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Trump’s Hush-Money Trial Heads Into the Unknown as Jury Deliberations Begin

U.S.Trump’s Hush-Money Trial Heads Into the Unknown as Jury Deliberations Begin

Today, at 11:28 a.m., a jury of 12 New Yorkers began deliberating in the criminal trial against former President Donald Trump.

It’s worth lingering on that point. The first former president ever to be tried for a crime — a man who would like to be, and possibly will be, president again — is stuck in a courthouse in Manhattan, waiting for a jury to announce his legal fate.

It’s a sharp contrast from the norm in a presidential campaign where so much has seemed baked in, starting with two candidates. Trump and President Biden emerged from primary elections that generated nothing in the way of suspense to face each other in a matchup Americans have already seen.

This, instead, is a moment of genuine uncertainty.

We have no idea what the jurors will decide. We have no idea how it will shape the campaign in the months to come or whether, whichever way it goes, voters will care.

We just know that none of this, rife as it is with tension and absurdity, has happened before.

For Trump, who is not allowed to leave the courthouse while deliberations unfold, it’s a rare situation in which he has no control, as my colleague Maggie Haberman pointed out today. He can’t change the rules at court or dispatch his allies to appeal to the jurors. He just has to wait, uncertain as everybody else.

On Wednesday, however, he sought to puncture the aura of uncertainty. He marched to the ever-present cameras in the courthouse hallway and denounced the judge in the case, Juan M. Merchan, as “corrupt” and “conflicted.”

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