NEW YORK (NEWSnet/AP) — Jurors in Donald Trump’s trial began deliberations shortly before noon Wednesday after receiving instructions from the judge on the law and the details they may consider as they discuss a verdict.

Judge Juan Merchan told jurors when starting the instructions, “It is not my responsibility to judge the evidence here. It is yours.”

This step follows several hours of closing arguments in which a Manhattan prosecutor accused Trump of  participating in a hush money scheme meant to stifle embarrassing stories during his 2016 presidential campaign.

Because Tuesday’s session went late, Merchan called Wednesday’s session into order at 10 a.m.

Trump faces 34 felony counts in the state of New York of falsifying business records, charges punishable by up to four years in prison although a sentence is up to the judge. He has pleaded not guilty and denied wrongdoing.

The trial featured allegations that Trump and his allies conspired to stifle potentially embarrassing stories during the 2016 presidential campaign through hush money payments, including to a porn actor who alleged that she and Trump had sex a decade earlier.

His lawyer Todd Blanche told jurors that neither the actor, Stormy Daniels, nor the Trump attorney who paid her, Michael Cohen, can be trusted.

Deliberations will take place in secret; and the jurors can send notes to the court asking for legal guidance or a testimony excerpt to be read back to them. Jurors must give their cell phones to court officers to hold for them while deliberating. They will be given a laptop containing all of the evidence in the case.

Jurors then have the option of convicting Trump of all counts, acquitting him of all counts, or delivering a mixed verdict in which he is found guilty of some charges and not others.

A mistrial is a possibility if they deadlock and are unable to reach a unanimous verdict.

There were six alternates assigned to this case; and the judge told them they would be on standby in the courthouse as deliberations got underway. The alternates will be kept separate from the main jury and must surrender their phones while deliberations are in progress. If a member of the main panel is unable to continue, an alternate can take that person’s place and deliberations will begin anew.

This is the first criminal case against Trump, the former president and current Republican front-runner for the November election, to go to trial. The other three cases are in various stages of hearings and delays.

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