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Michael Cohen is back on the stand for a third day of questioning in Donald Trump’s bombshell criminal trial as the defense is trying to pin the ex-fixer on his many ‘lies.’ 

Cohen defended his previous comments stating ‘I really f***ing hope this man ends up in prison’ about Trump and described how the former president was ‘dangling’ a pardon in front of him, which he considered taking to ‘end the nightmare’ of the Stormy Daniel hush money fallout.

Follow DailyMail.com’s live coverage and our reports from the courtroom.

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Donald Trump gets a win just before lunch as Todd Blanche upends Michael Cohen testimony

From Rob Crilly, Senior U.S. Political Reporter in courtroom 1530

That was a moment of pure lawyering, the sort of gotcha moment that you see in LA Law but all too rarely in an actual courtroom.

Defense lead Todd Blanche had spent the morning trying to undermine Michael Cohen’s testimony, using his own words in text messages and on podcasts to portray the witness as a bitter ex-employee intent on revenge. It wasn’t until 12:30 that he finally got to the meat of Cohen’s testimony, that Trump was directly involved in the hush money and cover-up scheme.

He did so by having the jury look at text messages sent by Cohen on the evening of Oct 24, 2016, after Cohen had unmasked someone making nuisance phone calls. The culprit forgot to mask their number, and when Cohen challenged them, they admitted they were a 14-year-old.

So what, wondered the assembled ranks of press.

Blanche continued. At about 8:04 pm, Cohen messaged Keith Schiller (Trump’s body man, who is always at his side) asking for help dealing with the matter. A phone call lasting barely 90 second follows.

Now Blanche goes in for the kill, reminding Cohen that on Monday he had claimed that call was designed to update Trump on the Stormy Daniels matter.

‘That was a lie!’ Blanche exclaimed in the most dramatic moment of the case so far.

‘Because you were actually talking to Mr. Schiller about you were getting harassing phone calls from a 14-year-old,’ he added.

Cohen says he had time to do both.

‘I always ran everything by the boss immediately, and in this case it would have been saying, ‘Everything been taken care of — it’s been resolved,”‘ he said

But a seed of doubt has now been cast. Cohen is the key to the case. And a major question has been raised with Blanche turning everying on a dime.

See for yourself Monday’s testimony below…

Todd Blanche, attorney for former US President Donald Trump, sits in the courtroom at Manhattan criminal court in New York, US, on Thursday, May 16, 2024. Jeenah Moon/Pool via REUTERS

Judge Merhcan sends the jury home for the weekend

Michael Cohen will be coming back to the stand.

Judge Merchan paused cross-examaniation. He told members of the jury they may go home and told them to ‘have a good weekend.’

Justice Juan Merchan presides as Michael Cohen is asked about taking an oath as he is cross-examined by defense lawyer Todd Blanche during former U.S. President Donald Trump's criminal trial on charges that he falsified business records to conceal money paid to silence porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016, in Manhattan state court in New York City, U.S. May 16, 2024 in this courtroom sketch. REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg

Cohen confronted with his own statement and law firm letter denying Trump Organization or campaign paid Daniels

Cohen is testifying about a letter to the FEC from the law firm of law firm McDermott Will & Emery in response to a complaint by CREW.

‘Mr. Cohen used his own personal funds to facilitate a payment of $130,000 to Ms. Stephanie Clifford,’ it said.

Blance calls it a ‘true statement,’ and goes through Cohen’s testimony about Trump reimbursing him from personal funds.

Then Cohen speaks about his own statement that he wrote, adding that he would not be answering any more questions about the matter.

He feared further inquiries from the press.

‘They would be asking me the question … My concern was that they would expand upon it and they would ask me about Mr. Trump personally or some other account.

‘Make no mistake this was a completely legal binding contract, correct?’ says Blanche.

‘It’s a very long contract, correct. It’s signed by you. And Mr. Davidson. And Ms. Daniels,’ Blanche says. ‘But Donald J. Trump never signed anything with this agreement.

‘A nondisclosure agreement, an NDA, a settlement between two parties, happens all the time,’ says Blanche, and Cohen agrees.

Cohen says he believes Keith Davidson came up with the name ‘David Dennison’ as the stand-in for Trump. He says he doesn’t know who came up with ‘Peggy Peterson’, which is the fake name for Daniels.

Photos of Barrett Blade & wife Stormy Daniels from his Instagram - 13419563 Stormy Daniels' husband says he'll leave the US if Trump is found not guilty

‘This guy’s making this up’

CNN’s Anderson Cooper, attending the trial, said Coen’s testimony over his phone call to Trump would give him doubts if he was a juror.

Absolutely. Absolutely. I think it’s devastating for Michael Cohen’s credibility on this one particular topic,” he said.

If I was a juror in this case watching that, I would think, this guy’s making this up as he’s going along or he’s making this particular story up.

‘I want to talk for a few minutes … about the $130,000 payment’

Late in the day, Blanche gets to the Stormy Daniels payoff itself.

