Trump Lawyer to Jury: You Can’t Convict or Imprison a Man Based on the Words of a Convicted Liar

News & Politics

The Trump NYC bookkeeping trial is almost in the books. In closing arguments, which began on Tuesday morning, Trump attorney Todd Blanche stirred controversy when he told jurors that they couldn’t convict or imprison his client based on the testimony of the prosecutors’ star witness Michael Cohen because “He’s literally like an MVP of liars.” 

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Blanche told jurors, “Then he came in here, he raised his right hand and he lied to each of you repeatedly. You cannot send someone to prison; you cannot convict somebody based upon the words of Michael Cohen.”

It wasn’t the line about MVPs that convinced the malleable judge to do the prosecution’s bidding; it was Blanche’s allusion to prison that got the defense attorney in trouble because jurors don’t sentence the guilty defendant. The judge will gladly do that when Trump is convicted of this farce. 

“You know that making a comment like that is highly inappropriate,” scandalized Judge Juan Merchan tsk-tsked to Blanche. “It is simply not allowed. Period. It’s hard for me to imagine that was accidental in any way,” he lectured. 

He admonished the jury to pretend they didn’t hear and will give jurors a special instruction to hate Trump even more when he gives jury instructions. I’m only half joking. 

Certainly, you’ll recall a similar outburst by the judge when prosecutors put on mattress actress Stormy Daniels to describe her alleged sexual tryst with Trump. Her detailed testimony was spun as one might imagine a porn movie scriptwriting session might go. 

There was no outburst by Merchan, of course, only a timid burp about how it might have been too much for the jurors to hear. More tellingly, Daniels had no juicy details to say when she was asked about how her nondisclosure payments were marked in the Trump Organization books, which are at the center of the case. She was there solely for scandalous color commentary to titillate the jury. 

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Indeed, when Blanche talked about Daniels in his closing, he told them she extorted Trump and then said, “At the end of the day, what really happened is that somebody offered more money to Ms. Daniels.” And then, “Somebody offered to pay her legal fees if she got out of the NDA she signed with Mr. Cohen,” he told jurors. 

Daniels reprised her alleged 2006 story before the 2016 election after the “Access Hollywood” recording by Billy Bush (yes, that Bush family). In 2018, Cohen offered to tear up his agreement with Daniels. 

As Tiffany, Eric, Don Jr., and Lara Trump looked on, Blanche told jurors that there were 10 specific areas where there was reasonable doubt to find his client not guilty. Number 10 was that Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer, was “the human embodiment of reasonable doubt.” 

  • Michael Cohen created the invoices. 
  • There’s no evidence Trump knew the invoices were sent. 
  • There was “absolutely” no evidence of any intent to defraud. 
  • There was no attempt to commit or conceal another crime. 
  • There was “absolutely” no agreement to influence the 2016 election. 
  • AMI would have run the doorman’s story no matter what if it was true. 
  • Karen McDougal did not want her story published. 
  • Stormy Daniels’ story was already public in 2011. 
  • There was manipulation of evidence. 
  • Michael Cohen. “He’s the human embodiment of reasonable doubt.”

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Plus, Blanche argued, Cohen repeatedly lied “under oath” to courts, his wife, and his banker. 

Prosecutor Josh Steinglass went into the evening with his closing argument going through the prosecutor’s entire case timeline to convince jurors that something is there to convict Trump on. 

At one point Steinglass pinpointed what he thought was a key moment in the trial when he claimed that David Pecker, the former National Enquirer publisher and the trial’s first witness, conspired with Trump in a meeting to kill stories to help him. Catching and killing stories is not illegal, by the way, unless they can tie it to another felony, which they claim is breaking campaign law. 

Indeed, Steinglass insisted, that meeting “may have been the very reason why Trump won in 2016.”

But most telling might be that when Steinglass started his closing argument, one of his first moves was to throw their own star witness, Cohen, under the proverbial subway train. 

“He had a legal title, but he wasn’t in the Trump Organization legal department,” he told jurors. “He didn’t answer to the general counsel, he answered to the defendant directly,” Steinglass said as if it were dispositive of something nefarious. “We didn’t choose Michael Cohen to be our witness. We didn’t pick him up at the witness store,” Steinglass told them. 

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“He got the jobs no one else wanted,” he told them. “The jobs that the defendant wanted to keep quiet,” which isn’t unusual for attorneys, who unless they’re Donald Trump’s lawyer, usually abide by attorney-client privilege.

The jury is expected to begin deliberations tomorrow.

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