchan. I know you would not want to make that decision based on such stereotypes or attitudes. So, anyway, he's saying the state is explicitly relying on this second crime federal election campaign laws as the other crime that bumps it up to a felony. The judge telling the jurors, you must set aside any personal opinions you have in favor or against the defendant.

It is impossible to draw any conclusion that, Andy McCarthy writes, other than the Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg knew that, and as a state prosecutor, his enforcement of federal law would be incredibly controversial since he has no such authority. The federal agencies that do not, that do have such authority investigated Trump and opted. Not to prosecute. The FEC looked at this and decided not to. And to get the prosecution done, Bragg is simply making up his own version of federal law. So, Trump is right now sitting back as Merchan is reading the instructions.

So, he's basically saying that this other crime that the business falsification was done in service of was kind of like hidden until the very end into this closing argument. And that it's kind of like not fair the way that Alvin Bragg did this and the way that Judge Merchan allowed it. What do you think? HONIG: So, I agree in part. It is very unusual. It's unprecedented to have a state prosecution where the predicate, the underlying crime, is a federal election law violation. I don't agree with the imputation of bad motives on Alvin Bragg's behalf. I think Alvin Bragg took a look at this, did his research. I think he understands it's not an automatic there will be an appeals issue. However, I think he decided that it was worth a shot.

Now, what's happening right now, I think this is important to point out.

TAPPER: Let me interrupt one second. I'm sorry. Judge Merchan telling jurors they may not speculate about matters related to sentence or punishment, telling the jury that that will be up to him as the judge. And this is obviously in direct relationship to when Todd Blanche, the defense attorney, yesterday, said something along the lines of you can't send this man to prison for this. We don't know what the sentence is. That was inappropriate. He was reprimanded. Inappropriate, according to the judge, and he was reprimanded.

HONIG: It's a standard of instruction, but it absolutely takes on more resonance, given that slip or, I think, inappropriate statement by Todd Blanche. All of these instructions we've been seeing, you are to keep an open mind, you're not to worry about what I think. These are not Donald Trump specific. This is boilerplate that gets read. And it's important to every defendant in New York.

TAPPER: Right. Anyway, so you don't think -- you don't buy that it was bad motives, but you do think it was unusual, this idea of the federal election law, which Alvin Bragg has no role in actually enforcing?

HONIG: I think he would acknowledge, if pressed, that he understands, he's reaching a bit here and he's going to have a hotly contested appellate issue that we don't know how it'll come out. But if Trump gets convicted, he's absolutely going to appeal and this will be issue one on appeal. It's not up to the states to enforce federal campaign law.

TAPPER: Karen?

KAREN FRIEDMAN AGNIFILO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I have a slightly different perspective because in state court, there are these crimes, like burglary, for example, that if you have the intention to commit another crime, that's what bumps it to a felony. A burglary is trespass, which is a misdemeanor, that if you have the intention to commit another crime, it bumps it up to a felony. You might not know what criminal intent the other person -- that the criminal, the defendant will have in there. And that's upheld all the time.


It's not about the specific crime. You don't have to prove the specific crime.

And so to suggest that the prosecution somehow has to now prove federal election law is just a misstatement of the law and the, And the state prosecutors in other instances where that is a general criminal intent, which is what this is, we have used, when I was a state prosecutor, sorry for saying we, it's hard to break old habits, but they have used federal crimes because it's still a crime in New York, right? You're not allowed to commit federal crimes in New York either, if you have that criminal, that general criminal intent, that has been upheld in New York State.

And so I disagree that this is an issue. And I also disagree that they have to prove the elements of that other crime. It's just the bad motive that they have to prove.

TAPPER: Right now, the jurors eyes are locked on Judge Merchan as he is facing them directly and reading this instruction. And just to give you a layout of what the courtroom is, right in the center, obviously, is the judge's desk or podium, very, very high. And then to his left is the jury, and they are the only thing in between them is the witness stand, and then the jury's right there. So, it's very close, maybe, I would say like maybe 10 or 15 feet. What were you saying?