‘I want to talk for a few minutes,’ he tells Cohen, looking at his own watch, ‘about the $130,000 payment,’ he says.

Another scheduling conflict: alternate juror has an appointment

Lawyers and Merchan who spoke about an alternate juror who has a 1:30 pm conflict on Thursday.

They decide to put off a decision on whether they can send the entire jury home for the day at that time or just excuse the alternate.

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Cohen pressed on secret recording of Trump and David Pecker where Trump says ‘cash’

Cohen is going through the meeting he secretly recorded that included Trump and ex-AMI exec David Pecker.

Blanche is pressing on Trump’s use of the word ‘cash,’ and whether it means without financing.

‘Now when he says cash, he’s not talking about Benjamins and green dollar bills, right?’ said Blanche.

‘He very often would purchase things with cash, correct.’

Cohen says Trump meant the word literally when asked if Trump meant ‘green’ money.

‘Which is why I used the word. No, no, no: check. We need to do it by check,’ Cohen said.

FILE PHOTO: David Pecker is cross examined by Emil Bove during former U.S. President Donald Trump's criminal trial on charges that he falsified business records to conceal money paid to silence porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016, in Manhattan state court in New York City, U.S. April 26, 2024 in this courtroom sketch. REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg/File Photo

Cohen NEVER spoke to a reporter without sign off from the president or he would ‘blow up’ and fire him

Blanche asked if during the 10 years Cohen worked for Trump he really never spoke to a reporter without speaking to Trump.

Cohen said: ‘It was my routine to always advise Mr Trump because if the story is not the way I was going to put out was not the way he wanted he would blow up and it would probably be the end of my job.’

Cohen was asked if he had a ‘very strong relationship’ with journalists like Chris Cuomo, Katie Tur and Maggie Haberman.

He said that was accurate.

Cohen admitted he recorded his phone calls with reporters and estimated he had done so 40 times over the years, but he stopped after the 2016 election.

Cohen is pressed on his recollection about call with Trump through Keith Schiller about Karen McDougal

Blanche is pressing Cohen on how he can possibly remember the substance of a call with Trump about former playboy model Karen McDougal, which he says he had after ringing Keith Schiller.

‘You don’t have a specific recollection to a telephone call that you had in June of 2016, do you?’ Blanche asks. ‘No sir,’ Cohen says.

He gets Cohen to say he took hundreds of calls a day, then uses a ‘conservative’ estimate of 50 to get to 14,000 a year.

‘Let’s say you’re getting 50 a day, 350 a week, 1,400 a month. We’re talking 14,000 a year from 2016 – 2017. Same would be true in 2018 until you went to prison’.

Cohen replied: ‘Yes sir’.

‘When you testified on Monday and Tuesday about specific conversations that you had with different folks … you were not testifying from a specific recollection of that phone call, were you?’ he pressed.

‘I was,’ Cohen answered.

‘Because these phone calls are things that I’ve been talking about for the last six years. They are and they were extremely important. And they were all-consuming.’

Karen McDougal Instagram:https://www.instagram.com/karenmcdougal/?hl=en

95 secret recordings on Cohen’s phone

Trump’s ex-fixer said that he has ’95 secret recordings’ on his phone, including of Trump.

‘I recorded [former CNN President] Jeff Zucker on one event. Mr. Trump in another event. A series of other reporters,’ he said.

‘You understand it’s not ethical for a lawyer to record a conversation with their client?’ Trump’s attorney asked Cohen.

He responded: ‘That’s correct.’

epa11344787 Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen (C) leaves his apartment building on his way to testify in former US president Donald Trump's ongoing criminal trial at New York State Supreme Court in New York, New York, USA, 16 May 2024. Trump is facing 34 felony counts of falsifying business records related to payments made to adult film star Stormy Daniels during his 2016 presidential campaign.  EPA/JUSTIN LANE

Cohen pushed on his ‘unethical’ recording of Trump

Blanche gets Cohen to say his secret recording of his former client Trump was unethical.

‘You understand that it’s not ethical for a lawyer to record a conversation with their client, correct?’ he asked.

‘You’re not – except of course crime fraud exception,’ Cohen says.

That got an immediate rise out of Blanche, who reminded him he testified that he recorded Trump in order to help David Pecker get paid for $150,000 in hush money.

epa11345862 Former US president Donald Trump gestures as he returns to court after a lunch break in his trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments linked to extramarital affairs, at the Supreme Court of the State of New York in New York, New York, USA, 16 May 2024. Trump is facing 34 felony counts of falsifying business records related to payments made to adult film star Stormy Daniels during his 2016 presidential campaign.  EPA/MIKE SEGAR / POOL

Tips & Scoops for reporters, including Maggie Haberman of the New York Times

Cohen is testifying to Blanche about providing ‘tips’ and ‘scoops’ to reporters.

Blanche mentions TV journalists Chris Cuomo and Katie Tur, and Maggie Haberman of the Times.

‘You asked her to write positive stories about you, correct?’ Blanche asks.

