Sun. Jun 23rd, 2024

Jurors get dueling portraits of Michael Cohen

By 37ci3 May28,2024



At times, it was hard to tell whether the former president was present Tuesday Donald Trump or his former ally Michael Cohen was on trial.

Trump, mostly on the stand, almost took a back seat as attorneys for the prosecution and defense laid out their “summations” — closing arguments — in a hushed-up money case in a shabby New York courtroom.

Jurors were treated to duel descriptions of Cohen, the trial’s star witness, and the relative importance of both his history of lying and his testimony in the case. Judge Juan Merchan continued the trial into the evening to bring Trump’s fate to a jury.

Here are four speeches from the 21st day of the former US president’s first trial:

Ten things the defense hates about Michael Cohen

Defense attorney Todd Blanche focused much of his three-hour closing argument on Cohen, who once made amends for Trump, whose colorful testimony and past often overshadowed other elements of the trial.

“He’s biased and eager to tell you a story that’s not true,” Blanche said. “Michael Cohen GLOAT – he is literally the Biggest Liar of All Time.”

Cohen is at the center of a list called “10 Reasons for Your Reasonable Doubt” that Blanche used to make the case that jurors should find Trump not guilty on all counts.

Cohen’s credibility is crucial to the defense because his testimony corroborated the state’s story. He is accused of falsifying business records to hide payments to porn actress Stormi Daniels to help Trump. his successful 2016 presidential campaign.

Blanche argued that there was no evidence that Trump knew or had any fraudulent intent — the invoices for the payments, which Cohen said were intended to cover Daniels’ out-of-pocket costs to buy Trump’s long-running affair to keep her quiet. caught. he denied.

Trump’s attorney theorized that Cohen cut the deal with Daniels, acting on his own to gain Trump’s favor. He said the more than $400,000 in payments from Trump to Cohen were for general legal services, not hush money rewards.

And he accused Cohen of axing and fabricating his story because he didn’t get a job in the Trump administration. “You cannot convict President Trump of any crime beyond a reasonable doubt, in the words of Michael Cohen,” Blanche said.

Most interesting is one of the slides in which Blanche shows the jury simply saying, “Case turns on Cohen.”

Prosecutors also know about Cohen’s affairs

Prosecutor Joshua Steinglass argued that Cohen served as a “tour guide” rather than as a witness in the criminal case.

“They want to make it about Michael Cohen,” Steinglass said. “It’s not. It’s crooked.”

However, Cohen was Steinglass’s central player. final word to the jury. When forced to comment on the defense’s portrayal of Cohen as both a liar and a lone wolf acting outside of Trump’s authority, Steinglass responded with a different account of the relationship between the two men.

“He answered directly to the defendant. He got the cases that no one wanted, that the defendant wanted to keep quiet,” – the prosecutor he said, He described Cohen as “more of a fixer than a lawyer” for Trump. “It was a way for the defendant to preserve reasonable denial — or, given the evidence in this case, implausible denial.”

Ultimately, Steinglass said, the case rested on a number of documents and other witness statements. Addressing the jury for more than four hours, he went through painstaking and time-consuming detail.

Among the highlights: former magazine publisher David Pecker testified that he and Cohen hatched a scheme to use the National Enquirer to help Trump’s 2015 presidential campaign. Hope Hicks, a longtime Trump aide, testified that Trump wanted the Daniels lawsuit killed because he thought “It would be bad if this story came out before the election.”

Steinglass called Hicks’ testimony “devastating,” noting that he broke down in tears while on the stand.

Business records show Trump pays Cohen $35,000 a month, according to defense attorneys, as an employee to provide legal services. Prosecutors and Cohen say the “legal services” category was used to hide the true nature of the payments that made Cohen whole again after taxes.

What the case is really about, according to the prosecution

The prosecution’s case rests on three facts, Steinglass said: the false business records were created; that the forgery was designed to cover up a conspiracy to help Trump’s 2016 campaign; and that Trump was involved in a conspiracy and intended to deceive the voting public.

The middle one—that the cover-up was intended to influence the election—is perhaps the hardest to prove.

By trying to show the jury that the charge was already justified Steinglass visited again on October 7, 2016, when a video surfaced of Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women. The video was an old clip from the TV show Access Hollywood.

Its public disclosure created “pandemonium in the Trump campaign,” Steinglass said, and Trump told the public it was just “locker room talk” as he tried to salvage his chances.

“In the same month, the defendant was trying to sell the difference between words and actions, paying to silence a porn star who claimed to have had sex with him,” Steinglass said, adding that Daniels was “a walking, talking reminder.” the defendant was not only a word.”

Trump, according to Hicks, was aware of the fragility of his campaign at the time.

Steinglass showed jurors numerous communications between key players in the catch-and-kill plot in the hours and days after the Access Hollywood tape was released. When AMI, the National Enquirer’s parent company, pulled out of discussions to buy Daniels’ story, Cohen contacted Daniels’ attorney, Keith Davidson, directly.

On October 26, 2016, Cohen opened a bank account for a new company created to pay Daniels. The next day, he completed the hush money deal by transferring $130,000 to Davidson.

Defense attorney Blanche Trump said she didn’t care much about the Access Hollywood tape, so she wasn’t worried that Daniels would cost her the election.

“He never thought it would cause him to lose the campaign,” Blanche said, “and it really didn’t.” Instead, Blanche said Trump was worried about the video’s impact on her family.

Steinglass said there’s a simple reason the Daniels case was resolved within weeks of voters going to the polls on Nov. 8, 2016, rather than as close as the 2006 lawsuit.

“The defendant’s primary concern was the election, not his family,” Steinglass said.

The soundbiting city

Blanche sprinkled her summation with made-for-television soundbites through barbs intended mainly to remind the court that Cohen has lied a lot in his life.

Since the trial was not televised, the theater was seen for the benefit of the jury and one person at the defense table – Trump’s audience.

“That was a lie!” Blanche said, raising her voice and punctuating each syllable as she cast doubt on Cohen’s claim to update Trump on negotiations to buy Stormi Daniels’ silence in October 2016. “This is perjury!”

Blanche then swung twice to reward Cohen for lying.

“He’s literally like the Liars’ MVP,” Blanche says at one point. Then, before finishing, he tried again with the “GLOAT” formula.

Because of this, Steinglass made several calls to defense attorneys. He noted, for example, Cohen’s penchant for lying to Congress in the past. Steinglass reminded the court that the specific lies were told to protect Trump from investigations into his ties to Russia.

“Some people might call it chutzpah,” Steinglass said.



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