Wed. Jul 24th, 2024

Trump trial: Cohen dominates closing arguments

By triji May 29, 2024
News

The defense and prosecution presented opposing portraits of Trump’s ex-lawyer in the Stormy Daniels trial in eight hours.

After 21 days and 22 witnesses, jurors will decide whether to criminally convict a president for the first time in US history. The least significant of Donald Trump’s four trials and the only one expected to begin before the election, began on April 15 in a circus atmosphere with few protesters but massive media coverage.

Tuesday, May 28, closing arguments drew a record crowd of public and media. A line of journalists leaves the small park opposite the court at 6 a.m. Some people slept there for days. Nadine Siler, a frequent anti-Trump protester, arrived at noon on Sunday.

Washington— The jury will decide if Donald Trump feigned reimbursement to his personal lawyer for hush money paid to a porn star before the 2016 presidential election after closing arguments in the first criminal trial of a former president on Tuesday.

The campaign to reelect President Joe Biden held a press conference outside the Lower Manhattan courthouse during summations with actor Robert DeNiro and two former U.S. Capitol Police officers who were overwhelmed by a Trump supporter mob on Jan. 6, 2021.

The Trump campaign held a press conference after DeNiro fought a heckler.

The defense called Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen the “M.V.P. of liars” and Trump a victim of extortion and too busy a leader in 2017 to understand Cohen’s payments on the trial’s final day.

The prosecution showed jurors excruciating details of events and witness testimony to show that Trump and his associates wanted to “hoodwink the American voter” before the 2016 election, according to courthouse reporters.

In New York, courtroom recordings are prohibited but transcripts are available. May 20 States Newsroom covered the trial in person.

Trump, the presumed 2024 Republican presidential nominee, is charged with 34 felonies, one for each of the 11 invoices, 11 checks, and 12 ledger entries New York state prosecutors say were disguised as routine “legal expenses” to reimburse Cohen for paying Stormy Daniels.

Trump denies wrongdoing.

Daniels, an adult film director, testified in early May to a 2006 Lake Tahoe golf tournament sexual encounter with Trump, which he denies.

Cohen, the prosecution’s star witness, told the jury that Trump knew he wired Daniels $130,000 to sign a nondisclosure agreement in late October 2016.

Cohen’s payment followed the release of the “Access Hollywood” tape, in which Trump told a TV host that his fame lets him grab women by the genitals.

Additional witnesses testified that the revelation put Trump’s campaign on edge about losing women voters.

Cohen testified that Trump was present during discussions with the Trump Organization’s longtime CFO, Allen Weisselberg, to repay Cohen under the guise of “legal expenses.” Cohen earned $420,000 after bonuses and taxes.

The mid-April hush money trial is likely the only one before November. Two federal and one Georgia criminal cases against the former president remain stalled.

The prosecution called nearly two dozen witnesses to prove Trump’s history of stifling negative stories during the six-week trial.

Former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker testified that he worked with Trump and Cohen in 2016 to pay off former Playboy model Karen McDougal and cover up her affair with Trump.

Trump attorney Todd Blanche spent nearly three hours arguing that Trump did not attempt to influence the 2016 election by “unlawful means.”

A nondisclosure agreement is “not a crime,” Blanche told the jurors, dismissing the conspiracy theory. Blanche said editors often bought sources’ silence and buried stories.

“Every campaign in this country is a conspiracy,” he told jurors, courthouse reporters reported.

Blanche claimed that Trump and Cohen had a “oral” retainer agreement and that Cohen was lying about how much work he was doing for Trump.

Blanche said Trump was too busy “running the country” to realize what he was signing when he signed nine of Cohen’s 11 checks in the Oval Office.

Blanche claimed that the Trump Organization’s software had few dropdown menu categories, including “legal expenses” for ledger payment classification.

Blanche spent most of his closing statement convincing jurors that Cohen’s testimony was unreliable.