He said he has made about 40 recordings of reporters over a decade, but said ‘I wouldn’t characterize it as a lot.

Blanche called it transactional. ‘In exchange for that you would give tips to Miss Haberman, correct,’ he said.

‘Not in exchange. I would use Miss Haberman if the story was something that believed the NY times would run.’

Trump, who has frequently spoken to and tweeted about Haberman, is paying attention.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 13: Maggie Haberman speaks onstage during the 28th Annual Webby Awards at Cipriani Wall Street on May 13, 2024 in New York City. (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for The Webby Awards)

Cohen tells teen who kept phoning him they’ll be hearing from the Secret Service

Blanche displayed some of Cohen’s text exchanges with the teen who kept dialing him, which related to Blanche’s earlier attack on the credibility of his story.

‘You will need to explain this to secret service,’ wrote Cohen, quickly getting the 14 year old’s attention.

The he suggested putting him touch with ‘your parent or guardian.’

‘I DIDN’T DO IT,’ insisted the teen.

‘Please have your parent or guardian contact me before secret service reaches out to them,’ Cohen wrote later in the exchange.

Michael Cohen is asked about taking an oath as he is cross-examined by defense lawyer Todd Blanche during former U.S. President Donald Trump's criminal trial on charges that he falsified business records to conceal money paid to silence porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016, in Manhattan state court in New York City, U.S. May 16, 2024 in this courtroom sketch. REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg

Blanche clean-up duty

Blanche tries to clean up his earlier error. The judge has warned him he may do his own jury instruction if he doesn’t go far enough.

‘Just make sure there’s no confusion …You don’t have any evidence that anybody at the district attorney’s office improperly leaked or even leaked at all.’

The judge calls lawyers to the bench, and Blanche goes even further.

You know that around March 30 or actually on March 30 the court unsealed the indictment.

To the extent that I asked you questions about what you learned or heard from Dt. Rosenberg .. by March 30th it was public and unsealed, correct.

Court is back in – as lawyers spar over whether the judge needs to deliver an instruction to the jury

Lawyers faced off once again on how to clean up the matter of an error in Blanche’s question about the ‘leak’ of the Trump indictment.

‘This is not something that should be cleaned up by the person who asked the questions … this should be cured by the court,’ the prosecution said.

‘I wasn’t trying to do anything other than elicit the fact .. a detective assigned to this case’ told a witness it was ‘done,’ said Blanche. ‘I’m happy to clean it up. But it shouldn’t be an instruction from the court.’

Trump allies delighted with morning’s evidence

Eric Trump, who was sitting in the front row this morning, had a one-word review (well, and multiple emojis) for the way defense lawyer Todd Blanche went about Cohen’s testimony:

Pink penis balloons released by protestor outside criminal court

Dozens of pink penis balloons were released by a MAGA activist outside of the courthouse where Trump’s trial is on a lunch break.

There have been several protestors pro and anti-Trump stationed outside the court throughout the day.

The balloons have faces printed on them of Judge Merchan and Special Counsel Jack Smith.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 16: A ballon with a sticker displaying the image of Jack Smith, US special counsel, flies over Collect Pond Park near Manhattan Criminal Court during Trump's hush money trial on May 16, 2024 in New York City. Cohen, former U.S. President Donald Trump's former attorney, will take the stand again today to continue his cross examination by the defense in the former president's hush money trial. Cohen's $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels is tied to Trump's 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in the first of his criminal cases to go to trial.  (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

The court is on a lunch break after five hours of grueling testimony by Cohen

Defense rips into Cohen about his ‘lies’ about call with Trump on Stormy payment

Blanche tears into Cohen over his recollections about an 8:02 pm phone call with Keith Schiller, Trump’s former security head.

It’s the same call where Cohen testified he told Trump the Stormy Daniels matter was taken care of.

But it was sandwiched between communications with Schiller, including one at 7:48 pm where Cohen texted about a prank caller. ‘The Dope forgot to block his call,’ Cohen wrote.

At 8:04 pm Cohen texted Schiller the number.

‘You finalized the deal with Stormy Daniels. You said we’re going to move forward and you said yes,’ Blanche said, his voice rising.

‘That was a lie. Because you were actually talking to Mr. Schiller about you were getting harassing phone calls from a 14-year-old,’ he intoned.

‘You had enough time in that 136 second phone call to update Mr. Schiller… and also update President Trump on the of the Stormy Daniels situation?’ Blanche asked.

Cohen said it could have been quick. ‘Always run everything by the boss immediately,’ he said.

‘I believe I also spoke to Mr Trump about the Stormy Daniels matter and that it was going to be resolved,’ Cohen said.

‘I’m not asking for your belief,’ shot back Blanche.

Cohen’s recollection of October 24 phone call with Trump probed

Blanche is asking Cohen why he testified Tuesday about an October 24 phone call with Trump, but didn’t discuss it with prosecutors last year.

‘So it was the first time that you recall having a conversation with President Trump on Oct. 24 at 8:02 pm when you testified two days ago,’ Blanche asked him.

