‘Be Careful’: CNN Panel Says Trump Prosecution May Be Making ‘Misstep’ By Showing ‘Salacious’ Headlines


Daily Caller News Foundation logo
Jason Cohen Contributor
Font Size:

CNN panelists warned Tuesday that prosecutors may have made a “misstep” in Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s case against former President Donald Trump by spending substantial time showing “salacious” National Enquirer headlines to the jury.

Prosecutor Matthew Colangelo argued during opening statements Monday that Trump sought to “corrupt” the 2016 election through payments to porn star Stormy Daniels, emphasizing three “catch and kill” deals the former president allegedly coordinated with his former lawyer Michael Cohen and former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker to block damaging stories from becoming public. The outlet also published negative headlines about Trump’s 2016 opponents, with prosecutors showing them to the jury and panelists on “Inside Politics With Dana Bash” saying that other aspects of the case were far more important to present to jurors. (RELATED: MSNBC Legal Analyst ‘Really Nervous’ Trump’s Comments Outside Courthouse Could Sway Jurors)


“There’s a risk for the prosecution because … a lot of this stuff is not criminal, and I disagree that some of this would be an in-kind campaign contribution because the Supreme Court’s holding in Citizens United did kind of move this outside of that,” former Trump attorney Tim Panatore said. “And so if they spend too much time on this, especially right at the beginning, and an appellate court looks at it and say[s], ‘you’ve prejudiced this jury by presenting all this information that is salacious, amoral, but not criminal,’ then that is the type of thing that can improperly sway the jury to the other side.” (RELATED: ‘Limited Tools’: CNN Panel Dismayed Judge Likely Will Levy Fines On Trump Rather Than ‘Lock Him Up’)

Trump is facing 34 felony counts of allegedly falsifying business documents pertaining to payments to porn star Stormy Daniels in exchange for her silence regarding an alleged affair in the lead-up to the 2016 election.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – APRIL 22: Former U.S. President Donald Trump arrives at Manhattan Criminal Court, flanked by lawyer Todd Blanche (R), for his trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments at Manhattan Criminal Court on April 22, 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. Donald Trump’s unprecedented criminal trial is set for opening statements after final jury selection ended Friday. (Photo by Victor J. Blue – Pool/Getty Images)

“To me, this may actually turn out to be a misstep by the prosecution, by spending so much time on this when really this case is about the business record entries of the payments to Michael Cohen, which have nothing to do with any of this,” he added. (RELATED: Anti-Trump Legal Commentators Are Reportedly Coordinating Their Media Talking Points Behind Closed Doors)

Crucial documents lacking Trump’s signature may pose issues for Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s case, criminal defense attorney Arthur Aidala told CNN on Monday, noting that the former president’s signature is present on a check, but not other key documents. He said a jury could find “reasonable doubt” about Trump’s involvement compared to Cohen’s.

“They have to be careful as they‘re putting up their fourth and fifth headline,” CNN senior legal analyst Elie Honig said. “They better put the brakes on that.”

All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact