Trump Asks Judge To Block Testimony From Michael Cohen, Stormy Daniels

Trump Asks Judge To Block Testimony From Michael Cohen, Stormy Daniels

Authored by Tom Ozimek via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald J. Trump speaks at a rally in Laconia, N.H., on Jan. 22, 2024. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)

Former President Donald Trump has asked the judge in his so-called “hush money” case to issue pretrial rulings that would block certain evidence and witness testimony that the former president says his opponents want to exploit to undermine his 2024 presidential campaign.

The case centers on allegations that President Trump falsified business records to hide $130,000 in payments to adult film actress Stormy Daniels (whose real name is Stephanie Clifford) in exchange for keeping quiet about her allegations about an affair.

President Trump has repeatedly denied any affair or wrongdoing, while calling the case a politically-motivated ploy to hurt his chances of winning the race for the White House.

With trial scheduled to start on March 25, President Trump is now ramping up his rhetoric, accusing prosecutors in a 47-page motion filed on Monday of planning to put forward “improper arguments” and “inadmissible evidence” in order to bolster their “listless ‘zombie’ case” and interfere in the upcoming presidential election.

At the top of the list of what President Trump wants New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan to block is any new testimony from his former personal attorney Michael Cohen, who has admitted to lying to Congress.

Other demands include blocking testimony from Ms. Clifford, former Trump doorman Dino Sajudin, and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, as well as other requests related to evidentiary and procedural matters.

More Details

President Trump’s motion challenges the credibility of the witnesses, including calling Mr. Cohen a “liar” and suggesting Ms. Clifford would offer “false” testimony.

The People should be precluded from suborning additional perjury by Michael Cohen,” President Trump’ attorney, Todd Blanche, wrote in the filing. He said Mr. Cohen lied to lawmakers in 2017 and, more recently, perjured himself while testifying at President Trump civil fraud trial in October.

The judge in President Trump’s civil fraud trial said that Mr. Cohen’s testimony was “significantly compromised” by his misleading statements to Congress and by some “seeming contradictions” in what he said at trial.

Still, New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron, who fined President Trump $355 million for supposedly inflating the value of his properties to get better loan terms, said he found Mr. Cohen’s testimony “credible.”

Mr. Blanche wrote in the filing that prosecutors have an obligation to ensure that testimony presented to judges and juries is truthful. He argued that it was a “troubling” violation of prosecutors’ ethical and constitutional obligations for them to push for testimony from Mr. Cohen, whom he called a “serial liar.”

President Trump’s attorney also asked the judge to issue a pretrial ruling that would render as inadmissible testimony from Ms. Clifford.

The People should be precluded from offering testimony from or regarding Stephanie Clifford, who has made clear through public statements that she intends to offer false, salacious, and unduly prejudicial testimony relating to President Trump,” Mr. Blanche wrote in the filing.

Ms. Clifford wrote a tell-all memoir that included salacious details of her alleged tryst with the former president at a celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe, California, in 2006.

She then promoted the book in a series of media interviews and talk show appearances, in which she claimed she was pressured to sign a non-disclosure agreement in return for $130,000 in hush money payments.

Ms. Clifford has also expressed enthusiasm to take the stand against President Trump.

Another of President Trump’s requests for a pretrial rulings is precluding prosecutors from characterizing the alleged hush money payments to Ms. Clifford as an attempt on his part to “improperly influence” the 2016 election.

“Essentially the People are arguing that efforts by a candidate to prevent adverse publicity about himself during a campaign equals an attempt to defraud,” President Trump’s attorney wrote in the filing.

This argument has no basis in law and is an extraordinary perversion of our election system and the First Amendment,” he added.

President Trump’s motion also seeks to prevent prosecutors from introducing the so-called Access Hollywood recording, which “contains inflammatory and unduly prejudicial evidence that has no place at this trial about document and accounting practices,” as well as nearly 100 statements attributed to the former president that prosecutors have identified as potential exhibits but that “are largely irrelevant, stale, and cumulative.”

The motion comes on the heels of a Monday request by prosecutors  to impose a gag order on the former president, preventing him from making certain public statements about the case.

What’s the Case About?

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg indicted President Trump with 34 counts of falsifying business records in order to conceal $130,000 in payments to Ms. Clifford in exchange for keeping quiet about her allegations of an affair.

Mr. Cohen said he made $130,000 in a number of separate payments to Ms. Clifford via a shell company that was then reimbursed by President Trump’s company, the Trump Organization, and recorded as legal expenses.

In 2018, Mr. Cohen pleaded guilty to violating campaign finance law in connection with the payments. In his plea deal, Mr. Cohen claimed he made the payments at President Trump’s direction and that he was reimbursed by President Trump’s company, even though he earlier claimed he paid the money out of his own pocket.

Under New York state law, falsifying business records by itself is a misdemeanor. But if the records fraud was used to cover up or commit another crime, the charge could be elevated to a felony.

Mr. Bragg has charged President Trump with a felony falsifying records charge, which would require prosecutors to prove that it was done to hide the commission of a second crime.

A number of legal experts have challenged the validity of Mr. Bragg’s move to elevate the misdemeanor into a felony.

Tyler Durden
Tue, 02/27/2024 – 18:20

via ZeroHedge News Tyler Durden

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