HONIG: The judge is going to instruct the jury today specifically on federal campaign finance law, what it means and how they are to apply it. That's number one. Number two, yes, state prosecutors sometimes use federal crimes as predicates, but never before in history a federal campaign fraud crime. This is the first time we've seen that.

By the way, one other quick note on the jury notes, and this came up earlier. In a lot of jurisdictions, including most federal courts, the judge will send back the written instruction. It's usually 50, 80 pages, somewhere in there. In New York State Court, that's not the way it works. So, the judge is going to read this hour long charge. The jury is going to listen. They can take notes, but they're not going to have the actual document in the room with them.

COATES: And that's why --

TAPPER: Yes, it's interesting. It says, Judge Merchan tells the jury the reading of the charge will take an hour. He says the panel will not receive copies of the jury instructions. But they may request that Merchan read them back to them.

HONIG: Right. And we'll get notes along those lines.

COATES: Imagine, if you will, if you had two jurors who were also attorneys. Now, the idea of having attorneys on this jury panel becomes all the more important, precisely for the reasons the defense does not want and the prosecution could not want as well.

If you're the prosecution, you want them to be relying on the instructions, as the judge is presenting them. You want them to be following what they gave in the trial. But they will be deferential sometimes to the lawyers to say, Well, tell me what this means. And, of course, he's reminding the jurors that he gave them limiting instructions on several points, which is what provided him to hear on a limited purpose. Now, limited instructions are essentially telling them, put that toothpaste back into the tube, unring that bell, you didn't hear what you've just heard, and you if you did, use it for only a specific purpose. That's a very difficult thing for people to do. And so, again, walking through what those instructions may have been, he's going to verbalize that.

But just take a step back for a moment and realize that this judge is the last line of buffer between a jury deliberating on whether there is guilt or innocence of a former American president. It's such a consequential moment, and they've got to remember the eight hours of statements yesterday.

TAPPER: So, right now, just to remind people, Judge Merchan has told the jurors, you must set aside any personal opinions you have in favor or against the defendant. Kaitlan?

COLLINS: Yes, Jake. And this is notable about him walking through the limiting instructions they got before, because we remember some of those, including about David Pecker and the non-prosecution agreement he had, basically immunity, as he was up there on the stand talking about his experiences with Donald Trump and Michael Cohen, about Michael Cohen. There are these moment that the jury heard during that time. They will be reminded of them now, it sounds, like from this judge. One such instruction, AMI's non-prosecution agreement that is used to assess David Pecker's credibility, it's not evidence of the defendant's guilt or innocence here.

And, Paula, that's notable because in these moments, you know, obviously, David Pecker cooperated and he signed this non-prosecution agreement when they began investigating all of this. And so, you know, it seemed to kind of change his demeanor on the stand. He had this kind of grandfatherly sense about him. He was laughing at some points with the judge. He clearly -- or the jury. He had no axe to grind against Donald Trump. They were friends for 40 years or so. But it is important because it's how the witnesses or how the jury sees what that witness is testifying about.

REID: Yes. And you heard prosecutors in their closings yesterday really hone in on David Pecker and trying to establish and bolster his credibility. The fact that he was not someone like you said, with an axe to grind now. Just now a phone went off in the courtroom. Our colleagues are reporting that it appeared to be Alina Habba's phone playing a video.

Apparently, the judge did not look, did not look, did not react, did not make a thing about it, and she apparently put her up away her phone, but this is --

COLLINS: That's interesting, because Trump's team, they've had their phones. And, you know, if you're sitting in the back of the room and including the D.A.'s team from what I've seen are not on their phones, you are not allowed to be on your phone.

[10:25:01] You can't even have your phone sitting next to you if it's on silent or even off. The court officers will tell you put it away and don't even bring it out.

REID: Yes. but Trump's team, they sit right behind him, and they often have their phones out doing various things, emails, but, you know, to have a video play in the middle of this historic moment when they're charging the jury, I mean, that's pretty poor form. So, hopefully, that will not happen again.