Blanche told the jurors, “There is no way that you can find that President Trump knew about this payment at the time it was made without believing the words of Michael Cohen — period,” courtroom reporters reported.

Cohen admitted lying to Congress in 2018.

Blanche called Cohen the “G.L.O.A.T.” using another sports metaphor.

Blanche: “He’s literally the greatest liar of all time.

He concluded by urging the jury not to send Trump “to prison” for Cohen’s testimony.

Blanche mentioned prison, but Justice Juan Merchan reminded her that a guilty verdict does not necessarily mean prison time. According to courthouse reporters, Merchan told jurors to ignore that “improper” comment.

«The only one who paid the price»

The longest day of the trial was when prosecutor Joshua Steinglass gave his closing argument for just under five hours.

Steinglass stated that the prosecution only needs to prove that Trump knew about the conspiracy’s false business records.

Steinglass reviewed earlier jury evidence: phone records, handwritten notes, recorded phone conversations, and Trump-signed checks. He also recalled Trump allies’ damning testimony, including publisher Pecker.

“The conspiracy to unlawfully influence the 2016 election — you don’t need Michael Cohen to prove that one bit,” Steinglass told courthouse reporters.

Steinglass examined Cohen’s shady past, including lying to Congress and serving time for campaign finance violations related to hush money payments to women who claimed extramarital affairs with Trump.

Steinglass noted that these actions were taken to protect Trump, but now they are being used against Cohen to protect Trump.

Cohen went from a Trump ally to a bitter foe who wrote books like “Disloyal” and “Revenge” and hosts a podcast called “Mea Culpa” where he criticizes Trump.

Blanche told the jurors that Cohen is “understandably angry that to date, he’s the only one who’s paid the price for his role in this conspiracy,” reporters reported. Trump was shaking his head.

Steinglass told jurors that Cohen, who now has a criminal record and no law license, sold t-shirts of Trump in an orange prison jumpsuit, but one can “hardly blame” him.

Steinglass also contradicted the defense’s claim that Trump’s actions before 2016 were routine, calling the National Enquirer “a covert arm” of the Trump campaign and “the very antithesis of a normal legitimate press function.”

“Everything Mr. Trump and his cohorts did in this case was cloaked in lies,” Steinglass concluded. “The name of the game was concealment, and all roads lead to Donald Trump, who benefited most.”

Biden uses DeNiro

On the sidewalk outside the New York County Supreme Court, the Biden campaign deployed DeNiro, the voice of the latest campaign ad, and Harry Dunn and Michael Fanone, former Capitol Police officers. A press release said the officers are campaigning for Biden in battleground states.

Michael Tyler, the campaign’s communications director, introduced the trio and said they were in Manhattan because of the media, not the trial.

As DeNiro called them “crazy,” loud protesters competed with speakers.

“Donald Trump has created this,” DeNiro said of the protesters. His goal is to cause chaos, which he is achieving in some areas. I love this city and won’t destroy it. Donald Trump wants to destroy this city, the nation, and the world.”

De Niro pointed to Dunn and Fanone behind him and said, “These guys are the true heroes.” “They risked their lives for these low lives, for Trump.”

DeNiro was interrupted by a protester calling the officers “traitors.”

DeNiro replied, “I don’t even know how to deal with you, my friend,” during the livestream.

Dunn and Fanone testified two years ago before lawmakers investigating the violent mob that overran the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 to certify Biden’s 2020 presidential election victory. Trump still lies about winning.

Trump’s campaign held a press conference immediately.

Trump senior adviser Jason Miller held up Tuesday’s New York Post with the headline “Nothing to Bragg About,” a play on Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

Miller said, “Everybody knows this case is complete garbage.” “President Trump did nothing wrong. Everything’s political.”

During a Steinglass summation break, Trump posted “BORING!” in all caps on Truth Social.

Trump complained in all caps about the order of closing arguments, a standard trial procedure, late Monday.

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By triji

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