Cohen said it was to discuss Stormy Daniels and a resolution.

Cohen said he didn’t recall details and that phone logs ‘refreshed my memory.’

Pictured Stormy Daniels and her husband Barrett Blade from her Instagram - 13419563 Stormy Daniels' husband says he'll leave the US if Trump is found not guilty

Trump’s new people were ‘walking all over you’, Cohen’s daughter tells him and complains about difficulty getting inauguration tickets

Cohen’s daughter daughter Samantha said Trump new people ‘were walking all over you, correct?’ Blanche asks him.

‘And you agreed with that didn’t you at the time.’

‘At the time,’ Cohen responds.

Cohen told his daughter he wasn’t the ‘right person’ for chief of staff at the White House.

‘You were not embarrassed that after all the work you had done’ you got to be ‘personal attorney and nothing role?’ Blanched asked.

Cohen said it was the role he wanted.

You were having a ‘hard time getting tickets to the inauguraiton,’ Blanche asked about a text exchange with his daughter.

‘I believe so,’ said Cohen.

Then he gets asked about his conversations with pastor Darrell Scott.

Matt Gaetz echoes Donald Trump on Proud Boys

Does the turn of phrase in this tweet sound familiar?

It was used by Trump during a 2020 election debate with Joe Biden, when he was pressed repeatedly to condemn white nationalism in general and then specifcally to denounce the Proud Boys and call for them to stand down.

Proud Boys, stand back and stand by. But I’ll tell you what … somebody’s gotta do something about Antifa and the left because this is not a right-wing problem, this is a left-wing problem.

Cohen grilled on texts with his daughter about seeking a White House job

Blanche is getting grilled by Blanche about his texts with daughter Samantha Blake Cohen about landing a White House job.

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One discussing being ‘special counsel’ to Trump.

Cohen testifies he meant a different ‘hybrid’ role, being ‘personal attorney to the president.’

‘There’s a way that I could monetize that, which I did.’

Blanch says texts show his frustration about getting passed over.

‘What you really said to your daughter … is that you were very disappointed that Reince was being given the power to determine my position,’ he said, after helping Trump choose Reince Priebus as his first White House chief of staff.

Trump’s GOP minions slam trial as ‘Mr. Potato Head doll of crimes’

Matt Gaetz, the Republican congressman, mocks the prosecution case:

It’s like the Mr Potato Head of crimes – where they had to stick together a bunch of things that did not belong together.

Testimony turns to Cohen’s failure to land a White House position

Blanche goes back to Cohen’s testimony that he wanted to be ‘considered’ for White House chief of staff, even if for his ‘ego.’

It is part of the defense’s plan to establish a motive for Cohen as a jilted aide.

‘The truth is, Mr. Cohen, you really wanted to work in the White House.’

‘No sir,’ he told Blanche.

‘You really wanted to work in the White House, correct?’

‘Again, no sir,’ Cohen responded.

Now Blanche is bringing up contradictions to the statements.

Defense lawyer Todd Blanche attends the trial of former US President Donald Trump for allegedly covering up hush money payments linked to extramarital affairs, at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York City, on May 16, 2024. Trump's defense team Thrusday continues the questioning of Michael Cohen, the key witness in the criminal trial of the former president (Photo by JEENAH MOON / POOL / AFP) (Photo by JEENAH MOON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Prosecutors ask Judge Merchan to deliver an instruction about the date of Trump indictment

Prosecutors come back from break and ask Judge Merchan to issue a ‘curative’ instruction about some of Blanche’s questioning of Cohen.

He had been going after the witness over a TV appearance around the time news broke of the indictment and an apparent ‘leak.’

‘The questions were misleading,’ the prosecution said. The question related to an appearance on March 31, which prosecutors said came after the indictment was unsealed the night before.

‘That clearly left the impression with the jury that there was something improper,’ according to the prosecution.

Blanche argued that no instruction from the bench was needed.

Merchan is allowing Blanche to ‘clean it up’ and is allowing prosecutors to draft an order he will consider reading to the jury.

Trump allies posed for courtroom photo (in a different courtroom)

Trump’s allies posed for a photograph this morning before the hearing started. (From left) Reps. Luna, Gaetz, Good, Crane, Biggs, Boebert.

But court nerds will know that this is not courtroom 1530 where the Trump trial is taking place. The blinds, seen in the background, are slightly different and you cannot see any of the four TV screen specially installed for this high-profile case (one of which should be visible above the red, leather jury chairs.

The members of Congress are not in court as we resume after the recess. They are outside about to address the media in a small park across the street from the court.

Court is on a morning break

Trump ‘dangled’ a pardon for Cohen, which he considered to ‘end the nightmare’

Cohen testified that Trump was ‘dangling’ pardons in front of him.

He revealed he thought about it to end the ‘nightmare.’

That line contradicts what he previously told Congress, that there never was a pardon on the table.

Blanche hammered Cohen on his testimony in 2019 that he never asked for nor would he ask for a pardon.

He asked Cohen to try to square it with testimony that he spoke to lawyers about pursuing a potential pardon from Trump.

