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Defense keys on Michael Cohen's credibility at Trump's hush money trial

Defense keys on Michael Cohen's credibility at Trump's hush money trial


Defense keys on Michael Cohen's credibility at Trump's hush money trial

NEW YORK — With prosecutors' hush money case against Donald Trump barreling toward its end, their star witness will be back in the hot seat Thursday as defense lawyers try to chip away at Michael Cohen's crucial testimony implicating the former president.

The trial, now in its fourth week of testimony, will resume in Manhattan with potentially explosive defense cross-examination of Cohen, whose credibility could determine the presumptive Republican presidential nominee’s fate in the case.

With the defense not expected to call many witnesses, Cohen's cross-examination is a pivotal moment for Trump's team, who must convince jurors that his once loyal attorney and fixer can't be believed. The defense has suggested that Cohen is on a mission to take down the former president and will say whatever he needs to put Trump behind bars.

Defense attorney Todd Blanche began grilling Cohen on Tuesday with questions unrelated to the criminal charges but designed to show that Cohen turned on Trump because he wanted fame and revenge. Blanche confronted Cohen with profane social media posts, a podcast and books about the former president, getting Cohen to acknowledge that he has made millions of dollars off his new persona as one of Trump's fiercest critics.

Defense lawyers are expected to question Cohen through the end of the day on Thursday. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg's office has said it will rest its case once he's done on the stand, though it could have an opportunity to call rebuttal witnesses if Trump's lawyers put on witnesses of their own.

The defense isn't obligated to call any witnesses, and it's unclear whether the attorneys will do so. Blanche told Judge Juan M. Merchan on Tuesday that the defense may call one expert witness and that there was still no determination on whether Trump would take the stand.

In any event, the trial will take Friday off so Trump can attend the high school graduation of his youngest son, Barron.