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Stormy Weather TFG on Criminal Trial in NYC

News and commentary on trials, the law, and expert opinions about legal systems
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Re: Stormy Weather TFG on Criminal Trial in NYC

#181

Post by ti-amie »

I am certainly not a lawyer and there may be more "meat" to the defense Thursday and Friday but so far they haven't given one piece of evidence to counter the prosecution's case. I do think that TFG is directing the defense and that he wants the court to hear the praise Cohen gave him before things fell apart, as if this will make him the aggrieved party in this situation, a brilliant person being brought down by a man jealous of his fame and angry about being stiffed when it came to his bonus.
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Re: Stormy Weather TFG on Criminal Trial in NYC

#182

Post by Owendonovan »

I find it amusing how TFG's defense team is basically calling Cohen out for just about every behavior their client exhibits almost daily.
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Re: Stormy Weather TFG on Criminal Trial in NYC

#183

Post by ashkor87 »

Trouble is- after all this, it will be appealed on a technicality (jurisdiction) and nothing will happen to Trump ...his supporters are not going to care unless he is actually jailed, and that won't happen any time soon ..'a tale told by an idiot. Full of sound and fury signifying nothing'..
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Re: Stormy Weather TFG on Criminal Trial in NYC

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Post by ti-amie »

Some scenes from outside of 100 Centre Street this morning:

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Re: Stormy Weather TFG on Criminal Trial in NYC

#185

Post by ti-amie »

Adam Klasfeld
@KlasfeldReports
Good morning from New York.

The first day of Michael Cohen's cross-ex began with a reminder that he called Trump's lead attorney Todd Blanche a "crying little s***."

Outside the jury's ear, the judge then scolded Blanche for "making this about yourself."

Day Two ahead 🧵

The Day One transcript reveals the sidebar discussion from after that explosive start.

Blanche pushed back: "I'm not making it about myself, your honor. I have a right to show this witness's bias, and he has expressed bias about the lawyers just because of who we represent."

Later, the judge responded: "It doesn't matter if he has bias towards you; it doesn't matter. The issue is whether he has bias towards the defendant."

Some takeaways from Day One of cross:

If jurors didn't know Michael Cohen's public persona before Tuesday, they do now.

* Cohen agreed that 200+ episodes of his podcast mention Trump.
* They heard the profane taunts.
* They saw him in merch of Trump in an orange jumpsuit.

Some apparently new info also came out:

The first time Manhattan prosecutors visited him in Otisville prison, Cohen asked how meeting with them could benefit him.

This was after he told a federal judge and Congress he turned over a new, civic-minded leaf.

Cohen acknowledged: "I did ask that," referring to the advantages of his cooperation.

In another string of questions, Trump's lawyer also asked Cohen about prosecutors repeatedly urging him not to make statements about the case — warning that he could "unwittingly" benefit Trump.

And Cohen continuing to taunt Trump in public anyway.

So far, the cross has not gone to the evidence at the heart of the case, extensively corroborating Cohen's account and shown to the jury during his direct examination.

We'll see whether Blanche turns to that evidence in Day Two.

Now:

Trump enters the courtroom.

In court today: Matt Gaetz, Lauren Boebert and others.

Gaetz is seated between Eric Trump and Boebert in the front left row of the gallery — directly behind the defendant.

After Justice Merchan enters the courtroom, the attorneys have a lengthy sidebar conference at his bench.

This is one long sidebar. We'll see if the transcript will be interesting.

"All rise."

The jury enters, with Michael Cohen back on the stand.

Justice Merchan informs the jury that they may have to work next Wednesday, with the Memorial Day weekend coming up as trial winds toward a close.

Trump's lead attorney Todd Blanche resumes his cross with questions about Cohen's communications with Detective Jeremy Rosenberg from the DA's office.
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Re: Stormy Weather TFG on Criminal Trial in NYC

#186

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Adam Klasfeld
@KlasfeldReports
·
6h
Trump's lead attorney Todd Blanche resumes his cross with questions about Cohen's communications with Detective Jeremy Rosenberg from the DA's office.

Blanche wants to refresh Cohen's memory with communications that aren't in evidence — and slips.

