Trump Attorney Makes His Case in Closing Argument

Todd Blanche assails the credibility of Michael Cohen
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 28, 2024 12:25 PM CDT
Trump Attorney Makes His Case in Closing Argument
Donald Trump speaks to his attorney Todd Blanche before the start of proceedings in Manhattan Criminal Court Tuesday, May 28, 2024, in New York.   (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson, Pool)

Closing arguments began Tuesday in Donald Trump's hush-money trial, and Trump attorney Todd Blanche took direct aim at the prosecution's star witness—Michael Cohen. "He's literally like an MVP of liars," Blanche said of him. "He lies constantly." Referring to the infamous $130,000 payment Cohen made to Stormy Daniels to cover up her story of an alleged tryst with Trump, Blanche declared:

  • "There's no way that you can find that President Trump knew about the payment at the time it was made without believing the words of Michael Cohen—period," he said, per the Hill. "And you cannot believe his words, you cannot." Further driving home the point, he told the jury they "cannot convict President Trump on any crime beyond a reasonable doubt on the words of Michael Cohen," per the New York Times.
  • Blanche depicted Trump as a victim, not a criminal, notes the Washington Post. "Mr. Cohen had an ax to grind because he didn't appreciate what President Trump did and did not do for him after Mr. Trump became president of the United States," said Blanche.
  • Blanche told jurors there was "not a shred of evidence" Trump conspired to falsify business records. As he wrapped up, he gave the jury a list of 10 reasons they should have reasonable doubt, and CNN lists them.

  • Blanche disputed the notion that Trump illegally concealed his reimbursement to Cohen for the Daniels payment, which the former president characterized as a legal retainer on IRS documents, per the Post. (Prosecutors say it was actually a campaign expense.) "If there was some deep-rooted intent to defraud, why do you think it was reported to the IRS as exactly what it was, to Michael Cohen as President Trump's personal attorney?" Blanche asked. "The payments were compensation to him."
  • What's next: The prosecution will present its closing argument, which could bleed into Wednesday.
(More Trump hush-money trial stories.)

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