What is the alleged crime? Katie Phang breaks down the charges in Trump's criminal trial

Right now, the jury is back to deliberating in Donald Trump's hush money trial. The jurors are now tasked with coming to a verdict on whether Trump falsified business records related to a hush money payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels. I want to bring in MSNBC legal correspondent Katie Fang, who is also the host of The Katie Fang Show right here on MSNBC. OK, Always great seeing you. So this charge is typically a misdemeanor. What's been elevated to a felony? Tell us how that shapes the jury's objectives. Yeah. So, Jose, let's refresh everybody's recollection. This is your 12 jurors. You've got 7 men and five women. But what they're really focusing on what is the crime, Right? And so the underlying misdemeanor is the falsification of business records. And in order to make it a felony, there had to have been the intent to commit or conceal another crime. So a lot of people are asking, what do you mean, Katie? What's that other crime? Well, in New York? And according to the prosecution, the other crime that Trump was going to commit was a violation of New York election law. And basically, it's when you promote or prevent the election of a person to a public office by using unlawful means. But then people say, well, what unlawful means because the jury instructions, Jose, make it clear that the unlawful means do not have to be agreed upon by all 12 of the jurors. And so the jurors are listening and have heard to the evidence that there was a violation of the Federal Election Campaign Act. There was also a violation of the creation of false business records, violation of tax laws. And why this is so good for the prosecution, Jose, is that because there does not have to be all 12 jurors in agreement as to what the unlawful means was, they just have to agree that there was the falsification of business records with the intent to promote or prevent the election of a public official through unlawful means. You have what I call is a buffet of criminality. They can choose from any of these, but they don't have to specify on the verdict form what they decided was the case. And so ultimately, what you end up having is the following flow chart when it comes to the legal analysis that's happening by them, even though they're not lawyers, although two of the jurors are, there's a crime that's to commit another crime that eventually ends up being committed through unlawful means. And so, Jose, hopefully these jurors understand and listen that reback of the jury instructions from pages 6 through 35. This was a reread of what we all see on the screen. That's exactly what the jurors just heard. So Katie, explain that and how usual or unusual is that salad bar thing in a court case? And and what does it tell you about what the jury requesting those six through 35 pages be read back to them? What does it tell you? That's a great question, Jose, because normally and in your in your amazing panel agrees because they've all dealt with these types of cases. You have to have a unanimous verdict by the jurors when it comes to guilt or innocence. And listen, that still exists. I want to be very clear. The prosecution still carries the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the elements of falsification of a business record in the first degree as a classy felony has been reached. There's no burden shifting that has happened to Jose. However, the luxury, if I may use that word, that the prosecution has is deciding that once we've established that the business records were falsified at Trump Organization and once we've established that there was an attempt by Trump to be able to commit or conceal those other crimes, and there's an agreement that there was the other crime of a violation of the New York election law. Then again, the luxury that the jury has is they don't have to have a unanimous agreement on what those unlawful means were. They just have to admit amidst each other that something unlawful occurred to get Trump across that proverbial finish line. Thank you for explicando la Cosa, Stan. Clara meant explaining things as clearly as you always do. Really appreciate that. Claudio Casey, of course it.

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