Trump lawyer casts doubt on Cohen’s testimony about October 2016 call to Trump – live | Donald Trump trials

Trump lawyer casts doubt on Cohen’s testimony about October 2016 call to Trump

Trump’s attorney Todd Blanche is asking Michael Cohen about a call on 24 October 2016.

Cohen testified that he had called to speak to Donald Trump to “discuss the Stormy Daniels matter and the resolution of it”.

Asked what his recollection of that call was, Cohen said:

We talked about the matter, and it was resolved.

Blanche asks Cohen directly now whether he lied in his testimony on Tuesday that he called Trump’s bodyguard Keith Schiller and spoke to Trump on the call about the Daniels matter.

Blanche suggests, based on texts at the time, that Cohen primarily called Schiller to complain about being prank-called by a 14-year-old – and would not have had enough time in a 1 minute, 36-second call to also apprise Trump of the deal.

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Key events

Michael Cohen is back on the stand. Trump attorney Todd Blanche has resumed cross examination.

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Donald Trump is back in the courtroom after a lunch break.

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No cameras are allowed inside the Manhattan courtroom during the trial, but a sketch artist has captured this morning’s proceedings.

Michael Cohen is asked about taking an oath as he is cross-examined by defense lawyer Todd Blanche during Donald Trump’s criminal trial on charges that he falsified business records to conceal money paid to silence porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016, in Manhattan state court in New York City. Photograph: Jane Rosenberg/Reuters
Michael Cohen is cross-examined by defense lawyer Todd Blanche in this courtroom sketch. Photograph: Jane Rosenberg/Reuters
Justice Juan Merchan presides as Michael Cohen is asked about taking an oath as he is cross-examined by defense lawyer Todd Blanche in Manhattan state court in New York City. Photograph: Jane Rosenberg/Reuters
Donald Trump listens as Michael Cohen is asked about taking an oath as he is cross-examined by defense lawyer Todd Blanche during Trump’s criminal trial on charges that he falsified business records to conceal money paid to silence porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016. Photograph: Jane Rosenberg/Reuters
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Donald Trump’s lawyer resumed attacking the credibility of Michael Cohen on Thursday, forcing him to concede that he had previously lied to protect Trump because it affected the stakes for him personally, and that he lied to the federal judge when he was prosecuted for tax evasion and false statements.

Trump’s lawyer Todd Blanche played clips from Cohen’s podcast Mea Culpa, including where Cohen said “thinking about Trump in Otisville prison makes me giddy with joy”. He also got Cohen to concede that he believed he played a large role in the indictment being brought against Trump – and bragged about it.

The defense later got into Cohen’s previous lies under oath and how he seemingly lied about details big and small. When Cohen testified to Congress in 2017 about a Trump real estate deal in Moscow, Blanche elicited, Cohen lied about how many times he spoke to Trump about the deal.

And although Cohen told William Pauley, a US district court judge, in 2018 that he had not been induced to plead guilty to federal tax evasion and false statements charges, Blanche elicited, Cohen later said he felt he was cornered into pleading guilty so that his wife wouldn’t also be charged.

“The reason you lied to a federal judge was because stakes affected you personally?” Blanche asked. “Yes,” Cohen replied, affirming that he told lies not just to protect Trump, as Cohen has claimed, but for his personal benefit, when it suited him.

In an apparent effort to undercut Cohen’s testimony on direct examination that Trump was responsible and involved in the effort to cover up the hush-money to Daniels, Blanche elicited from Cohen that he had a track record of trying to shift blame for his own actions on other people.

“You’ve blamed … Your bank? Your accountant? You blamed federal prosecutors? The judge? President Trump?” Blanche asked. “Yes sir,” replied Cohen to each of the questions.

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Fox News’s Michelle Arezou Ross reports that the New York artist Scott LoBaido pulled up outside the Manhattan courthouse and released dozens of pink balloons in the shape of male genitalia with the faces of Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney who has brought this hush-money case against Donald Trump, the judge Juan Merchan, and Jack Smith, the special counsel prosecuting Trump in the election interference case.

LoBaido was arrested earlier this year for throwing pizza over the gates of New York city hall in protest of a proposed ban on coal.

