Written by Ashton Snyder on
 May 29, 2024

Jury Instructions From Judge May Affect Trump Trial Outcome: Consultant

The criminal trial of former President Donald Trump in Manhattan is approaching its conclusion, with the jury set to deliberate on 34 counts of corporate fraud related to an alleged hush money payment to Stormy Daniels.

Jury consultant Melissa Gomez believes that the judge's instructions could significantly influence the outcome of Trump's corporate fraud trial.

The trial, which has spanned more than four weeks, focuses on a purported hush money payment made to adult film star Stormy Daniels to silence her about an alleged affair with Trump. Trump is accused of falsifying corporate records to conceal his involvement in the payment made by Michael Cohen during the 2016 presidential election. Trump denies the affair and has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Closing arguments are scheduled to begin on Tuesday, and jury deliberations are set to start on Wednesday. Before deliberations, Chief Judge Juan Merchan will instruct the jurors on the applicable laws, Conservative Brief reported.

Contention Over Jury Instructions

The defense has raised concerns about Merchan’s instructions, arguing that they should highlight the case's “extraordinarily important” aspects. However, Judge Merchan rejected this request, opting to follow standard procedures for jury instructions. This decision has drawn criticism from Trump's legal team and commentary from legal experts.

Melissa Gomez, a jury consultant, emphasized the significant influence the judge's instructions could have on the jury's deliberations. "A lot of power," Gomez stated, referring to the judge's role. She explained that juries often rely on these instructions when there is disagreement among jurors. "I think this is the context where those instructions can have a lot of power if they’re clear and help guide these jurors," she added.

Potential for a Mistrial

Legal analysts suggest that the likelihood of a mistrial is heightened, as only one juror needs to hold out for Trump to avoid prosecution. This aspect of jury deliberations underscores the critical nature of the judge's instructions in shaping the jury's understanding and decision-making process.

A legal expert, Elie Honig highlighted a potential challenge for the jury. He pointed out that if the jury is instructed on the campaign finance specifics, it could pose a "practical problem." "If the jury is going to be instructed that the other crime here is state or federal campaign finance law, don’t they have to get into what that means?" Honig questioned, suggesting the complexity of the legal issues at hand.

Defense's Attempt to Dismiss Case

Last Monday, Trump’s defense attorneys unsuccessfully attempted to dismiss the case, arguing that there was insufficient evidence linking Trump to the falsified business records. The judge's decision to proceed with the trial further sets the stage for a contentious jury deliberation.

Prosecutors have described the defense's request regarding jury instructions as “totally inappropriate,” indicating a clear divide between the two sides on this critical issue.

Jury Consultant's Perspective

Melissa Gomez further commented on the potential impact of the jury instructions. "Anything can happen in a trial like this, and it only takes one holdout," she noted, emphasizing the unpredictable nature of jury deliberations in high-profile cases.

Meanwhile, conservative commentator Megyn Kelly warned that Merchan’s instructions could potentially tip the jury against Trump. This perspective adds to the concerns surrounding the judge’s role and the potential implications for the trial's outcome.


As the trial of former President Donald Trump nears its conclusion, the instructions provided by Chief Judge Juan Merchan to the jury are expected to be pivotal. The trial has focused on allegations of corporate fraud and a hush money payment to Stormy Daniels, which Trump denies. Legal experts have noted the contentious nature of the judge’s instructions and the potential for a mistrial. Influenced by these instructions, the jury's deliberations will determine the case's resolution, highlighting the high stakes involved.

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About Ashton Snyder

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