Closing statements in the PETA animal cruelty trial have concluded, and the jury is scheduled to start deliberating by mid-afternoon. There’s a chance we’ll see a verdict by early evening. If not, Judge Cy Grant has told the media he will ask jurors to resume tomorrow (not Monday).As we briefly mentioned yesterday, Grant has downgraded all the animal-cruelty charges to misdemeanors and has dismissed the Obtaining Property By False Pretenses counts against Andrew Cook. The former decision seems to stem from the prosecution’s failure to prove that Cook and co-defendant Adria Hinkle were acting with malice when they killed over two-dozen shelter pets in the back of their PETA-owned van and tossed the bodies into a shopping center dumpster. And a few of Cook’s charges we dismissed because witnesses said Hinkle (not Cook) duped them into handing over healthy animals.Nonetheless, this is still an animal cruelty trial involving two paid staffers of an organizationthat sees no moral difference between humans and cats, dogs, pigs, and mice. And Hinkle is still facing a 6-to-8-month prison term for each of her three Obtaining Property By False Pretenses felony charges. Also of note: Yesterday, the defense asked the judge to dismiss all Obtaining Property By False Pretense charges on the basis that an animal is not "a thing of value." Imagine that — when it’s convenient, PETA argues that a cat has no value. But lab rats are so valuable that we should forego lifesaving medical research to protect them. (The judge denied the request.)Click here for a full recap of Day 9.And keep checking PetaKillsAnimals.comthroughout the weekend for updates on jury deliberations.