Michael Cohen set to testify at ‘hush money’ trial

by | May 13, 2024

Michael Cohen, President Trump's estranged former lawyer, is expected to begin testifying at his trial in Manhattan on Monday.

Trump's defense team has asserted to the jurors and alternates that Cohen is an untrustworthy individual and should not be regarded as credible. They argue that Cohen acted independently in paying Daniels and aim to distance Trump from the reimbursement checks and invoices central to the case.

Cohen's admission to lying under oath on multiple occasions provides ample ammunition for the defense to cast doubt on his reliability. He confessed to misleading Congress in 2017 regarding a Trump Organization real estate project in Moscow, and pleaded guilty to tax law violations in 2018, though now claims innocence in that regard.

On Friday, Justice Juan Merchan instructed prosecutors to advise Cohen to refrain from making public statements about the case, following comments made by defense lawyer Todd Blanche. Blanche mentioned that Cohen had posted on social media while wearing a T-shirt depicting Trump behind bars.

Prosecutors from Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg's office allege that Trump inaccurately categorized his reimbursement payments to Cohen in 2017 as legal expenses in the books of his New York-based real estate company.

Prosecutors assert that the modified business records concealed violations of election and tax laws, which escalate the 34 charges against Trump from misdemeanors to felonies, carrying a potential prison sentence of up to four years.

Trump maintains his innocence, pleading not guilty to all 34 counts and denying any sexual encounter with Daniels. He contends that the case is obviously politically driven, aimed at disrupting his campaign. Notably, the prosecutor, Bragg, is a Democrat.

Prosecutors intended to present two witnesses on Monday and anticipate concluding their case by the end of the week. While this case is considered less significant than three other criminal prosecutions Trump is involved in, it is the only one guaranteed to proceed to trial before the election.

 

Source: Reuters

 

 

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