Trump trial: judge encourages Michael Cohen to keep quiet | Donald Trump facing justice

The judge heading Donald Trump’s criminal trial asked prosecutors on Friday to send a message to Michael Cohen, the ex-president’s former lawyer and an expected witness in the proceedings: he should refrain from commenting on the case.

At the end of the day’s testimony, Judge Juan Merchan quickly ruled on a request from the defense, which complained about comments posted by Mr. Cohen on social media.

I will order prosecutors to tell Mr. Cohen that the judge is asking him to refrain from making any further statements about this case or about Mr. Trump.

A quote from Juan Merchan, judge in Donald Trump’s criminal trial

This request comes from the Court and you will communicate it on behalf of the Courtinsisted the magistrate.

The fact that President Trump is not allowed to respond to this witness, but the witness is allowed to continue speaking, is becoming an issue every day.argued Donald Trump’s main lawyer, Todd Blanche.

He claimed that Michael Cohen, like President Trumpis prohibited from commenting on the case until the end of the trial.

He cited as an example a recent TikTok post in which Michael Cohen sported a white t-shirt showing Donald Trump behind bars in an orange prison uniform.

During arguments over the issue, prosecutors said they requested Many times for witnesses to avoid speaking publicly about the trial.

The fact is that these witnesses are not subject to the gag order and we have no recourse if they engage in these activitiesargued prosecutor Joshua Steinglass.

At the end of the hearing, Donald Trump lamented about the situation in front of the cameras.

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After the hearing on May 10, 2024, Donald Trump addressed journalists holding up printouts of texts published in media favorable to him.

Photo: Getty Images / Jeenah Moon-

Everyone can say whatever they want, but I’m not allowed to say anything about anyonehe was indignant.

The 77-year-old politician is subject to a gag order which prohibits him in particular from criticizing witnesses or jurors.

The judge concluded, in two separate hearings, that he had contravened the order on ten occasions.

Another witness called to the stand earlier this week, Stormy Daniels, did not hesitate to continue to make fun of the famous accused.

Thursday, shortly after her second and final day of appearance, the former pornographic actress, who claims to have slept with the former president, turned to the social network X to taunt him.

Real men respond to testimony by taking an oath and appearing in court. Oh…wait. Drop she wrote.

Ms. Daniels received $130,000 from Michael Cohen to keep quiet about the sexual relationship she claims she had with the politician years before she entered politics.

The ex-president is accused of having falsified documents related to the reimbursement he allegedly paid to Michael Cohen after the latter had paid Stormy Daniels in order to promote his electoral victory in 2016.

Testimony expected from Michael Cohen

On the fifteenth day of a surprisingly fast-paced trial, Joshua Steinglass said he was entirely possible that prosecutors finish their interrogations next week.

This part of the trial, which will be followed by the appearance of witnesses called by the defense, could however extend until the following week, depending on the time that Donald Trump’s lawyers spend conducting cross-examinations.

Joshua Steinglass informed the judge and the defense that they only had two witnesses left to call to the stand.

In all likelihood, one of the two remaining witnesses will be Michael Cohen, who is expected to be the star witness for prosecutors.

According to CNN, he will be summoned on Monday.

He is the only one likely to make the bridge between the accusations of falsification of documents brought against Donald Trump and the “criminal plan to corrupt the 2016 election” that the latter, according to prosecutors, fomented.

However, this is a witness with shaken credibility: the former lawyer, who turned against his former boss after defending him tooth and nail, served a prison sentence for charges related to this affair .

In its opening statement, the defense telegraphed its offense, portraying Michael Cohen as a criminal […] obsessed with President Trump and a liar driven by a desire for revenge after failing to secure a position in the Trump administration.

His testimony will be the second, after that of Stormy Daniels, to cause sparks.

A hearing without flames ends an eventful week

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Madeleine Westerhout, a former aide to Donald Trump, testified for a second day at the former president’s criminal trial in New York.

Photo: Reuters / Jane Rosenberg

After the spectacular appearance of Stormy Daniels in recent days, the last hearing of this fourth week of the trial took place on much more sober ground.

Phone records, tweets and checks: the content of the statements of the witnesses who took the stand one after the other offered a marked contrast with the testimony of Stormy Daniels, largely focused on an alleged sexual relationship.

Donald Trump’s lawyers notably continued their cross-examination of Madeleine Westerhout, who was former President Trump’s personal secretary and then director of Oval Office operations.

If his answers provided the day before to prosecutors painted the portrait of a man paying particular attention to money outflows, those given to the defense described Donald Trump – whom she still seems to like very much – in a different light.

Ms. Westerhout said her former boss often signed checks without examining them while talking on the phone or attending meetings.

Eleven checks written to his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen, nine of which he signed himself, are among 34 documents that prosecutors say were falsely identified as fees and for which they charged him.

Ms. Westerhout also indicated that her former boss had been very upset by media reports in 2018 reporting this alleged relationship.

My understanding is he knew it would hurt his familydeclared his former collaborator, recognizing however that it was not something he had told her.

Donald Trump denies both the allegations of a sexual affair and the accusations against him.

Prosecutors allege that Donald Trump sought to suppress information unfavorable to him in order to further his electoral victory; instead, the defense claims he was seeking to protect his reputation and his family.

The defense also questioned Ms. Westerhout about a fact raised the day before by another witness.

Thursday, an accounting employee of the Trump Organization told prosecutors that early in Donald Trump’s presidency, she sent him checks for him to sign through two of her aides, including his bodyguard Keith Schiller. The documents were delivered to their home by the shipping company FedEx.

This system was faster than official channels, said Ms. Westerhout.

Numbers and letters

Prosecutors called four other witnesses, including two analysts from the telephone companies Verizon and AT&T, whose testimony was used to authenticate phone records introduced into evidence.

In particular, the telephone records of Michael Cohen and Allen Weisselberg, the former financial director of the Trump Organization.

These documents will likely be raised later to lend credibility to Michael Cohen’s planned testimony.

During his appearance on Monday, the man who was number two in the accounting department explained that in January 2017 (the month of Donald Trump’s inauguration), Mr. Weisselberg, his superior at the time, had told him ordered to “repay Michael”.

Another witness allowed old tweets from Donald Trump targeting Michael Cohen to be entered into evidence.

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With information from the New York Times, Washington Post, The Guardian, CNN and NBC News

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