Following a long day in court Tuesday, when prosecutor Joshua Steinglass finished his closing arguments in the criminal case against former President Donald Trump, jurors were issued crucial instructions by Judge Juan Merchan Wednesday as they began their deliberation.

The Manhattan jury, consisting of seven men and five women, was sent into a private room to review all the evidence and testimonies presented during the trial. This is a historic moment, as it is the first time in American history that a president has been criminally tried.

“It is not my responsibility to judge the evidence here. It is yours,” Merchan told jurors Wednesday morning, per The Associated Press.

In Merchan’s 55-page instructions, he reminded the jurors of their role. “A fair juror is a person who will keep their promise to be fair and impartial and who will not permit the verdict to be influenced by a bias or prejudice in favor of or against a person who appeared in this trial.”

As the judge warned the jury to be impartial before they were dismissed to begin weighing their verdict; later, outside the courtroom, Trump spoke to the reporters and shared his opinion that Merchan has a lack of fairness, calling him “conflicted” and “corrupt” in a video posted on his Truth Social account.

“Mother Teresa could not beat these charges,” Trump continued. “These charges are rigged, the whole thing is rigged. The whole country is a mess between the borders and fake elections and you have a trial like this, where the judge is so conflicted, he can’t breathe. He’s got to do his job. And it’s not for me, that I can tell you. It’s a disgrace and I mean that.”

“Mother Teresa could not beat those charges, but we’ll see. We’ll see how we do.”

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What are the jurors deliberating on?

The case brought against Trump by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Braggs accuses him of 34 criminal counts, including the falsification of business records to cover up an alleged payment. The $130,000 payment was apparently “hush money” to silence adult film actress Stormy Daniels from sharing an alleged sexual encounter she claims to have had with Trump in 2006 at a Lake Tahoe celebrity golf tournament.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing, claiming that he was unaware of the payments or that they were manipulated to cover them up. Trump’s defense has argued that the payment was a “legal expense.” The $130,000 payment was made by Trump’s then-attorney, Michael Cohen, which his lead attorney, Todd Blanche, argued justifies being marked as a “legal expense.”

“The records were not ‘falsified’ because they cited legal services and Cohen was Trump’s lawyer at the time, Blanche said in his closing arguments Tuesday,” per the New York Post. “The ‘scheme’ was to book a legal expense as a legal expense,” he added. “That’s absurd.”

Cohen was a key witness in the prosecution’s case against Trump and used his account of what happened to try to prove that the alleged payment to silence Daniels was done just before the 2016 presidential election as a way to manipulate the election in Trump’s favor using “unlawful means.”

The jurors do not have to be unanimous about which criminal counts they find Trump to have used “unlawful means,” but according to CBS News, Merchan gave the following three examples:

  • Violations of the Federal Elections Campaign Act.
  • Counterfeiting of other business records.
  • Breach of tax laws.

Time will only tell until the jury reaches a decision regarding Trump’s innocence or conviction; it could take hours, days or even weeks. As Trump is the presumptive presidential front-runner against President Joe Biden, Chris Anderson, who is with Fox News Decision Team and the Democratic partner on the Fox News Poll, said he does not believe that “a guilty verdict would fundamentally change the landscape of the race,” per Fox News.

Daron Shaw, a politics professor and chair at the University of Texas who is also a member of the Fox News Decision Team and the Republican partner on the Fox News Poll, agreed with Anderson, adding that “prior to 2020, no one would have thought that a candidate could survive a criminal conviction.”

“But times and circumstances have evolved. And while the specific findings of the jury could matter, I think there is a sense that a conviction in this case would not appreciably change the dynamics of the race,” Shaw added.