Defense Challenges Michael Cohen’s Credibility in Trump Hush Money Trial

Defense Challenges Michael Cohen's Credibility in Trump Hush Money Trial

Defense attorney Todd Blanche cross examines Michael Cohen in Manhattan criminal court, Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in New York. (Elizabeth Williams via AP)

In the ongoing hush money trial of former President Donald Trump, his defense team has been aggressively questioning the credibility of the prosecution’s key witness, Michael Cohen. Cohen, who was once a loyalist to Trump but has since become one of his biggest adversaries, testified about meetings and conversations he had with Trump regarding the alleged scheme to silence stories about Trump’s extramarital affairs.

Defense attorney Todd Blanche spent hours cross-examining Cohen, focusing on his past crimes and lies to create doubt in the jurors’ minds about his testimony. Blanche accused Cohen of lying about a phone call with Trump regarding a hush money payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, citing text messages that suggested Cohen was initially preoccupied with harassing calls from a prankster.

The heated exchange between Blanche and Cohen was the culmination of a two-day defense strategy to portray Cohen as an opportunist who turned on Trump after being denied a White House job. The success of this strategy could significantly impact the outcome of the trial, as Cohen’s testimony is crucial to the prosecution’s case.

To counter the defense’s attacks, prosecutors had Cohen acknowledge his past crimes at the outset, including a guilty plea for lying to Congress about a Trump real estate deal in Russia. However, the cross-examination highlighted the risks of relying on a witness with a history of dishonesty. Cohen also admitted to lying under oath during his 2018 federal guilty plea for tax fraud and other charges.

The defense also questioned Cohen’s motivations, suggesting that the hush money deal with Daniels was a shakedown rather than a plot to keep voters in the dark. Cohen acknowledged that he had previously told a prosecutor that he felt Daniels and her lawyer were extorting Trump.

Despite his controversial past, Cohen remains the prosecution’s most important witness, as he directly implicates Trump in the alleged scheme. His testimony also forms the basis of 34 felony counts against Trump for falsifying business records related to the reimbursements he received for the hush money payments.

Trump, who claims the prosecution is a politically motivated attempt to damage his 2024 presidential campaign, maintains that the payments to Cohen were legal expenses because he was a lawyer. The defense has argued that Trump was trying to protect his family, not his campaign, by suppressing the stories.

The trial has attracted a slew of conservative supporters, including Republican lawmakers who have been publicly criticizing the judicial system. The former president is expected to attend his youngest son’s high school graduation on Friday, causing the trial to adjourn for the day.

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4 thoughts on “Defense Challenges Michael Cohen’s Credibility in Trump Hush Money Trial

  1. Pingback: Trump's Hush Money Trial: A Watershed Moment for American Democracy - Esbecgroup

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  3. Pingback: Michael Cohen Admits to Stealing from Trump Organization while Recouping Stormy Daniels' Hush Money - Esbecgroup

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