‘That’s a not true statement isn’t it?’ Blanche asked.

‘At that present moment, it was true. I wanted this nightmare to end. And so with it being dangled, seeing it on television, I asked them is this really something that they’re talking about.’

He says his other statement was meant in the ‘present sense,’ and also relies on the argument that he relied on others to pursue a pardon.

Former President Donald Trump appears at Manhattan criminal court before his trial in New York, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Jeenah Moon/Pool Photo via AP)

Testimony moves to Cohen’s meeting with Bob Costello and whether they discussed cooperation

Blanche starts quizzing Cohen about a meeting with lawyer Bob Costello, who is linked to Rudy Giuliani, after the FBI raid on Cohen’s home.

It comes hours after Costello appeared before a GOP-run House committee and claimed he himself asked Cohen if he had any useful information on Trump, and that Cohen told him he didn’t.

‘Do you remember telling him that you had nothing on President Trump and could not cooperate?’

‘No sir,’ Cohen responded.

Bob Costello - Robert Costello - 13422987 Michael Cohen's ex-legal advisor claims fixer paid of Stormy Daniels HIMSELF and is accused of witness tampering - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYsODkFPs_U

Todd Blanche asks Cohen about bank loan he hid from his wife

Cohen acknowledges the bank loan was to ‘hide it form your wife,’ agreeing with Blanche’s question.

But prosecutors successfully object to conversations that might get at spousal communications. Blanche also asks him about deleting text messages from his wife.

Matt Gaetz reacts to dig at Congressmen

Todd Blanche is asking Cohen about one of his appearances before a House committee.

‘When Congressmen ask you questions they go on and on right?’ he says, before apologizing for his own longwinded questions.

Rep. Matt Gaetz looks up as if in mock indignation before turning and sharin a smile with Rep. Lauren Boebert who is sitting beside him.

US Representative Matt Gaetz (C R), Republican of Florida, listens as former US President Donald Trump spekas to the press before his trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments linked to extramarital affairs, at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York City, on May 16, 2024. Trump's defense team Thrusday continues the questioning of Michael Cohen, the key witness in the criminal trial of the former president (Photo by ANGELA WEISS / POOL / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Trump attorney Alina Habba declares hush money case ‘over’ and a distraction

‘Yes,’ Cohen lied when getting a home loan to cover Stormy Daniels hush funds

Now Blanche gets Cohen talking about whether he lied in Trump’s fraud trial and when getting a home improvement loan

Blanche keeps going through the record, this time asking him about his testimony in Trump’s civil fraud trial down the street last year.

‘You testified under oath at a different trial that you did not commit the crimes that you pled guilty to before Judge Pauley. Correct?’

‘Correct,’ Cohen said.

That brought yet another discussion about Cohen’s belief that he shouldn’t have been charged, but that he accepts the underlying facts of the case.

Then he asks about Cohen’s application for a HELOC, a type of loan, which he used to cover the Stormy Daniels statement. Cohen says he doesn’t think it was ‘material’ because he had had such a loan for years.

‘Were you lying at the time you made those statements?’ to the bank, Blanche asks.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 16: Michael Cohen, former personal lawyer to former U.S. President Donald Trump, leaves his apartment building on his way to Manhattan Criminal Court on May 16, 2024 in New York City. Cohen will continue his cross examination by the defense in the former president's hush money trial. Cohen's $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels is tied to Trump's 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in the first of his criminal cases to go to trial.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Defense is pursuing a ‘pants on fire’ line

The defense has yet to get into Cohen’s testimony in the trial, his payments to Stormy Daniels and the way he was reimburse. So far this morning it has been a tour of Cohen’s convictions and his record of lying in other cases while under oath.

The defense strategy is clear: To demonstrate to the jury that this is not a witness to be trusted, reminiscent of an earlier witness claim that Cohen was a ‘pants on fire’ kind of guy.

For their part, the jurors seem engaged and attentive even as the questioning is repetitive and at times arcane (including discussions of the New York taxi medallion system).

Cohen is not fazed by any of it. He is giving measured, matter-of-fact responses, occasionally pausing to remember timelines and dates.

Trump is listening, brow furrowed, head tilted to one side.

FILE PHOTO: Michael Cohen is cross-examined by defense lawyer Todd Blanche during former U.S. President Donald Trump's criminal trial on charges that he falsified business records to conceal money paid to silence porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016, in Manhattan state court in New York City, U.S. May 14, 2024 in this courtroom sketch. REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg/File Photo

Cohen cops to lying during his guilty plea

Blanche gets Cohen to once again discuss how he beleives he was pressured into pleading guilty to the tax charge, which related to the taxi medallion business.

He says he feared if he didn’t take the deal on just 48 hours notice, his wife would be indicted.

‘You do feel like you were induced to plead guilty?’ Blanche asks.

‘I never denied the underlying facts. I just did not believe that I should have been criminally charged,’ says Cohen.

