Jonathan Turley Lays Out How Prosecutors Could Be Using Michael Cohen To Avoid Swift Defeat

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George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley said Monday that prosecutors from Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office could be using former attorney Michael Cohen to avoid a “directed verdict” in the case against former President Donald Trump.

Cohen, a former fixer for former President Donald Trump who had previously pled guilty to charges of lying to Congress and was accused of perjury, took the stand Monday to testify in the case centered around a $130,000 payout to porn star Stormy Daniels. Prior to Cohen’s testimony, New York Judge Juan Merchan denied a request from prosecutors to introduce a severance agreement of former Trump Organization Allen Weisselberg into evidence before Cohen. (RELATED: ‘Lying And Lying’: CNN Panel Devolves Into Bickering After Guest Questions Michael Cohen’s Credibility)

“It was really interesting before his testimony to watch this effort to get in the agreement of the accountant. That was such an obvious and dishonest move by the prosecutors,” Turley said, referring to Weisselberg’s severance agreement. “You have to wonder whether this judge is having second thoughts about his failure to stop this case or at least force the prosecution to be clear about it. There is nothing stopping the prosecutor from calling that accountant, so the introduction of that agreement was clearly intended to suggest to the jury that they have some smoking gun evidence, but because of this agreement they can’t present it. That’s entirely untrue and so Merchan was right to say I’m not going to let you do that.”


“It goes to how this is a Potemkin village of a case. They are proving stuff not in evidence while leaving suggestions of stuff that is in evidence with the jury,” Turley continued. “So the thing to keep in mind is: When the prosecution wraps up its case, the defense will stand up and make a standard motion for a directed verdict to say there is insufficient evidence to support a crime in this case. That’s an extremely powerful argument because you have seen we’re still debating what the crime is. Even on this network, you have people disagreeing as to what the theory of this case is and the prosecution is about to wrap.”

Bragg secured the indictment for 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in March 2023. He alleged that the payment to Daniels was done to conceal or commit another crime, which was not specified in the indictment. (RELATED: ‘Damn Big Deal’: CNN’s Elie Honig Says Stormy Daniels’ Responses Were ‘Disastrous’ For Alvin Bragg’s Case)

“Now, what the prosecution is worried about is that even Judge Merchan may just say ‘You know what? I gave you a shot and you didn’t sink it and so I’m going to direct this verdict, I’m going to issue an acquittal,’” Turley said. “The way they are going to get around that is just get Cohen to say ‘this happened, that he intentionally wanted me to put – wanted this to be a legal expense, he intentionally was committing fraud, he was trying to conceal campaign violations,’ even though very few people on earth would believe Michael Cohen, the prosecutors will argue to the judge ‘that is a credibility question, judge, and you need to let this go to the jury, whether you believe him or not, that is a fact question for the jury.’ That is their entire strategy, and so as unbelievable as Cohen may be, I don’t think the prosecutors think he will be believable, they just want him to check a box.”

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