Someone just pulled up to the Donald Trump hush money trial outside Manhattan Criminal Court in a UHaul and released dozens of pink balloons in the shape of male genitalia with the faces of DA Alvin Bragg, Judge Juan Merchan, and Special Counsel Jack Smith on them. pic.twitter.com/cnXrxEYLXU

— Michelle Arezou Ross (@MRossNews) May 16, 2024

It was Scott LoBaido, the same man who threw pizza at City Hall for the coal-oven fire crackdown.

Told me he did it in support of Trump saying, “I’m an artist, so what do I do? Return the humiliation favor by humiliating these d*cks.” pic.twitter.com/5p4KBPt5wW

— Michelle Arezou Ross (@MRossNews) May 16, 2024

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The court has been dismissed for a lunch break and will resume at 2.15pm ET.

After the break, Michael Cohen will return to the stand to be cross-examined by the defense.

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Trump lawyer casts doubt on Cohen’s testimony about October 2016 call to Trump

Trump’s attorney Todd Blanche is asking Michael Cohen about a call on 24 October 2016.

Cohen testified that he had called to speak to Donald Trump to “discuss the Stormy Daniels matter and the resolution of it”.

Asked what his recollection of that call was, Cohen said:

We talked about the matter, and it was resolved.

Blanche asks Cohen directly now whether he lied in his testimony on Tuesday that he called Trump’s bodyguard Keith Schiller and spoke to Trump on the call about the Daniels matter.

Blanche suggests, based on texts at the time, that Cohen primarily called Schiller to complain about being prank-called by a 14-year-old – and would not have had enough time in a 1 minute, 36-second call to also apprise Trump of the deal.

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Maya Yang

It has been over three hours of cross-examination and Michael Cohen has largely maintained his composure on the stand.

Trump’s former fixer has at times looked sunken and confused but for the most part has remained calm and even-toned, answering many of Blanche’s questions with “Yes, sir” and “No, sir”.

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Trump’s lawyer Todd Blanche brings up the fact that Michael Cohen used a Google AI tool last November to assist his lawyer in applying for early termination for his supervised release.

The AI tool produced three fake cases, which Cohen admits he passed on to his lawyer, who then used them in the letter for early termination. Blanche asks:

The three cases you gave to your attorney weren’t real cases, correct?

“That’s correct,” Cohen replies. Blanche asks:

And you knew that your lawyer would use in support of your application?

“Yes,” Cohen says. Blanche appears to have included this example to portray Cohen as a rogue operator who also created more problems than he solved.

The parallel for the jury could be that in the hush-money scheme, Cohen concocted a repayment plan for the hush money of his own accord, trying to be too clever by half and causing problems for everyone else.

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Maya Yang

Trump attorney Todd Blanche also asks Michael Cohen whether he expressed his disappointment to Darrell Scott, a pastor and former member of Trump’s Diversity Coalition, over Trump not bringing him into the administration.

“Not into the administration, I knew the role I wanted,” said Cohen. He adds:

I may have expressed frustration.

Blanche also asks Cohen why he wanted Scott to advocate to Trump on his behalf, despite Cohen’s testimony that he spoke to Trump almost daily during the campaign trail.

In response, Cohen says:

It’s always good to have somebody else advocate.

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Maya Yang

As Trump’s attorney Todd Blanche asks Michael Cohen about his time in the White House, Donald Trump appears to stare at Cohen intently.

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Maya Yang

Trump’s attorney Todd Blanche questions Michael Cohen about his text messages with his daughter in which they discussed a potential White House chief of staff role for Cohen.

“And you said, ‘He’s pushing like a madman,’” Blanche quotes Cohen’s text in which Cohen referred to Reince Priebus’s attempts at securing the position – which he ultimately did.

Blanche goes on to ask Cohen whether he told his daughter that he was disappointed that Priebus was ultimately chosen for the role. “That I wasn’t considered, yes sir,” says Cohen.

Blanche asks Cohen whether he was disappointed or “embarrassed” with being left only with the role of personal attorney to the US president after “all the work” he had done for Trump.

“That’s not accurate,” Cohen says.

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Cohen says he wanted to work at the White House ‘for ego purpose’

Maya Yang

Trump’s attorney Todd Blanche asked Michael Cohen about wanting to work at the White House as well as his desire to be considered for chief of staff.

Cohen said:

I would have liked to have been considered for ego purpose.

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Judge Juan Merchan has announced that there will be no court next Wednesday as usual, after earlier floating the idea of holding it then to make up for several upcoming off days.

Some jurors had indicated they can’t work that day, “so that’s off the table”, Merchan said, AP reported.

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