Then he hits him with the standard language that Judge William H. Pauley III asked him to repeat in court when he furnished his guilty plea.

he was asked ‘did anybody offer you any inducements or thereaten or force you to plead guilty.’

‘And you said no?’ Blanched asked him.

‘I accepted responsibility.’

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 16: Michael Cohen, former personal lawyer to former U.S. President Donald Trump, and attorney Danya Perry leave his apartment building on his way to Manhattan Criminal Court on May 16, 2024 in New York City. Cohen will continue his cross examination by the defense in the former president's hush money trial. Cohen's $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels is tied to Trump's 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in the first of his criminal cases to go to trial.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Todd Blanche questioning Cohen on his taxi medallion business and tax evasion plea

Blanche takes Cohen to his taxi medallion business – a practice unrelated to his work with Trump that brought an investigation before he ended up jailed on a tax charge.

Cohen perks up explaining the ins and outs of the business, noting there are 13,284 taxi medallions in New York City.

He leased them to a man, Gene Freedman, who would later cooperate with prosecutors.

‘He would lease my medallion or medallions .. and he would pay me a certain sum every month, whether he made money or didn’t,’ Cohen says.

‘The only way to have a taxi is you have to have a medallion affixed to the front,’ he says.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 16: Todd Blanche, attorney for former US President Donald Trump, sits in the courtroom at Manhattan Criminal Court on May 16, 2024 in New York City. Former U.S. President Donald Trump faces 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in the first of his criminal cases to go to trial. (Photo by Jeenah Moon-Pool/Getty Images)

Blanche brings Cohen back to his lies to Congress about Trump Moscow tower project

Blanche is playing out Cohen’s lies to the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence about a Trump Moscow tower project he pursued.

Blanche gets him to acknowledge he lied to agents and prosecutors, to Congress, and to the special counsel.

‘You lied about the Moscow project, correct?’ Blanche asks.

‘Correct,’ Cohen responds.

‘When you stopped the project was a lie, correct?’

A woman holds a banner outside Trump Tower before Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. President Donald Trump departs to attend his criminal trial over charges that he falsified business records to conceal money paid to silence porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016, in New York City, U.S., May 2, 2024. REUTERS/Mike Segar

Revenge is a dish ‘best served cold’: Cohen played podcast where he said ‘I really f***king hope this man ends up in prison’

Blanche continues to draw on Cohen’s public statements to try to get at his motive.

In one podcast statement, Cohen says ‘I truly f***ing hope that this man ends up in prison,’ referring to Trump.

‘Revenge is a dish best served cold and you better believe I want this man to go down and rot inside for what he did to me and my family,’ he says in another.

And he gets another insult into the record, this time with Trump responding on X to a Donald Trump post attacking him.

‘You called him dumbass Donald does that sound right?’ Blanche asks.

‘Sounds correct,’ Cohen responds.

Cohen being played his own podcast

Cohen puts on headphones and gets played his own Mea Culpa podcast.

Prosecutors object to it being into evidence but it gets played aloud in court.

Cohen’s radio voice is notably amped up from his witness stand demeanor, as he discusses meeting with DA Alvin Bragg and his desire for Trump to go through trouble.

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‘He’s about to get a taste of what I went through and I promise you, it’s not fun,’ Cohen said, mentioning fingerprinting and a mug shot.

It ‘fills me with delight and sadness all at the same time,’ the jury hears him announce on tape.

Michael Cohen departs his apartment building on his way to Manhattan criminal court, Thursday, May 16, 2024, in New York. The prosecutors' star witness in the hush money case against former President Donald Trump is returning to the witness stand as defense lawyers try to chip away at Cohen's crucial testimony implicating the former president.  (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

The judge is getting irritated by defense lawyer

There’s been a tricky back and forth between defense lead Todd Blanche and Michael Cohen over messages he exchanged with a detective last year, around the time the New York Times reported that a grand jury had indicted Trump. Blanche is clearly trying to get at whether Cohen was given information before the indictment was unsealed, but the defense has successfully objected to multiple rounds of questioning.

Blanche asks Judge Juan Merchan for a sidebar to discuss the issue.

Blanche: ‘May we approach?’

There have already been discussions about what is allowed during this phase. And yhe brusque exchange is a blow to the defense which is struggling to land any blows and is now moving on to another line of questioning.

Justice Juan Merchan presides as Michael Cohen is cross examined by defense lawyer Todd Blanche during former U.S. President Donald Trump's criminal trial on charges that he falsified business records to conceal money paid to silence porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016, in Manhattan state court in New York City, U.S. May 14, 2024 in this courtroom sketch. REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg

Trump ally Tom Cotton insists there’s no evidence of a crime in the hush money case

‘If the prosecution rests its case based on the evidence they’ve put forward, then this judge should redeem himself for all the erroneous rulings he’s made so far by directing a verdict of not guilty,’ Cotton said on CNN this morning.

He went on to add that there has been no evidence of a crime whatsoever.

Trump’s campaign has been highlighting clips and opinion pieces of his allies saying there’s no case for the prosecution.

