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WATCH: Anderson Cooper Says ‘Michael Cohen Was Cornered in What Appeared to Be a Lie’

Mark Peterson/New York Magazine via AP, Pool

This author will admit that he has not been following every twist and turn in Fat Alvin Bragg’s Trump Trial, but by our understanding, the testimony of Michael Cohen is absolutely crucial to the case. They are trying to prove that when Trump paid Stormy Daniels to be silent about whatever relationship they had—and we really don’t know or care whether or not they slept together—and the prosecution has a number of witnesses who have serious credibility problems.

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For instance, let’s start with Stormy Daniels. She has gone back and forth on the issue of whether or not she slept with Trump, at this point if we were on the jury, we couldn’t be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that she did have a relationship with him.

And of course, we are very proud of our headline about David Pecker: ‘Prosecutors in Trump’s New York Trial Prove Their Witness Is a Lying 'Pecker' Who Faked Evidence.’ And like the headline suggests, Pecker admitted to lying and faking evidence in the past, which led us to say this:

In short, we think if we are sitting on a jury, that might be instant reasonable doubt on anything that relies on his word or even documentary evidence he might have faked. It’s worth taking a moment to really contemplate what that concept is because it is easy to gloss over that phrase: Proof beyond a reasonable doubt. It doesn’t even technically mean that if you are a juror that you have doubt. It just means that you think it is reasonable for a person to have doubt. Now we are not going to say that this Pecker automatically creates reasonable doubt on any fact the State is trying to prove based on his testimony or documents alone. But we are saying that it is very easy for a fair-minded juror to see it that way. And Trump only needs one to hang the jury.

And now to add to the wretched hive of scum and villainy on the prosecution’s witness list, we get former lawyer Michael Cohen, whom Jonathan Turley described as a ‘disbarred, convicted serial perjurer.’

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Thus today, Trump’s lawyers cross-examined him and to set the table a bit more, when we were talking about the other lying pecker, we wrote the following:

Any defense lawyer with more than two brain cells to rub together knows how to deal with [a liar]. It’s a cliché to ask such a witness ‘were you lying back then, or are you lying now?’ but only because it is an obvious, logical and devastating question to ask. Sometimes the cliched thing to do is still the smart thing to do.

We don’t know if Trump’s lawyer has used that line (‘were you lying back then, or are you lying now’), but judging by this clip from CNN, even Anderson Cooper thinks that the answer is ‘he is lying now.’ Seriously, watch:

This is echoed in a post by Prof. Turley:

The cut off text reads:

However, Branche revealed that, in a Cohen text to Keith Schiller, Donald Trump's former bodyguard, Cohen asked Schiller about harassing calls from an alleged 14-year-old kid. Schiller responded, “Call me.”

One way to shore up a witness with a history of lying is to say ‘sure, he lied in the past, but he has reformed his ways and, therefore, he is not lying now.’ But that only has a chance of working if he avoids any fresh lies, and Cooper seems to think Cohen told at least one fresh lie in this case.

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As we understand it, Cohen is the lynchpin of the case. Much of the case is either not really in dispute, or irrelevant. For instance, it doesn’t actually matter, legally, whether Trump actually slept with Stormy Daniels or not. The theory of the case was that paying her to keep from saying they had an affair was done to help his political campaign, and truth has nothing to do with that issue. If they were afraid she would claim they had an affair, and it was a lie, it is the same issue if it was the truth. And the fact that Trump paid for Daniels' silence is not really in dispute.

The entire issue is whether Trump paid for her silence because he was afraid it would harm his campaign, or instead he paid for her silence because he didn’t want to proverbially ‘sleep on the couch’—or for a million personal reasons why a famous businessman might not want the world to think he did that. As we understand it, Cohen is the only person besides Trump who could provide proof that Trump meant it as a campaign expense and he does not have documentation. Thus, the case comes down to people believing his word. So, if Cooper and Turley are to be believed, Cohen has been fatally undermined as a witness.

Of course, that raises and interesting question: Will Trump testify? Of course, he has a right under the Fifth Amendment to refuse to do so, and if this was an ordinary criminal case and we were his lawyer, we might be tempted to tell him not to take the stand. The government has to prove his intent beyond a reasonable doubt, and we would be inclined to think that Cohen’s word is not such proof. But in any case, while the judge will surely tell the jury not to draw any negative inference from a refusal to testify, it is hard for the jury not to think that is a sign of guilt. And in this case, there is more at stake than the case itself: Trump’s lawyers have to ask how Trump feels about taking the Fifth as a political matter, too. In a normal case, we’d tell our client not to take the stand and give a closing argument that said something like this:

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The only evidence the state has offered on this crucial point is that word of a convicted liar, who clearly lied to you about the contents of that phone call. That’s reasonable doubt, right there.

But like we said, this is not an ordinary case, and Trump might really want a chance to speak to the jury and, effectively, the world about this case.

Finally, will any of this matter? Of course, Trump faces a chilly reception in New York City, but we have seen people we respect say that it is not so harsh that a hung jury is impossible. A full acquittal is probably impossible, even if we think it is the right answer, but a hung jury is possible, especially when we look at this tidbit: Two of the jurors are lawyers.

That links to an article in Politico that has this amazing quote:

As if there weren’t enough plot twists in Donald Trump’s legal saga, this week’s jury selection has produced one more: At least two lawyers will sit on his jury.

That could be good news for the former president, according to some experts on juror behavior, especially if Trump’s defense team plans to mount technical legal arguments to try to win an acquittal.

In other words, even Politico seems to know that Trump didn’t commit a crime and they are worried that the lawyers on the jury will recognize it, too. And for the record, this author has literally never heard of a lawyer serving on a jury. Of course, they are not exempt from jury service, but as a practical matter, one side or the other will tend to exclude them.

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On to reactions:

We think ‘Southern Belle’ left out the word ‘not’ in her post (we are dyslexic, so we sympathize) and she meant to say something more like this:

The ‘shocker’ isn’t that Michael Cohen lied as usual.  The real ‘shocker’ is that Anderson Cooper told the truth about what's going on.

Our proposed correction is in bold.

He had to work himself up to it and even then he needed weasel words.

It’s true that Cohen is kind of a fat target.

Has anyone checked in on Kathy Griffin? Is she on suicide watch?

Except how much more would it backfire if they couldn’t convict him after all of this?

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We are not so sure. For instance, we have been reliably told that in Texas, if you are a defense attorney and you make too many objections, that the jury is likely to think that you are trying to hide something and are more likely to convict. By contrast, we are also reliably told that in New York, if you don’t constantly object, the jury thinks that you believe your client is guilty. The point of that story is to say that how a jury reacts to attorney behavior is extremely subjective and culture-based. More than a few lawyers claims that no one really knows anything about juries.

We’re not experts on New York procedure, but in most American jurisdictions this would probably go to the jury. But the jury should acquit.

We do wonder if Cooper is also trying to prepare CNN’s viewers for the possibility of a hung jury.

Finally, we get this:

We admit that we did a double take with that headline, thinking ‘that couldn’t be real, could it?’ Well, it is, and this Twitter/X user linked to the article, here:

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What more can be said?

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