He asks the court to put the materials available on the screen for the "defendant," before correcting himself and saying "the witness," i.e. Cohen.


Blanche wants to admit Cohen's texts with Rosenberg into evidence, and then Hoffinger springs up to ask Cohen whether the communications are largely redacted and therefore out of context.

They are, Cohen says.

Prosecutor: "We object."
Judge: "Please approach." (Sidebar)

After the sidebar, Justice Merchan sustains the objection.

The communications won't come in, but Blanche continues to ask about them. Another misstep.

Objection.
Sustained.

Q: Do you recall prior to the indictment being unsealed, the public learned that President Trump had been indicted?
A: Yes, sir.

Asked whether the detective confirmed to him that it "was done," Cohen says he doesn't understand the question.

Blanche asks: "Detective Rosenberg didn't tell you that they told the New York Times before they told you."

Objection.
Sustained.

Judge: "When you say 'they,' who are you referring to?"

Blanche wants to suggest that the DA's office gave the NYT the tip-off, but Cohen resists that.

The exchange seems to suggest the detective just gave a heads up of what the Times reported.

Asked whether Cohen said the DA's office "Goliath on his back," Cohen says that sounds correct.

Once again, Cohen agrees that he went on TV after the DA's office urged him not to do so.

Blanche plays audio of Cohen's enthusiastic reaction to the indictment on his podcast for the jury.

Blanche shows Cohen the Truth Social post by Trump calling Daniels a "Horseface" and Cohen a "convicted liar."

Asked if he responded to the post, Cohen says: "I don't have a Truth Social post, sir."

Blanche says he responded on "X," calling Trump "Dumbass Donald."

"Sounds correct," Cohen responds.

Blanche turns to Cohen's frequent testimony.

Q: Was the oath that you took every single time [...] the same oath that you took Monday morning?"

"Yes, sir," Cohen says.

Cohen agrees with Blanche that the oath doesn't change.

Blanche goes through Cohen's lies about the since-abandoned Trump Tower Moscow project. Cohen freely acknowledges it.

Unsaid by Blanche, these were undoubtedly lies to protect Trump.

It'll also undoubtedly come up on redirect.

That fact comes up now:

Q: Even at the time that you pled guilty [...] you said that you made those statements [...] out of loyalty to President Trump, correct?
A: Correct.

Not all of Cohen's charges were Trump-related, though, Blanche says.

The lawyer reviews the FBI's search of Cohen's home.

Cohen says he learned his then-business associate Gene Freidman was cooperating months after the search.

Blanche leads Cohen through his 2018 guilty plea — along with his swearing in. It's clear where this is going.

During Trump's civil fraud trial, Cohen said he lied then about being guilty of the tax evasion for the taxi medallions.

Cohen clarified his answer on direct examination and once again now, on cross. He says that federal prosecutors gave him 48 hours to accept or face a new indictment charging his wife.

Cohen:

"I never denied the underlying facts [of the tax offenses]. I just did not believe that I should have been charged by either of those two, or I should say six, offenses."
Cohen's answers here are much smoother than during Trump's civil fraud trial, when he was questioned by Alina Habba.

Cohen has been delivering crisp, clear, responsive answers, with a level volume and steady voice.

At least so far, he's not sounding defensive or going off on tangents.
Cohen:

"I believed that I should not have been charged — yes, sir."

But Trump's lawyer noted Cohen didn't say that in his book.

In his book, Cohen agrees, he said the charges were "100 percent inaccurate."

Cohen also agrees he said in a TikTok that the SDNY's federal investigation was the "most corrupt" in at least 100 years.

Blanche pushes this line of questioning until prosecutor Hoffinger objects. Sidebar.

After the sidebar, Blanche moves on to another topic: Cohen's interview on CNN.

Cohen agrees that he said at the time that "the lies of the prosecutors from the Southern District of New York would eventually be exposed."
Adam Klasfeld
@KlasfeldReports
·
5h
Analysis:

Since the civil fraud trial, Cohen distancing himself from the tax offenses were always going to be a pressure point on cross. Blanche keeps pushing it, and there's no new ground broken here.

But it may be new for the jury.
Cohen agrees he also harshly criticized the late-federal judge who sentenced him.

Q: You do believe Judge Pauley was in on it?
A: I do.

