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Donald Trump faces ‘uphill battle’ in trial – legal analyst

Former President Donald Trump’s lawyers face an uphill battle to convince jurors of his innocence, a legal analyst said.

Los Angeles-based senior trial attorney David Ring responded to Tuesday’s closing arguments in Trump’s hush money case in New York City, in which Trump attorney Todd Blanche repeatedly attacked the testimony of star witness Michael Cohen.

Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee for 2024, last month became the first former president in US history to stand trial in a criminal case. Following an investigation by the office of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, Trump was indicted in March 2023 on charges of falsifying corporate records related to hush money paid by Cohen, then a Trump lawyer, to adult film star Stormy Daniels during the presidential Trump campaign in 2016. Daniels claimed she had an affair with Trump in 2006, which he denied. The former president has denied being guilty of all charges and said the case against him is politically motivated.

Trump Court NY
Former President Donald Trump leaves Trump Tower to attend his trial at Manhattan Criminal Court on May 28 in New York City. Trump’s lawyers presented closing arguments to the jury the same day.

James Devaney/Getty Images

Newsweek On Tuesday, he requested comment from Trump’s lawyer by email.

“Trump has an uphill battle ahead of him given the substantial evidence presented by the prosecution in the trial,” Ring said Newsweek. “We’ll be hearing a lot about Michael Cohen’s lack of credibility, his felony convictions, his admission of lying under oath, and the theft of money from Trump’s business.

“Cohen is the lynchpin. In any case, any juror would be reluctant to convict any defendant, let alone Donald Trump, based on Michael Cohen’s testimony, background and all the baggage he brings.

Trump will also draw attention to the thin legal basis of the case. What is the underlying crime Trump committed by paying hush money to Stormy Daniels? “

Ring said Trump’s team will also rely on the fact that Trump is a former president.

“The elephant in the jury room is the pressure these jurors will face if they are asked to convict a former president of the United States and perhaps change the course of the 2024 election,” he said. “Are they willing and able to unanimously convict Trump? All it takes is a single holdout and it’s a mistrial.”

Blanche told the jury during closing arguments that a $420,000 payment from Trump to Cohen was for legal services, and not to repay hush money Cohen gave to Daniels. Blanche said Cohen demanded his annual bonus, not a refund.

“Do you believe that for a moment… that after he was punished with his bonus in 2016, when he thought he had worked so hard… do you think Mr. Cohen thought, ‘I’m going to work for free? ?'” Blanche asked the judges.

“The idea that President Trump would agree to pay Mr. Cohen $420,000 even though he only owed him $130,000 is absurd.”

Blanche said the charges allege an “intent to defraud,” which he said means “a conscious purpose, a purpose to defraud” in making the allegedly false returns.

“There is no evidence of that, ladies and gentlemen,” he said. “How can there be intent to defraud… when (Trump) has disclosed it to the IRS, he’s tweeting about it and filing it in his office for government ethics forms?”