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Trump defense lawyers set to attack Michael Cohen’s credibility as hush money trial resumes – The Mercury News

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By MOLLY CRANE-NEWMAN and JOSEPHINE STRATMAN, New York Daily News

Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s longtime fixer-turned-foe, is slated to face a full day of cross-examination Thursday as the former president’s legal team seeks to poke holes in his story and the historic hush money trial centered on an alleged payment to porn star Stormy Daniels nears its conclusion. 

Defense lawyer Todd Blanche got off to a bumbling start on Thursday, accidentally posting the wrong exhibits and calling Cohen the “defendant.” Justice Juan Merchan sustained several objections in the first few minutes of testimony.

Trump arrived around 9:20 a.m. with another entourage of Republican supporters. He strolled into Merchan’s courtroom with Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert, his son, Eric Trump, and an army of lawyers. 

“In fact, a lead person from the DOJ is running this trial,” Trump said before entering the courtroom for the day — possibly treading into dangerous territory with a reference to prosecutor Matthew Colangelo, formerly a senior official at the U.S. Department of Justice. “So Biden’s office is running this trial.”

Former President Donald Trump's Hush Money Trial Continues In New York
Former U.S. President Donald Trump appears in court during his trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments at Manhattan Criminal Court on May 16, 2024 in New York City. Former U.S. President Donald Trump faces 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in the first of his criminal cases to go to trial. (Photo by Victor J. Blue-Pool/Getty Images) 

During more than nine hours in the witness box on Monday and Tuesday, Cohen, 57, told jurors he hadn’t spoken to Trump since his residences were raided by the feds in 2018, leading to his conviction for violating campaign laws when he paid off porn star Stormy Daniels and cementing their bitter feud. 

From the day of his 2007 hiring at the Trump Organization until the feds closed in, Cohen said he answered to one person: Trump. He told the court he lied, bullied, or threatened anyone who got in the way of the task at hand to make his micromanager boss happy and acted as a campaign “surrogate” when Trump announced his first presidential run. 

The presumed GOP nominee in this year’s election, 77, has pleaded not guilty to 34 felonies that allege he covered up hush money reimbursement to Cohen — masking it as payment for legal fees — to disguise an underlying scheme to hide information from the voting public.

He faces three other criminal cases in Florida, Washington D.C., and Georgia, but the Manhattan case is the only one expected to be resolved before the election. 

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Cohen said he felt abandoned once Trump won the White House, expecting to get a top role in his administration but instead receiving an empty one as personal attorney to the president.

The former Trump lawyer said he worked all of 10 hours in that position in 2017 and that monthly checks he received for $35,000 were instead reimbursement for paying Daniels into silence 11 days before the 2016 election about her alleged claims of an extramarital tryst with Trump. 

Former President Donald Trump's Hush Money Trial Continues In New York
Former U.S. President Donald Trump returns from a break during his trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments at Manhattan Criminal Court on May 16, 2024 in New York City. Trump was charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records last year, which prosecutors say was an effort to hide a potential sex scandal, both before and after the 2016 presidential election. Trump is the first former U.S. president to face trial on criminal charges. (Photo by Steven Hirsch-Pool/Getty Images) 

Cohen said the payment came more than a year after he, Trump, and former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker devised a scheme to identify and bury any negative information that could come to light about Trump, buttressing Pecker’s testimony earlier in the trial. 

The former fixer alleged the reimbursement plan was orchestrated by Trump’s convicted former finance chief Allen Weisselberg, now serving jail time for perjury, and got the green light from Trump at a January 2017 Trump Tower meeting. He said Trump confirmed he was getting paid back weeks later during a conversation inside the Oval Office. 



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