Michael Cohen pressed on his crimes and lies as Trump lawyers attack his credibility

Michael Cohen pressed on his crimes and lies as Trump lawyers attack his credibility

Michael Cohen pressed on his crimes and lies as Trump lawyers attack his credibility

NEW YORK — With prosecutors’ hush money case against Donald Trump barreling toward its end, defense lawyers pressed former attorney Michael Cohen on his criminal history and past lies Thursday as they worked to convince jurors not to believe the star witness' testimony.

Cohen was back in the hot seat for a third day of testimony as defense lawyers painted Trump's fixer-turned-foe as a spurned former employee who will say whatever it takes to put the presumptive Republican presidential nominee behind bars.

Under questioning from defense attorney Todd Blanche, Cohen admitted to lying under oath when he pleaded guilty to federal charges, including tax fraud, in 2018 as well as lying to Congress about work he did on a Trump real estate deal in Russia.

“It was a lie? Correct?” Blanche asked Cohen about whether he lied to the late U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III at a court hearing about not being pressured into pleading guilty.

“Correct,” Cohen said.

Over several days on the witness stand, Cohen placed Trump directly at the center of the alleged scheme to stifle negative stories to fend off damage to his White House bid. Cohen told jurors that Trump promised to reimburse him for the money he fronted and was constantly updated about efforts to silence women who alleged sexual encounters with him. Trump denies the women’s claims.

Trump, who insists the prosecution is an effort to damage his campaign to reclaim the White House, says the payments to Cohen were properly categorized as legal expenses because Cohen was a lawyer. The defense has suggested that he was trying to protect his family, not his campaign, by squelching what he says were false, scurrilous claims.

“The crime is that they’re doing this case,” he told reporters Thursday before entering the courtroom, flanked by a group of congressional allies that included Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., and Rep. Bob Good, R-Va., the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus.

Blanche confronted Cohen with profane social media posts, a podcast and books he wrote about the former president, getting Cohen to acknowledge that he has made millions of dollars off slamming Trump. In one clip played in court Thursday, Cohen could be heard using an expletive and saying he truly hopes “that this man ends up in prison.”

“It won’t bring back the year that I lost or the damage done to my family. But revenge is a dish best served cold,” Cohen was heard saying. “You better believe that I want this man to go down.”

Cohen acknowledged he has continued to attack Trump, even during the trial.