Manhattan DA pushes back on Trump’s request to block Michael Cohen from testifying at hush money trial

Manhattan DA pushes back on Trump’s request to block Michael Cohen from testifying at hush money trial - Crime and Courts - News

Manhattan Prosecutors Argue Against Donald Trump’s Attempt to Disqualify Michael Cohen as a Witness in Criminal Trial

Manhattan prosecutors have expressed their opposition to several motions filed by Donald Trump to prevent jurors from viewing certain pieces of evidence in the upcoming criminal trial relating to hush money payments. The district attorney’s office finds Trump’s arguments “unprecedented” and unwarranted.

Opposition to Trump’s Motions to Exclude Testimony from Michael Cohen and the “Access Hollywood” Tape

District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office filed a document on Tuesday, stating their opposition to Trump’s motions to exclude testimony from Michael Cohen, his former attorney, and the “Access Hollywood” tape. The prosecutors believe these pieces of evidence are crucial in presenting a complete case to the jury.

The Role of Michael Cohen as a Central Witness

Cohen is a pivotal witness in the case against Trump. He facilitated a $130,000 hush money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels just before the 2016 election to prevent her from disclosing an alleged affair with Trump that dated back over a decade. Trump reimbursed Cohen and falsified business records, according to the prosecutors, in an attempt to disguise it as a legal payment.

Trump’s legal team is trying to exclude Cohen’s testimony and evidence related to other alleged “catch and kill” schemes, arguing that he has committed perjury on previous occasions. However, prosecutors believe Cohen will provide truthful testimony at the trial, which will be corroborated by other evidence and witnesses.

Relevance of “Catch and Kill” Schemes and the “Access Hollywood” Tape

Prosecutors plan to introduce evidence of two situations in which American Media Inc. (AMI), the publisher of the National Enquirer, and its then-Chairman and CEO David Pecker collaborated with Trump to suppress negative press in support of his presidential campaign. The jury should be allowed to consider this evidence as it showcases the “unified nature” of these schemes, according to prosecutors.

Although AMI did not make the payment to Daniels (Cohen did), the manner in which the transactions were handled demonstrates the connection between these schemes. Prosecutors argue that Cohen and AMI’s admissions of guilt do not diminish their credibility but rather make them more reliable witnesses, as their guilty pleas explain why they have firsthand knowledge.

The Significance of the “Access Hollywood” Tape

Prosecutors also argue for the admission of the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape into evidence at trial. They cite the E. Jean Carroll federal defamation case against Trump as precedent, where Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled that the tape “is uniquely probative” of Trump’s state of mind. The prosecutors also assert that the release of the “Access Hollywood” tape during the 2016 election contributed to the panic within Trump’s campaign, ultimately leading to the Stormy Daniels payoff.