Prosecutors have two final words for the Trump jury: Stormy Daniels

The whole thing happened in the room,” Manhattan prosecutor Joshua Steinglass reflected on Tuesday, “that was very annoying.”

In his closing speech at by Donald Trump silent money testingSteinglass is taking the jury back to that night in 2006, when, as a porn star Daniels storms witness this month, she slept with the former president in his hotel room. Steinglass had a sharp and colloquial demeanor—sometimes referring to those in Trump’s sights as “these guys”–and at the end of the prosecution against Trump, he laid out the parameters clearly .

“Daniel’s story is a mess,” Steinglass continued. “It makes people uncomfortable to hear. Maybe it will make some of you uncomfortable to hear. But that’s the problem.”

Over the past five weeks, Trump’s trial has often revolved around a series of documents and phone records. The former president pleaded not guilty to 34 counts of falsifying business records to conceal payments to Daniels for her silence, and denied any romantic relationship with her. It’s his lawyer Todd Blanche put it earlier in its own day announced closure, “It’s a paper box.” But in Steinglass’s telling, there is a narrative thread running through.

“Stormy Daniels was the motive,” he told the jury.

Before the 2016 election, revelations about Access Hollywood The tape – in which, as Steinglass recalled, Trump discussed “grabbing women by their genitals” – threw the Republican candidate’s campaign into chaos. The payment to Daniels was made shortly afterward and that the money was an attempt to manipulate voters, prosecutors said. One might ask, he admits, how much people would care if Trump slept with a porn star ten years ago. Steinglass said it is up to voters to decide whether they do so.

Blanche devoted her summation to discrediting Michael Cohen, Trump’s former fixer who arranged Daniels’ payment. Steinglass did not fully defend the admitted perjurer’s integrity, but he did offer an emotional explanation of Cohen’s behavior. He said it was true that Cohen harbored negative feelings toward his former boss after serving time in prison related to the Daniels payment. But Cohen was “the defendant’s right-hand man, his consigliere,” Steinglass said. “When things got worse, the defendant let him go, dropped him like a hot potato and tweeted to the world that Mr. Cohen was a scumbag.”

Steinglass seems skeptical about the circumstances of the “Trump phenomenon” he is describing, perhaps even a little amused at recounting them on this formal stage. Cohen, he said, “may be angry that, so far, he is the only one who has had to pay the price for his role in this conspiracy.”

In any case, Steinglass said, while Cohen has lied in the past, he did so for Trump — and Trump was the one who hired him “because he was willing to lie and deceive on behalf of Mr. Trump.” And if Cohen had lied during testimonyWhy, Steinglass suggested, didn’t he go further and say, for example, that Trump had privately admitted to sleeping with Daniels?

Blanche stared intently at Steinglass while Trump looked straight ahead. Trump family members in attendance–Don Jr., Eric, And Tiffany–glance at their phone. Steinglass’s speech was expected to last well into the evening, and when Tiffany left the courtroom during a 5 p.m. recess, she said “hey” to by Rudy Giuliani Boy Andrew, who was a fixture at trial.

By this stage of the broader Trump-Daniels-Cohen saga, enacted in 2016 and emerging in 2018, details surrounding this colorful cast had spilled out multiple times. Steinglass seemed to be trying, during his six hours of remarks, to restore the case. News outlets sometimes use gentle euphemisms to describe Daniels’ work–“adult film star” or “adult entertainer”–but he prefers strong pairings and evocative “porn star” versus “president.” It’s a way to remind jurors, who will begin deliberating as soon as Wednesday, that the reason they’ve been poring over documents in this courtroom for more than a month may ultimately stem from a single night at Lake Tahoe 18 years ago. .

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