But the judge did -- he shot her a stern look in that direction, the way the noise was coming from, and just moved on, which is probably the right way to handle it, right? This is a critical moment. You want to walk the jury through this incredible task they are about to undertake and not get distracted by something like that.

COLLINS: I mean, that's the worst moment. I mean, this is small. I'm not going to change how the jury decides any of this, but it is silent in that courtroom. You can almost hear a pin drop. And so for someone's phone to go off, as he's now saying, we're turning to the fundamental principles of our law that applies to all criminal trials.

I mean, the way he delivers these instructions is so important, John, because it's how the jury hears it. And, of course, they don't actually get a copy of what he's about to read to them. He'll be able to reread it to them as many times as they need as they're deliberating, but they don't actually get to take the copy of this into the jury room with them.

BERMAN: And with this sentence right here, we now turn to the fundamental principles of law that apply to all criminal trials. Every one of the lawyers, including Paula and the people down at C (ph), have now moved to the front of their chairs here, because that's what we've all been waiting for, to hear how Judge Juan Merchan describes this case and what the jury must decide to the jurors themselves.

And it was interesting that he brought up the AMI thing and David Pecker, who basically admitted to campaign finance violations here. And that that gets to what they were talking about in Washington D.C. There is a campaign fraud element to this case in the prosecution in their closing arguments, really hammered that home, that what was done here was simply illegal. Kaitlan, there's one more update.

COLLINS: Well, of course, the judge is telling the jury that they can't hold that against them. The defendant is not required to prove the fact that he is not guilty. In fact, the defendant is not required to prove or disprove anything. Talking about that and also saying, in addition to David Pecker's agreement, Michael Cohen pleading guilty should not be taken as proof of Trump's guilt as well for this jury.

REID: Yes, which is an important point. These are all really important points for the defendant, right? The burden, as you said right now, has always been on the state. If the people satisfy their burden of proof, which is beyond a reasonable doubt, you must find the defendant guilty. The people must prove beyond a reasonable doubt every element of the crime, including the defendant is the person who committed that crime.

BERMAN: And we heard so much from the prosecution yesterday. Donald Trump caused this. That word, I'm waiting to hear, cause, come up in the jury instructions, but the prosecution knew this was coming.

COLLINS: And Merchan is saying the burden of proof never shifts from the people to the defendant. Remember when he's saying reasonable doubt, they called Michael Cohen, the defense did, the human embodiment of reasonable doubt.

And on that, we also have former U.S. District Judge John E. Jones here with us. And, Judge, it's great to have you because right now, Judge Merchan is defining reasonable doubt saying it is not sufficient to prove that the defendant is probably guilty. How does a juror know when it's reasonable doubt? I mean, it seems obvious, but when you're actually the one in that room deliberating, how important is it for you as a judge to make sure that that's in crystal clear to this jury?

JOHN E. JONES III, FORMER U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE: I think it's pretty abstract the way the jury receives it. It is not stated necessarily in a layman's terms. You know, it's that it is a real doubt not a fanciful doubt, something that would make you pause or hesitate in a matter of importance to you. Jurors, I think, receive that differently. You know, so it's an imprecise science.

But I have always found that jurors could assimilate that instruction and, and that intuitively they understood what that meant, that they needed to be more sure of the guilt on any elements than not, you know? So, it's really -- it's a clinical description, but in practice, I think jurors do pretty well with it.

COLLINS: And Judge Merchan just said, whatever your verdict may be, it must not rest on speculation. You know, he has developed a rapport with this jury in the sense of how he is considerate of their time and what they're hearing and making sure that these proceedings are incredibly fair and that they're not influenced in any way. He says, quote, if you are not convinced beyond a reasonable doubt of the charged crime, you must find the defendant not guilty.

But, Judge, it is that fine line of reasonable doubt but not all possible doubt that that this jury is kind of finding themselves when they look at these checks and these invoices and the testimony that they've heard of where they believe this falls,

JONES: You know, an important component of instructions is something like you don't check your good judgment, your good common sense at the door when you enter the jury room to deliberate. I always used to say that to my juries. And that is the overarching thing principle that typically juries use.