Liam Neeson and Glenn Close Perform Chilling Readings of the Trump Indictments, to Save You the Effort

A new podcast unpacks the specifics of Donald Trump's charges, relying on the A-list actors to emphasize their gravity

<p>Karwai Tang/WireImage; Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty; Scott Olson/Getty</p> Liam Neeson and Glenn Close read excerpts from Donald Trump

Karwai Tang/WireImage; Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty; Scott Olson/Getty

Liam Neeson and Glenn Close read excerpts from Donald Trump's indictments in a new political podcasts in

Liam Neeson and Glenn Close are using their award-winning voices to help Americans understand why former President Donald Trump is under criminal indictment.

In a new bonus episode of MSNBC's podcast Prosecuting Donald Trump, the A-listers read excerpts from two of Trump's indictments — the federal indictment over his behavior after the 2020 election, and the New York indictment over alleged hush money payments — while legal analysts Andrew Weissmann and Melissa Murray unpack exactly what they mean.

Related: The Cases Against Trump: What to Know About the Various Investigations Surrounding the 45th U.S. President

Neeson's voice begins the episode as he reads directly from the federal indictment, pulling phrases such as, "Despite having lost, the defendant [Trump] was determined to remain in power. So for more than two months following election day on November 3, 2020, the defendant spread lies that there had been outcome determinative fraud in the election and that he had actually won. These claims were false, and the defendant knew that they were false."

Per the indictment, Trump was charged with one count each of conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding, and conspiracy against rights. He pleaded not guilty to the charges in August 2023.

As the podcast hosts note, Trump has claimed his words about election fraud and false claims about winning the election should be protected as free speech.

But, notes Weissmann, "Words can be used to commit crimes ... it is just a bogus argument."

Elaborating on her co-host's point, Murray said that the indictment itself details that it's fine for someone engaged in a contested election to make statements, but they cannot "tip over past that point and ... encourage people to take lawless action by feeding them lies that they believe."

"Donald Trump knew that the election had not been stolen, he continued to perpetuate the lie that it had, and it had really violent consequences on Jan. 6," Murray added.

Samuel Corum/Getty The Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol, as Donald Trump's supporters attempted to stop the certification of the 2020 election
Samuel Corum/Getty The Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol, as Donald Trump's supporters attempted to stop the certification of the 2020 election

Elsewhere in the podcast, Close can be heard reading from the New York indictment.

"On the hush money payments, the defendant, Donald J. Trump, repeatedly and fraudulently falsified New York business records to conceal criminal conduct that damaging information from the voting public during the 2016 presidential election," Close reads from the indictment.

According to prosecutors in that case, Trump orchestrated a hush money scheme that lasted from August 2015 — just two months after he formally announced his run for the presidency — to December 2017, after he took office.

The scheme, they allege, saw Trump ask his attorney to pay off those who were trying to sell negative stories about him, such as women with whom he'd had affairs.

In April 2023, Trump faced a Manhattan judge and pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts involving the alleged hush money payments to two women, believed to be (though not named by prosecutors) adult film star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal.

Related: Donald Trump Sues George Stephanopoulos for Defamation Following Viral ABC News Interview

A second episode, which airs Friday, includes takeaways from two other criminal indictments: the Florida classified documents case brought by Special Counsel Jack Smith and the Georgia election interference case brought by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis.

The podcast's special episodes center around Weissmann and Murray's new book, The Trump Indictments: The Historic Charging Documents with Commentary, which examine all four indictments filed against the former president.

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