Cohen agrees he called Pauley and SDNY prosecutors "(expletive) animals."

Cohen repeats his view that the tax offenses should have been treated civilly, through a letter alerting him, before criminally charging him.

Cohen:

"I should not have been charged with a tax crime."

He agrees that he shouldn't have been charged with a HELOC (home equity line of credit) violation, for how he obtained the money to funnel to Stormy Daniels.

For the first time of cross, Cohen is reminded to answer only the questions posed to him rather than giving speeches.

That happened frequently during Trump's civil trial last year.

Cohen has been much more disciplined now, so far.

Cohen doesn't backpedal from his testimony that he lied to Pauley about believing he was guilty of the tax offenses.

Q: The reason you lied to a federal judge is that the stakes affected you personally?
A: Yes.

Cohen acknowledged his "mistakes" about his taxes to Congress, but Blanche notes that he didn't disclose his strident criticism about being charged with those offenses at the time.

"I don't believe I was asked the question," Cohen responds.

Q: Do you agree with me that lying under oath is not accepting responsibility?
A: Could you clarify your question?

Cohen:

"I accepted responsibility, and I was suffering the consequences as a result."

Cohen agrees criminal defendants get credit at sentencing for accepting responsibility.

Blanche says Cohen got that credit even though Cohen "lied."

Cohen says that judge's have a wide range of discretion over guidelines.

Cohen agrees that, at different times, he has blamed the bank, the prosecutors, the judge, and Trump for his downfall.

Q: Does the outcome of this trial affect you personally?
A: Yes.

Cohen agrees that there's nothing wrong in the taxi medallion business with having 16 LLCs. That's standard for that industry.

(Unclear what the purpose of that question is, unless Blanche is trying to blunt the sting of the shell companies in the Daniels/McDougal payoffs.)

Q: Do you know whether your wife ever found out what you did with the $130,000 and the HELOC [home equity line of credit]?

Objection.
Sustained.

Cohen said that his wife had no knowledge about the $130,000 HELOC transaction, apparently referring to the Stormy Daniels payoff.

Asked whether he was aware of deleting messages with his wife in the March 2018 time frame, Cohen says he wasn't aware.

Blanche presses the line of questioning with people other than his wife until Cohen notes Signal has an automatically disappearing messages feature.

In 2019, Cohen told Congress: "I have never asked for, nor would I accept, a pardon from President Trump." But Blanche noted that Cohen asked two lawyers about the possibility of a pardon.

Now, Cohen doesn't deny it:

"I wanted this nightmare to end."

Cohen notes that they corrected the "misstatement."

Asked whether that was because it wasn't true when he made it, Cohen agrees.

Morning recess.
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Re: Stormy Weather TFG on Criminal Trial in NYC

#187

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Adam Klasfeld
@KlasfeldReports
·
4h
We're back:

Assistant DA Matthew Colangelo says that Blanche's cross left a "misleading impression" that the indictment was leaked, and he notes the fact of the indictment was unsealed before the indictment itself.

The prosecution wants a curative instruction.

Blanche opposes, citing the exchange between Cohen and the detective.

The judge gives Blanche an opportunity to "clean up" this line of questioning.
Justice Merchan says jurors informed the court that they cannot work next Wednesday.

"So, that's off the table," the judge says.

If the defense doesn't bring a case — which is a possibility — closing arguments and deliberations could conceivably begin next week, right before the Memorial Day weekend.

That could create complications, and that's why the court considered the Wednesday option.

We'll see how the matter resolves, which will depend in large part on whether defense and rebuttal cases are going to happen.
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Re: Stormy Weather TFG on Criminal Trial in NYC

#188

Post by ti-amie »

Adam Klasfeld
@KlasfeldReports
·
4h
Cohen's cross resumes.

Blanche asks whether it's fair to say that one of the reasons that Cohen accepted responsibility and pleaded guilty was that he wanted to consider cooperation.

Q: "Ultimately, that effort did not result in a cooperation agreement," isn't that correct?

A: "That's correct."

Q: The truth of the matter was, Mr. Cohen, you really wanted to work in the White House?
A: No, sir.

