Michael Cohen's outrageous behavior, shady past complicate hush money trial

 May 3, 2024

The prosecutor in Donald Trump's hush money trial has a major problem on his hands.

The star witness, former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, has been commenting on the trial even before he takes the witness stand. Cohen's shady past could also create doubts with the jury.

Cohen is a central witness in Alvin Bragg's case, which accuses Trump and Cohen of conspiring to hide "hush money" payments to Stormy Daniels.

Alvin Bragg's witness problem

Trump's defense has maintained that Trump never had an affair with Daniels and that he paid the porn star to avoid embarrassment to his family.

The prosecution acknowledged in its opening statement that Cohen, who served three years in federal prison, has "baggage" but pled with the jury to keep an open mind.

The witnesses so far have given an unfavorable portrait of Cohen, describing him as dishonest, nasty and difficult to work with.

Keith Davidson, the lawyer for Stormy Daniels who negotiated the "hush money" with Cohen, said Cohen was volatile over the phone and evasive about paying.

“It was excuses. It was contradictions,” said Davidson, who said he told Cohen, “I don’t really believe a word that you are saying.”

Davidson also testified that Cohen was depressed about not getting a job in the Trump administration.

The testimony lines up with the defense narrative, which has characterized Cohen as bitterly "obsessed" with Trump and financially invested in his downfall.

"You cannot make a serious decision about President Trump under the lying words of Michael Cohen," Trump defense lawyer Todd Blanche told the jury.

Cohen commenting on case

Cohen has given the defense material to work with by constantly commenting on the case from the sidelines, including on a TikTok channel where he has received donations from viewers.

The former Trump lawyer has been cheering for a conviction, attacking Trump using vulgar language.

"Michael Cohen is a complete mess as a witness for the prosecution in the current state fraud trial," former federal prosecutor Michael McAuliffe told Newsweek.

The prosecution does have a way forward, McAuliffe said, if they can convince the jury that Cohen and Trump are birds of a feather.

"The jury may well conclude it was a perfect match. The prosecution team is counting on it," he said.

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