Judge Will Consider Motion After Cohen Testimony

The courtroom battle surrounding former President Donald Trump’s case reached a critical juncture as Judge Juan Merchan deliberated on a motion from Trump’s defense team to dismiss the charges.

Trump faces 34 counts of falsifying business records, with the prosecution alleging these actions were intended to conceal a $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 election. This payment, prosecutors argue, was meant to silence Daniels about an alleged affair, thus protecting Trump’s campaign.

After days of intense testimony from key witness Michael Cohen, the prosecution rested its case. Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer and self-proclaimed “fixer,” delivered extensive testimony, but the defense sought to discredit him by highlighting his past perjury and inconsistencies.

Trump’s attorney, Todd Blanche, argued fervently that there was no evidence of false business filings and no intent by Trump to deceive or falsify records. Blanche emphasized that Cohen acted as Trump’s personal attorney in 2017 and insisted that the records, which described payments as “monthly retainers,” were accurate and lawful.

Blanche dismissed the notion that the alleged “catch and kill” tactics used to suppress a false story about Trump could constitute a crime, asserting that such actions were merely efforts to keep misinformation from the public. He urged Judge Merchan to dismiss Cohen’s testimony entirely, given his history of dishonesty.

Judge Merchan, however, pointed out that if Cohen’s lies were truly irrefutable, the defense should be able to convince the jury of this without needing the court to intervene. Prosecutor Matthew Colangelo countered that under New York law, causing false business records to be made, even indirectly, is sufficient for conviction. Colangelo argued that Trump’s involvement in initiating the sequence of events leading to these falsifications met this criterion.

The defense’s case included testimony from Daniel Sitko, a paralegal, and Robert Costello, Cohen’s former legal adviser. Both sought to undermine Cohen’s credibility, with Costello testifying that Cohen repeatedly claimed Trump knew nothing about the payments to Daniels. However, tensions flared in the courtroom as Costello’s reactions to sustained objections from the prosecution led to a stern reprimand from Judge Merchan, highlighting the importance of maintaining courtroom decorum.

As the trial progresses towards closing arguments, the defense has indicated that Trump will not testify. As of the writing of this article, Judge Merchan’s decision on the motion to dismiss has not yet been revealed.