Trump trial live updates: Trump attorney questions Michael Cohen’s credibility

Trump arrrives at hush money trial flanked by 14 surrogates in court

Donald Trump’s hush money trial is back underway in Judge Juan Merchan’s Manhattan courtroom, with the defendant’s former “fixer” Michael Cohen on the witness stand for further cross-examination by the defence.

During his previous appearance on Tuesday, Cohen was challenged about his evolving attitudes toward his ex-boss, a series of colourful insults dished out on podcasts and social media and the idea that he has profited from publicly attacking the former president through merchandise sales.

The witness remained calm and steadfast during his testimony, also walking the jury through the strategy allegedly employed by Mr Trump’s inner circle to delay making the $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels in October 2016 to buy her silence about the sexual encounter she claims he had with the politician in July 2006.

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden capitalised on Wednesday’s recess day for the trial to challenge his predecessor to a pair of presidential debates, declaring: “Make my day, pal.”

Mr Trump readily agreed, responding: “Let’s get ready to Rumble!!!”, and the debates are now scheduled for 27 June on CNN and 10 September on ABC.

Alex Woodward is covering the trial from Manhattan Criminal Court.

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Court back for last session of week

We’re into the hush money now.

Cohen says he recalls making a statement that “they were extorting Mr Trump”.

“In your mind, there were two choices: pay, or don’t pay and the story comes out … But you went a long time without paying.”

“We went several weeks without paying.”

“And ultimately, though, you did. You paid.”

Blanche notes that the NDA with Daniels is “perfectly legal”.

“A settlement, an NDA, between two parties, happens all the time, right?”

(That’s not what Trump is charged with, folks.)

Blanche goes on to say Cohen was working as a lawyer with the Trump Organization at the time before Prosecution attorney Susan Hoffinger cuts him off and asks to approach the bench.

Oliver O’Connell16 May 2024 20:39

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Update from the court: A juror has an appointment next Thursday at 1.30pm, but they’re will wait to see closer to the day if they can just replace that person with an alternate, instead of excusing everyone at 1pm — TBD.

Oliver O’Connell16 May 2024 20:37

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“Trump waves to camera returning from break at 3:23. Did not respond to questions. A sketch artist and NY Post reporter were shooed down the hallway and into a bathroom right before he came out.”

Oliver O’Connell16 May 2024 20:36

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Professional ‘line sitters’ charge hundreds for access to Trump trial

Oliver O’Connell16 May 2024 20:26

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Veepstakes: Tim Scott turns to Kellyanne Conway in bid to be Trump’s running mate

Former 2024 Republican candidate and South Carolina senator, Tim Scott, is lobbying hard among Donald Trump’s inner circle in the hopes of becoming his pick for vice president.

His private lobbying effort is coupled with a very public one – Scott has hit cable news and declared in recent days that he would do “whatever it takes” for the man who worked to overturn the 2020 election and is facing 88 felony counts.

Oliver O’Connell16 May 2024 20:22

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Blanche notes that a lot of “key conversations” involving McDougal and Daniels were by text.

“You weren’t using Signal to send the NDA, were you? You just emailed it?”

Judge Merchan calls afternoon recess.

Alex Woodward16 May 2024 20:15

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Here’s the transcript of the recorded conversation between Michael Cohen and Donald Trump:

Michael Cohen: Told you about Charleston. I need to open up a company for the transfer of all of that info regarding our friend, David, you know, so that — I’m going to do that right away. I’ve actually come up and I’ve spoken —

Donald J Trump: Give it to me and get me a —

Michael Cohen: And, I’ve spoken to Allen Weisselberg about how to set the whole thing up with —

Donald J Trump: So, what do we got to pay for this? One-fifty?

Michael Cohen: — funding. Yes. And it’s all the stuff.

Donald J Trump: Yes, I was thinking about that.

Michael Cohen: All the stuff. Because — here, you never know where that company, you never know what he’s —

Donald J Trump: Maybe he gets hit by a truck

Michael Cohen: Correct. So, I’m all over that. And, I spoke to Allen about it, when it comes time for the financing, which will be —

Donald J Trump: Listen, what financing?

Michael Cohen: We’ll have to pay him something.

Donald J Trump: (INAUDIBLE) pay with cash.

Michael Cohen: No, no, no, no, no, I got it.

Cohen’s recording was interrupted by a phone call with a bank that he answered. He says they continued to speak but he wasn’t recording after that.

Oliver O’Connell16 May 2024 20:13

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Blanche is arguing that when Trump said “cash” during his conversation with Cohen, when Cohen asked about “financing” for the deal with “our friend David,” Trump wasn’t talking about “benjamins or green.”

“That’s not what he’s talking about, is it?”

Alex Woodward16 May 2024 20:11

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Blanche is asking about a call on June 16 2016 at 6:51pm to Trump.

He’s peppering him for a “specific recollection.”

“I am asking if you recall that conversation at that time,” he says.

“Again,” Cohen says, “based off the documents I have looked at and reviewed, I did.”

Moving on to the secret recording with Trump about “our friend David” Pecker.

Since we returned from the lunch recess, Trump has been “alert.”

He’s actually looking at Cohen as he’s testifying — or at least his body and head are pointed in his direction.

Alex Woodward16 May 2024 20:07

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Kamala Harris agrees to VP debate with Trump’s running mate

The Biden-Harris campaign said on Thursday that it accepted an invitation from CBS News to take part in a VP debate either on 23 July or 13 August.

This comes after Mr Biden and Mr Trump agreed to take each other on in two presidential debates on 27 June and 10 September to be hosted by CNN and ABC News.

Oliver O’Connell16 May 2024 20:00

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