Trump trial: last chance for the defense to make Michael Cohen flinch

Trump trial: last chance for the defense to make Michael Cohen flinch
Trump trial: last chance for the defense to make Michael Cohen flinch

Donald Trump’s former confidant turned number one accuser, Michael Cohen, returns to testify Thursday at the trial of the former President of the United States, a last chance for the defense to discredit him in front of the jurors.

• Read also: ‘No one should believe a word he says’: Michael Cohen seeking ‘revenge’ in the eyes of Trump’s allies

• Read also: ‘I broke my moral code and I suffered the consequences’: Michael Cohen continues his testimony at Donald Trump’s trial

• Read also: Are they really talking about the same thing? Here is Trump’s trial under the eye of the various American media

The man who described himself as a trickster, capable of “lying” or “intimidating” on behalf of his former boss, is the last piece of the puzzle deployed by Manhattan prosecutors to convince the jury that Donald Trump approved the hidden payment of $130,000 to porn actress Stormy Daniels at the very end of the 2016 presidential campaign.

Once its hearing is over, the prosecution will have finished with its witnesses and it will be up to the defense to call its own.

The trial, which since April 15 has forced the Republican candidate for the 2024 presidential election to sit and listen to the proceedings in silence, in a courtroom with dated decor on the 15th floor of the Manhattan court, could accelerate.

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AFP

Donald Trump’s team of lawyers has still not indicated whether it intends to call his client to the stand and has only confirmed one witness for the moment. Then, the jurors will hear the final arguments and will deliberate, with the difficult task of finding guilty or not guilty a former president of the United States, in the middle of a campaign to return to the White House.

“The story would not come out”

During nearly eight hours of hearing Monday and Tuesday, the former personal lawyer of the Republican billionaire incriminated Donald Trump at length.

He claimed to have acted under her direction when he paid the actress, via a shell company, to buy her silence about a sexual relationship she claims to have had in 2006 with the businessman, then already married to Melania Trump.

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Getty Images via AFP

To ensure, he said, “that the story would not come out, and would not affect Donald Trump’s chances of becoming president of the United States.”

In a calm tone, unlike the tempestuous and excessive man described by certain witnesses, Mr. Cohen also reiterated that Donald Trump had validated his reimbursement in 2017, when he was in the White House.

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Getty Images via AFP

Expenses disguised as “legal fees” in the accounts of the Trump Organization, hence the prosecution for accounting falsifications which could earn the defendant the first criminal conviction of a former president of the United States.

Even sentenced to prison, Donald Trump could continue to campaign and face the voters on November 5.

Jurors will likely decide before the first televised debate on June 27 between Joe Biden and Donald Trump.

Thirst for revenge

On Tuesday, Donald Trump’s lawyers launched hostilities against Michael Cohen, whom they portray as a manipulator and pathological liar, condemned by the courts and obsessed by his thirst for revenge against his former boss.

They will continue on Thursday and could insist in particular on the first version that he delivered, when he assured that he had paid Stormy Daniels on his own initiative, without informing his boss. Michael Cohen turned his coat around after being caught by the courts, who sentenced him, in particular for this secret payment, to three years in prison, including 13 months actually behind bars.

“My family, my wife, my daughter, my son all said to me: ‘Why are you holding on to this loyalty’” vis-à-vis Donald Trump, said Michael Cohen.

Her testimony followed that of Stormy Daniels, who forcefully delivered her version of her relationship with Donald Trump and the reasons which pushed her to negotiate her silence.

A myriad of other protagonists were also called to the stand, such as the former boss of a tabloid, who had “bought” other scandals to prevent them from splashing the Republican candidate.

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