Election 2024: The Long Pause

Yesterday Michael Cohen took the stand in New York v. Trump for a small amount of additional cross-examination, followed by a small amount of redirect, after which as expected the prosecution rested. In total the prosecution’s case took 15 days of trial time, spread over several weeks.

Thereafter the defense put on two witnesses, neither of whom are household names, and rested its case this morning without putting Trump on the stand. At that point, with the Memorial Day weekend looming Judge Merchan dismissed the jury for the week. At this point all 12 original jurors remain intact, interestingly.

As such, further activity in the trial this week will be limited to bickering around jury instructions; and then a week from today, May 28th, we will have closing arguments followed by jury instructions, after which things will be in the jury’s hands.

In other news, last Friday Trump made an effort to play offense on the electoral map by leaving Florida after Barron’s high school graduation to give a speech a few miles from my house, at the Minnesota GOP’s annual Lincoln-Reagan Dinner in St. Paul. I am skeptical that Minnesota is really in play this year, but it probably is a reasonable ‘aspirational’ state for the Republicans, not unlike North Carolina or Florida for the Democrats. I was somewhat surprised to learn, from the news coverage of Trump’s visit, that Minnesota last voted for a Republican for President way back in 1972; thank you, Walter Mondale.

I should also mention a second N.Y.C. trial of political interest that got underway last week: N.J. Senator Menendez is on trial for federal bribery charges. He is up for re-election this fall, and while he declined to participate in the Democratic primary after his indictment, he has left open the possibility that if acquitted he could run in the general as an independent against the Democratic candidate, expected to be Representative Andrew Kim.