NYC judge in Trump trial says jury doesn’t have to agree on what crime was committed to convict

Judge Juan Merchan ruled during the final week of hearing from witnesses in Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s falsified business records trial that the jury does not have to agree on what the second crime was that the prosecution alleges Trump did to find him guilty. 

Trump’s defense team argued during a May 21 hearing that the jury should be required to agree on a "predicate" crime to find Trump guilty of the felony charges. Falsifying business records is typically a misdemeanor, but Bragg raised the 34 counts to felonies, alleging that a second crime was committed in conjunction with the business record charges.  

Prosecutors laid out four possible predicate crimes, or crimes committed as part of a larger crime. One of these predicate crimes was ruled out by Merchan before the trial, with the remaining possible predicate crimes being a tax crime and violations of federal or state election law, Politico reported. 

Emil Bove, a defense attorney for Trump, argued that the jurors should have to agree on a single predicate crime to issue a guilty verdict in the trial. Prosecutor Matthew Colangelo said that the law does not require jurors to do that. 

"The importance of the case is not a basis for deviating from the standard application of the law," said Colangelo. "There’s no reason to rewrite the law for this case." Merchan agreed with the prosecution and said he would not require the jury to agree on a single predicate crime. 

Even if some jurors believe Trump falsified the records to cover up a tax crime while others believe he did so to cover up an election crime, the jury can still find Trump guilty of felony-level falsifying business records charges. 

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