Cohen getting grilled about ‘leak’ of word that Trump was getting indicted

Cohen was asked about his texts with detective Jeremy Rosenberg, a supervising investigator in the Manhattan district attorney’s office.

Questions are going to where and when Cohen learned Trump was being indicted.

Cohen says he learned it from the New York Times.

‘He didn’t tell you before there was an unsealing indictment that it was done?’ Blanche asks him.

Prosecutors objected to the use of the term ‘leak’ in Blanche’s questions.

Michael Cohen departs his apartment building on his way to Manhattan criminal court, Thursday, May 16, 2024, in New York. The prosecutors' star witness in the hush money case against former President Donald Trump is returning to the witness stand as defense lawyers try to chip away at Cohen's crucial testimony implicating the former president.(AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

Trump is wearing his signature blue suit and a red tie

Donald Trump is seated in the courtroom wearing a blue suit and red tie.

He had been closing his eyes during the long sidebar between the attorneys and Judge Merchan.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump appears at Manhattan Supreme Court during his hush money trial filed by DA Bragg, in New York, U.S.. May 16 2024. REUTERS/Mike Segar/Pool

Michael Cohen’s former adviser blasts him on Fox News as cross-examination resumes

Lawyer Bob Costello appeared on Fox News just as Michael Cohen was set to retake the witness stand as a key witness in Donald Trump’s hush money case.

Costello appeared before a House committee on Wednesday where he claimed Cohen lied on the stand.

Costello told Fox News on Thursday that he spoke with Cohen during his prior criminal trial. He claims he advised Cohen in 2018 to offer up information on Trump in order to cut a deal, but Cohen told him he has ‘nothing’ on the then-president.

Costello said he has not been subpoenaed to testify by the defense but said he would recommend that Trump’s lawyers call on him.

Judge tells jury it may be necessary to work Wednesday

Judge Merchan tells the jury it may be ‘necessary’ to work Wednesday – the day the Trump trial has usually been pausing.

He wants to know if any have conflicts or hardships, He also mentions various holidays and other factors. It could signal the trial is wrapping up.

Former President Donald Trump appears at Manhattan Supreme Court in New York, Thursday, May 16 2024. (Mike Segar/Pool via AP)

Cross-examination resumes with apology from judge

Judge Merchan didn’t say what the lengthy sidebar was about.

‘I apologize for all the whispering, we’re ready to get started,’ is all he told the jury.

Judge Merchan holds ‘sidebar’ with lawyers

Lawyers for the prosecution and the defense begin the day in court with another sidebar with Judge Merchan.

They ended Tuesday with some housekeeping discussion of when Cohen’s cross-examination might end and whether or not an expert witness would be called.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 16: Todd Blanche, attorney for former US President Donald Trump, sits in the courtroom at Manhattan Criminal Court on May 16, 2024 in New York City. Former U.S. President Donald Trump faces 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in the first of his criminal cases to go to trial. (Photo by Jeenah Moon-Pool/Getty Images)

House Freedom Caucus scores prime seats and Matt Gaetz moves up close

Members of the House Republican Freedom caucus are seated behind Trump in the courtroom. Members spotted include Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado and Trump loyalist Matt Gaetz of Florida.

Reps. Tim Walz, Bob Good, and Andy Biggs are also part of Trump’s entourage.

There was some shuffling in the courtroom to find space for everyone, and Gaetz got moved to the front next to Eric Trump.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 16: Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) (R) listens as former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the media during his trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments at Manhattan Criminal Court on May 16, 2024 in New York City. Trump was charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records last year, which prosecutors say was an effort to hide a potential sex scandal, both before and after the 2016 presidential election. Trump is the first former U.S. president to face trial on criminal charges. (Photo by Angela Weiss-Pool/Getty Images)

Trump sits down in court as Blanche prepares to resume cross examination

Former President Donald Trump is seated in the courtroom. He chatted with lawyer Emil Bove at the defense table. Blanche stood as he prepared to resume cross-examination of Michael Cohen.

Photrgraphers are once again getting a close-up of the defendant.

Donald Trump speaks to reporters before entering courtroom

Former President Donald Trump spoke to reporters before entering the courtroom.

Trump blasted the case against him as a ‘scam’ and claimed the security outside the Manhattan criminal court is like ‘Fort Knox.’ While there is enhanced security at the court, members of the public is allowed to attend his trial.

The ex-president said the one good thing to come out of the hush money trial is his polling.

He did not answer a shouted question about whether he would testify.

Matt Gaetz and full GOP entourage arrive to support Trump in court

Trump is flanked by a handful of his closest GOP allies at his trial.

Freedom Caucus Chair Bob Good, Matt Gaetz, Lauren Boebert, Anna Paulina Luna, Michael Waltz and Andy Biggs are standing behind him as he addresses reporters outside the courtroom.

Reps. Tim Waltz, Diana Harshbarger, Eli Crane, Ralph Norman, Andy Ogles, Michael Cloud and Virginia State Sen. McGuire are also in court supporting Trump.

