About a month before Donald J. Trump was elected president in 2016, a recording surfaced of him speaking in vulgar terms about women, causing a crisis within the Trump campaign and pandemonium across the Republican Party.

The so-called “Access Hollywood” tape, first obtained by The Washington Post, showed Mr. Trump bragging about grabbing women’s genitals, saying he could do so with abandon because “when you’re a star, they let you do it.”

Prosecutors have mentioned the tape at various stages of Mr. Trump’s criminal trial, including during closing arguments on Tuesday. They have argued that the release of the tape sent the campaign into damage-control mode to confront the intense fallout, becoming so desperate that Mr. Trump agreed to pay off Stormy Daniels, a porn star who was shopping a story of a 2006 sexual encounter with him.

Michael D. Cohen, Mr. Trump’s former fixer, paid Ms. Daniels $130,000. The payment is at the heart of the 34 felony charges against Mr. Trump, who is accused of falsifying business records to cover it up.

On Tuesday, one of the prosecutors, Joshua Steinglass, reminded jurors, through testimony from Mr. Trump’s former spokeswoman Hope Hicks, that Mr. Trump recognized the potential damage of the tape.

Mr. Steinglass also showed jurors video clips of Mr. Trump himself acknowledging that the “Access Hollywood” tape and its aftermath could swing a very tight election. “If 5 percent of the people think it’s true, and maybe 10 percent,” Trump said in one clip, “we don’t win.”

On the tape, Mr. Trump recounted to the television personality Billy Bush of “Access Hollywood” how he once pursued a married woman, expressing regret that they did not have sex. He bragged about what he considered his special status with women.

“You can do anything,” Mr. Trump said on the three-minute recording, which was captured on the set of “Days of Our Lives,” where Mr. Trump was making a cameo appearance.

The judge in Mr. Trump’s criminal trial, Juan M. Merchan, had ruled in March that prosecutors from the Manhattan district attorney’s office could question witnesses about the tape, but found that it would be prejudicial to play the actual video. He reaffirmed that ruling on April 15.

“You can bring out what was said in the tape,” Justice Merchan said, adding that he didn’t want jurors “to hear Mr. Trump’s voice and his gestures.”

In a victory for the defense, the judge also ruled that day that the prosecution could not introduce evidence about sexual assault allegations against Mr. Trump that arose after the tape became public, calling them “complete hearsay.”

However, Justice Merchan said that prosecutors could introduce emails that followed the tape’s disclosure, showing frantic efforts by Trump advisers to contain the fallout. The correspondence, he said, “bolsters the people’s claim that this was a crucial event.”

One of those emails, from Ms. Hicks to other campaign aides after the tape was released, included a transcript of Mr. Trump’s remarks, introducing those comments to jurors.

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