Home stretch for Trump’s trial in New York

Home stretch for Trump’s trial in New York
Home stretch for Trump’s trial in New York
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He will then entrust them with the heavy task of deciding whether Donald Trump was guilty, beyond all reasonable doubt, of 34 accounting falsifications to avoid a possible sexual scandal at the very end of the 2016 presidential campaign. to find guilty, unanimity is required.

Room evacuated

On Monday, the defense launched the latest attacks against Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer and confidant, Michael Cohen. His testimony, the last of 19 cited by the prosecution, took four days.

Then the defense called its witnesses. One of them is a lawyer and veteran of the courts, Robert Costello, whose emails revealed at the hearing show that he had approached Michael Cohen when the latter was caught by the courts in 2018, by promising him the support of Donald Trump.

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His familiar style – he has theatrical gestures and expresses his exasperation when the judge intervenes – earns him an immediate reprimand from the magistrate, who reminds him of the solemnity of the place. The judge even evacuates the room for a few minutes to show his authority. “A tyrant,” criticized Donald Trump.

Michael Cohen is the prosecution’s key witness. He directly incriminated the former US president, claiming that his former boss had approved the payment of $130,000 to Stormy Daniels to buy her silence about a sexual relationship she claims to have had in 2006 with Donald Trump, then already married to his wife Melania. Donald Trump denies this relationship.

But Robert Costello says the opposite. “Michael Cohen said several times that President Trump knew nothing about these payments, that he did it alone, he repeated it numerous times,” assures the lawyer, about a meeting that he had with him on April 17, 2018.

“Did you steal?”

Michael Cohen actually held this version at the start of the affair, after the Wall Street Journal revealed, in January 2018, the payments to Stormy Daniels. He ended up turning his back in court. After pleading guilty to several crimes, Michael Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison and spent 13 months behind bars.

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The former lawyer himself took charge of the payment to Stormy Daniels, a few days before the presidential election finally won by the Republican in 2016, and ensured that Donald Trump had validated his reimbursement in 2017. Disguised expenses according to the accusation in “legal fees” in the accounts of his Trump Organization group of companies, hence the prosecution for accounting falsifications.

But the defense did everything possible to discredit Michael Cohen, described by other witnesses as an unscrupulous character. Michael Cohen had to admit that beyond the reimbursements received, he had received other sums from the Trump Organization intended for a client but of which he had kept $30,000. “You stole from the Trump Organization?” concluded Donald Trump’s lawyer, Todd Blanche. “Yes,” replied Michael Cohen.

“Life turned upside down”

Having become a sworn enemy of Donald Trump, Michael Cohen has made him the subject of two books and a long series of podcasts, which have earned him $4.4 million since 2020, he also admitted on Monday. But, he added, his voice moved, “my whole life was turned upside down” by this affair. “I lost my law license, my financial security, my family’s happiness.”

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One question remains unanswered: will the former President of the United States testify? Experts believe it is likely that the Republican candidate for the November presidential election will withdraw, fearing merciless cross-examination from the prosecution. The tempestuous billionaire did not give any indication on the subject on Monday, preferring to denounce a political trial which forced him to sit “in this frozen and dark room for four weeks”.

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