Michael Cohen’s testimony towards Donald Trump might be a present and a curse as a result of his “white-hot hatred” for the previous president, mentioned former federal prosecutor Elie Honig.
Cohen was scheduled to testify in entrance of the Manhattan grand jury on Monday, the Related Press reported, in relation to alleged hush cash funds made by Trump to grownup movie actress Stormy Daniels forward of the 2016 presidential election.
Trump’s former lawyer and “fixer” met with New York District Legal professional Alvin Bragg in Manhattan final week for the nineteenth time to debate paying Daniels $130,000 that he claimed was performed at Trump’s discretion. Cohen’s testimony is considered as essential proof being collected as a part of a possible grand jury investigation.
Cohen was arrested in 2018 and pleaded responsible to a number of costs, together with tax evasion and extreme marketing campaign contributions. He was sentenced to jail that December and subsequently accomplished a three-year jail and residential confinement sentence in 2021.
“On the one hand, Michael Cohen clearly had insider entry—he was in the midst of this transaction, he pled responsible to it,” Honig instructed CNN’s Jim Acosta. “And lots of the issues that Michael Cohen has mentioned since he did his jail time about Donald Trump have been confirmed to be true.
“The truth is, prefer it or not, Michael Cohen goes to be weak to a searing cross-examination. He has been convicted of perjury, he has been convicted of tax fraud, and monetary fraud. He denies that he did it however he pled responsible to these crimes.”
He added: “Michael Cohen additionally, as you say, Jim, has a white-hot hatred for Donald Trump. He can not open his mouth with out saying something detrimental about Donald Trump. That is his proper.”
Honig mentioned that Cohen stays a “key witness” irrespective of how the jury interprets his relationship with Trump.
Joseph Tacopina, a lawyer for Trump, instructed Newsweek that Bragg’s previous feedback hinder Cohen’s effectiveness as a witness on this case.
“Alvin Bragg was lately quoted as saying that ‘he couldn’t see a world’ the place his workplace would carry a case in reliance on convicted perjurer and recognized Trump hater, Michael Cohen,” Tacopina mentioned by way of electronic mail. “But, of their scorched earth try and prosecute Donald Trump, the Manhattan DA continues to decrease its requirements by pursuing a case which authorized consultants have universally panned as baseless and never supported by the regulation.”
Final Thursday, Trump railed at each Bragg and Cohen on Reality Social. The previous president known as Bragg, the primary Black Manhattan D.A. within the historical past of the workplace, “racist” and mentioned “he solely cares about ‘getting Trump.'”
Bragg and his workplace are “counting on the testimony of a convicted felon, disbarred lawyer, with zero credibility,” Trump added, in reference to Cohen.
Rebecca Roiphe, a professor at New York Legislation College and a former Manhattan prosecutor, instructed Newsweek that Honig’s issues are legitimate with regards to Cohen being a star witness.
“[Cohen] is a crucial witness however his credibility is in query, and subsequently the prosecutors would have needed to have corroborated what he mentioned to be able to have been persuasive in entrance of a grand jury,” Roiphe mentioned.
She mentioned the Manhattan D.A.’s case towards Trump presents a “respectable query” concerning the pursuit of costs, contemplating they might be lesser in diploma in comparison with Trump being concerned in different authorized conditions—similar to in Georgia in relation to allegedly making an attempt to overturn outcomes of the 2020 election.
Nonetheless, irrespective of Trump’s stature, Roiphe mentioned prosecutors take the “no man is above the regulation” mantra significantly even when sure people like him had been as soon as president and now operating once more for his social gathering’s nomination.
“The factor is that I believe in sure sorts of circumstances, even in case you are pretty satisfied a person dedicated against the law, one might not carry the costs ahead as a result of cheap doubt,” she mentioned. “I believe it’s smart if a part of the consideration going into that is how simply [the prosecution] may show this as a result of I believe it might be damaging to carry ahead a cost and result in a hung jury and even an acquittal.”
New York-based lawyer Andrew Lieb instructed Newsweek that Cohen “has an axe to grind with regards to Trump and his testimony must be heard with a grain of salt.”
“Nonetheless,” Lieb mentioned, “the Manhattan D.A., Alvin Bragg, is not any idiot to this truth both and definitely plans to corroborate any testimony given by Michael Cohen with different sources. Said in any other case, you do not go after a preferred [former president of the United States] with out a number of strings to weave the identical internet. That is about to get huge actually quick.”
Newsweek reached out to Cohen’s lawyer, Lanny Davis, by way of cellphone and electronic mail and Elie Honig by way of electronic mail for remark.