Cohen previously testified that he knew he wasn't qualified for a White House chief of staff position, but he wanted to be considered for it because of his "ego."

Blanche suggests this wasn't true. Cohen insists that it was.

Blanche notes that Cohen talked about the chief of staff position with other people.

Cohen's daughter alerted him that Reince Priebus was vying for the position, and he agrees he said that Preibus was "pushing like a madman."

Priebus ultimately got the position.

Blanche pushes this line of questioning for awhile, trying to poke holes in Cohen's line that he didn't really want the chief of staff position.

Cohen testifies that he told his daughter that there's "no shame" in being personal attorney to the President, his eventual title.

Blanche notes that Cohen had Pastor Scott, the head of Trump's diversity coalition, "put in a good word" to the then-president elect.
Adam Klasfeld
@KlasfeldReports
·
4h
Analysis:

The defense is depicting Cohen's turn against Trump as sour grapes and payback to being spurned. Cohen keeps pushing back about this alleged motivation.
Cohen frequently delivers his testimony straight to the jurors — and they continue to hold eye contact with him, even throughout a contentious cross-ex.

Blanche asks a string of questions about Cohen receiving harassing phone calls, including from a 14-year-old.

Cohen complained to Trump's bodyguard Keith Schiller about it, Blanche says.

Blanche is getting worked up, launching into an indignant speech with no apparent question:

"We aren't asking about your belief. [...] This jury..."—

Prosecutor: Objection.
Judge: Sustained

Blanche continues his angry statements, not questions, about the harassing phone call from the 14-year-old.

Prosecutor: "Objection."
Judge: "Sustained."

On that note — Lunch recess.
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Re: Stormy Weather TFG on Criminal Trial in NYC

#189

Post by ti-amie »

Adam Klasfeld
@KlasfeldReports
·
2h
Back from lunch.

Before the afternoon session begins, a quick note on how the morning ended:

Blanche confronted Cohen on a phone call with Trump through his bodyguard with Keith Schiller on Oct. 24, 2016. During direct, Cohen testified they discussed Stormy Daniels.

During cross, Blanche introduced an alternative theory of the call:

Cohen was worked up from receiving a harassing phone call from a 14-year-old, who didn't mask his number, and he called Schiller about it.

In a tense exchange, Cohen said both topics came up.

The defense is trying to sow doubt about Cohen's uncorroborated account of this particular call, hoping that it was raise questions about other, more damaging calls.

Like a pair of calls between Cohen and Trump two days later.

On Oct. 26, 2016, Cohen opened up his First Republic Bank account for the shell company that funneled money to Stormy Daniels' lawyer, shortly after phone logs showed two calls with Trump.

An alternative theory for these calls hasn't yet been established during cross-ex.

Will one be during cross-examination?

We may find out soon, either way.


One thing's for certain:

Blanche thought the point was so important that he waited just before the lunch recess to make it, angrily, with indignant accusations and statements — that a seasoned lawyer like him must have known would draw the sustained objections that they did.

Blanche likely did so as punctuation drawing jurors' attention to the point he wanted to make.

Now, the afternoon session begins.
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Re: Stormy Weather TFG on Criminal Trial in NYC

#190

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Adam Klasfeld
@KlasfeldReports
·
2h
Blanche starts the afternoon session by showing more about Cohen's text exchange with Trump's bodyguard Keith Schiller.

These messages do not appear to have been previously submitted into evidence.

They aren't part of this batch. https://pdfs.nycourts.gov/PeopleVs.DTru ... .2016).pdf

Cohen agrees that he worked very hard to get good press for Trump.

Q: You also worked very hard to make sure there were positive stories about you, at times?
A: Yes, sir.

Cohen agrees that he had a "Rolodex" full of reporters' contact information.

"It was my routine to always advise Mr. Trump" because if he disagreed with the framing of the story that he wanted to put out, it would probably cost Cohen his job, Cohen says.

Asked whether Cohen sometimes spoke to the press without consulting with Trump, Cohen replies:

"No, sir. I would always get a comment, or something in line with a conversation we had in line with that specific topic."

Blanche notes that Trump's campaign sometimes got frustrated at Cohen for going off-message, but Cohen says that's because he was relaying Trump's messaging, not the campaign's.