Where things stood at end of Tuesday’s cross-examination

Judge Juan Merchan decided to end court for the day on Tuesday during lawyer Todd Blanche’s cross-examination of Michael Cohen.

Blanche had asked Cohen if he was concerend that a new DA was circulating negative stories about him.

Cohen agreed that he dealt with the subject in his book.

Cohen had admitted calling himself a ‘fixer’ and said he made about $3.4 million on a pair of books that dealt extensively with Trump.

Blanche told the judge he would likely finish his cross-examamination Thursday.

‘No rush, take your time,’ Merchan told him.

Justice Juan Merchan presides as Michael Cohen is questioned by prosecutor Susan Hoffinger during former U.S. President Donald Trump's criminal trial on charges that he falsified business records to conceal money paid to silence porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016, in Manhattan state court in New York City, U.S. May 14, 2024 in this courtroom sketch. REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg

Donald Trump departs Trump Tower to head to criminal court

Before his appearance in court on Friday, Trump conducted an interview with KTSP in Minnesota.

He has lamented that the court’s schedule is keeping him off the campaign trail.

Trump appealed his gag order to New York’s highest court

Trump’s legal team initiated a new appeal of his gag order on Wednesday evening.

He is not allowed to discuss witnesses, jurors and others in the twisted web of his hush money case.

Trump has already been fined $10,000 by Judge Merchan for violating the order.

He has also been threatened with jail if he violates it again.

Michael Cohen arrives at Manhattan court

Michael Cohen arrived to court before he is set to answer questioned by Trump’s attorneys.

He was seen wearing a pale yellow tie and dark suit.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 16: Michael Cohen, former U.S. President Donald Trump's former attorney (3rd L) arrives at Manhattan Criminal Court for Trump's hush money trial on May 16, 2024 in New York City. Cohen, former U.S. President Donald Trump's former attorney, will take the stand again today to continue his cross examination by the defense in the former president's hush money trial. Cohen's $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels is tied to Trump's 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in the first of his criminal cases to go to trial.  (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)
epa11344787 Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen (C) leaves his apartment building on his way to testify in former US president Donald Trump's ongoing criminal trial at New York State Supreme Court in New York, New York, USA, 16 May 2024. Trump is facing 34 felony counts of falsifying business records related to payments made to adult film star Stormy Daniels during his 2016 presidential campaign.  EPA/JUSTIN LANE
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 16: Michael Cohen, former personal lawyer to former U.S. President Donald Trump, and attorney Danya Perry leave his apartment building on his way to Manhattan Criminal Court on May 16, 2024 in New York City. Cohen will continue his cross examination by the defense in the former president's hush money trial. Cohen's $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels is tied to Trump's 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in the first of his criminal cases to go to trial.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Has Trump breached his gag order again?

Donald Trump could be in danger of another breach of the gag order imposed on him by the judge, according to some legal experts.

The suggestion came amid reports that Trump wrote notes to instruct allies what to say when they delivered speeches outside court earlier this week.

David R. Lurie, an attorney in New York, wrote on X:

Those notes are not privileged documents…the notes could evidence violations of the court’s order.

The much awaited cross-examination of Michael Cohen began with a shock-and awe opening meant to shatter the composure of the witness, but ended with the usual courtroom tedium and Cohen correcting Donald Trump’s lawyer on real estate.

There were swear words, insults – ‘Cheeto-dusted villain’ is one – and questions about Cohen’s move from Trump loyalist to resistance crusader, and whether it was an awakening or self-serving scheme.

Many of Blanche’s early punches didn’t land, and had the effect of bringing Cohen’s wealth of character attacks on Trump, like calling him a con man he was ashamed to work for, into the record.

Emails introduced into evidence in the Donald Trump trial reveal a move to set up a ‘back channel’ to President Trump that would run through Rudy Giuliani at a time Michael Cohen was lawyering up after an FBI raid on his apartment and office.

It was designed ‘sort of to be covert. It’s all back-channel. Sort of I Spyish,’ is how Cohen put it during his second day of testimony in the Trump hush money trial Tuesday.

Lawyer Bob Costello tore into Michael Cohen during a House hearing Wednesday – hours after the former Trump fixer called him ‘shifty’ and accused him of trying to set up a ‘back channel’ to then-President Donald Trump.

‘I read Michael Cohen’s testimony from yesterday’s trial in New York on the way down on the train, and virtually every statement he made about me is another lie,’ Costello told a House committee on ‘weaponization’ of government.

The comments came along with a blistering statement Costello released, where he blasted ‘lawfare’ he said was being deployed against Trump, and wrote about meetings with prosecutors along with Cohen.

Cohen ‘took a foolish step by lying that he had evidence that Rudy Giuliani and I had conspired to obstruct justice by dangling a pardon for him to keep his mouth shut about Donald Trump. That was totally false and utter nonsense,’ Costello said.

And he went after Cohen’s motive – in a possible teaser to what Trump’s legal team has in store for him in a second day of cross-examination set for Thursday in Manhattan criminal court.

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