Cohen says he had a strong professional relationship with Chris Cuomo, Katy Tur and Maggie Haberman.

Q: There were many times when you gave Ms. Haberman a scoop?
A: Yes, sir.

One of Cohen's pitches to Haberman involved an (as-yet-unidentified) recorded phone call.

Q: Did you tell people you were recording them?
A: No, sir.

Cohen notes that recording calls isn't illegal in New York, a one-party consent state.

"Mr. Cohen, I did not ask you if you were breaking the law," Blanche says.

Cohen agrees that there were 95 secret recordings found on his cell phone.

Blanche asks who else Cohen "surreptitiously" recorded.

They included Jeff Zucker, Trump, and reporters, Cohen says.

Q: You understand that it's not ethical for a lawyer to record a conversation with a client?
A: That's correct.

Asked whether he ever spoke of the National Enquirer's power to deliver its message through its placement in supermarkets, Cohen responds: not that I recall.
Adam Klasfeld
@KlasfeldReports
·
2h
Scene from the hallway before the afternoon session, via the trial press pool:

"Trump returned to the courtroom at 2:08. He did not respond to shouted questions about whether he would testify but gave a fist pump."
Blanche turns to the McDougal story and suggests Trump didn't share Cohen's view that her accusations would hurt him.

Cohen pushes back on that assertion.

Blanche gets Cohen to agree that he's received 50,000 to 60,000 phone calls between 2016 and today — and sarcastically asks him about remembering the damaging details of some of them.

Cohen: "Because these phone calls are things that I've been talking about" for many years.

Blanche turns to Cohen's recorded conversation where Trump said: "pay with cash," and Blanche suggests this doesn't refer to "green" — rather, it means not financing, he says.

Cohen disagrees, suggesting cash means cash.



Afternoon recess.
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Re: Stormy Weather TFG on Criminal Trial in NYC

#191

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Adam Klasfeld
@KlasfeldReports
·
1h
After Blanche asks whether Cohen ever expressed the view that Keith Davidson was extorting Trump, the prosecutors object.

Judge: Overruled.

Cohen agrees he once opined "that they were extorting Mr. Trump."

Blanche rattles off Michael Cohen's work for Trump, his company and his family members.

Q: And you never had a retainer agreement with any of those individuals?
A: No, sir.

Blanche says the "whole truthful testimony" is "the whole time you worked for the Trump Organization, you never had a retainer agreement."

Cohen agrees that he never did.
Adam Klasfeld
@KlasfeldReports
·
1h
Analysis:

Where's Blanche going with this? The answer is, the defense maintains that the $420,000 paid to Cohen in installments of $35K/month was his legal fees, not reimbursements for Daniels, the RedFinch expense, grossing up and the bonus.
Blanche shows Cohen the statement through his law firm that neither the "Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign" was a party to the Stormy Daniels payoff.

In direct, Cohen said that this was cleverly worded to avoid the actual other party: Trump.

On cross, Cohen agrees that the actual statement itself is true, however.

Blanche shows Cohen the statement he sent to reporters denouncing the FEC complaint about the Stormy Daniels matter.

"Just because something isn't true doesn't mean that it can't cause you harm or damage. I will always protect Mr. Trump."

Cohen agrees that he recorded himself telling a reporter that they had to believe his denial of the FEC complaint's allegations because he's a "very bad liar."

But he now says he was lying to them at the time.

And so, Michael Cohen's testimony stretches to another week as trial proceedings end in the middle of his cross.

Justice Merchan instructs the jury.
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Re: Stormy Weather TFG on Criminal Trial in NYC

#192

Post by ti-amie »

Adam Klasfeld
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·
1h
After the jury leaves, Trump's attorney Emil Bove previews potential testimony by campaign finance law expert Bradley A. Smith.

Justice Merchan established some of the boundaries of his testimony before trial began. https://justsecurity.org/wp-content/upl ... 8-2024.pdf

For the past 10 minutes, the prosecution and defense has been litigating how much latitude the defense gets for Smith's proposed testimony.

Justice Merchan says he will "read and study" both sets of submission, but until then, the judge says, his earlier ruling has not changed—and the defense witness's testimony is "greatly limited."

Review the earlier ruling here. https://justsecurity.org/wp-content/upl ... 8-2024.pdf

With the Memorial Day coming, Merchan says he's going to try to avoid a big lapse of time between summations and the jury charge.

Blanche estimates that he will be finished with cross on Monday, before the morning break.

Redirect will take under an hour, Hoffinger says.

Blanche says he anticipates making a decision on rebuttal witnesses today.

Merchan notes that means it's possible that the evidentiary phase of the trial might close on Monday, and he urges the lawyers to be prepared for the possibility of summations on Tuesday.

The variables, of course, include: Does the defense call Trump, or for that matter, anyone else?

Trial ends for the day.
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Re: Stormy Weather TFG on Criminal Trial in NYC

#193

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A more detailed look from Katie Phang.

Katie Phang
@KatiePhang
Now that the jury has been excused for the day, Judge Merchan and the lawyers are addressing the scope of the testimony of the defense's expert witness:

Bradley Smith is a former commissioner of the FEC who intends to testify about FECA (Federal Election Campaign Act), specifically regarding campaign contributions.

The prosecution arguing:

COLANGELO: I think 95 percent of the proffered testimony [from the expert] that was just described flies directly in the face of your extremely clear order…which expressly says Mr. Smith may not testify about the application or interpretation of federal campaign finance laws.

COLANGELO: I think [Mr. Bove] just walked your Honor through a very long list of federal case law and SCOTUS and DC Circuit case law, interpreting these terms. That kind of testimony from an expert is why there is a prohibition on testimony from witnesses on legal matters.

Merchan now speaking to the lawyers:

MERCHAN: I will take some time this weekend to study both sets of submissions and read the minutes from what just happened here and it will be limited to general definitions and general background…

MERCHAN: "But, until you hear differently from me, MY RULING HAS NOT CHANGED.”

Merchan's prior ruling in part:

the defense's expert cannot testify whether this conduct constitutes a violation of the campaign finance act, he can testify to the FEC function and what FEC does on enforcing and general information and terms that relate to this case….

LET’S TALK SCHEDULING, MERCHAN SAYS
MERCHAN: “I am doing everything possible to avoid breaks between summations and deliberations…..the deliberations should follow the jury charge...if we could start early, maybe 8am on some days and as of now one of the alternates can only work until 1pm Thursday..."

MERCHAN: How much more do you have?
BLANCHE: “Not a lot”...“I will be finished with cross monday, before the morning break”

BLANCHE: I was not speaking to President Trump, obviously, but that’s another decision we need to” make...

There’s a possibility we’d be done with the presentation of witnesses on Monday.

MERCHAN: Please be prepared to begin summations [Closing arguments] on TUESDAY.

MERCHAN: I will make every effort to get both summations done in one day. If that means working early, working late…. If push comes to shove, I will have to break them up, but thats something I will try not to do.

Goodbye from Judge Merchan. See you on Monday morning.
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Re: Stormy Weather TFG on Criminal Trial in NYC

#194

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Re: Stormy Weather TFG on Criminal Trial in NYC

#195

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Adam Klasfeld
@KlasfeldReports
Good morning from New York.

Michael Cohen’s cross examination continues. Prosecutors have another chance to have Cohen clarify his testimony—and then, a moment of truth amid the will-he-or-won’t-he speculation.

Will Trump or any other defense witness testify?

Follow along 🧵
By the way, it's a joy to see how many places around the world you all are joining from to follow the live feed.

It's a perk of starting these threads with: "Good morning from New York."

Stand by for the day's proceedings.
The prosecution enters the courtroom.

Trump enters the courtroom, with an ever-expanding entourage of politicos and the same family member:

Eric Trump.

Trump sinks into his usual, forward-crouching position at the defense table for his daily smattering of courtroom photography.

"All rise."

Justice Merchan enters the courtroom, with his usual, "Good morning, Mr. Trump." The parties are meeting early this morning to discuss a pre-trial evidentiary matter.

Merchan:

"It's become apparent that we're not going to be able to sum up tomorrow."

Summations likely to be next Tuesday, following the Memorial Day weekend.
“Do not grow old, no matter how long you live. Never cease to stand like curious children before the Great Mystery into which we were born.” Albert Einstein
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