Jonathan Turley Says Trump Defense Made Right Move By Not Calling Alvin Bragg’s Missing Key Witness

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George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley said on Tuesday that former President Donald Trump’s defense made the correct decision not to call previous Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg as a witness.

Michael Cohen, Trump’s former attorney, testified that he and Weisselberg met with the former president in January 2017, where Trump approved payments to Cohen amounting to $420,000, but Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg chose not to call the former CFO as a witness. Turley said on “The Faulkner Focus” that Bragg did not call Weisselberg as a witness because he would have countered Cohen’s testimony, but that the defense should not have called him either because calling him could have posed uncontrollable risks. (RELATED: ‘Didn’t Make Any Sense’: Jonathan Turley Says Michael Cohen May Have Committed Perjury … Again)

“Quite frankly, I don’t think it is a miss for the defense for a couple of reasons,” Turley said in response to a question by host Harris Faulkner. “First of all … the absence of Weisselberg has got to be hit by the defense in its closing argument. There’s only one reason why the government would not call Weisselberg, and that’s that Weisselberg would contradict Cohen. Why else would you put a serial perjurer on the stand, but not the guy that he keeps on referencing? It was an agreement between Cohen and Weisselberg that defined this as a retainer and yet they didn’t call that other half of the agreement.”


“For the defense, there’s reasons why they didn’t call him, because Weisselberg could have been, just as they saw with Costello, used to bring in a whole bunch of other areas that they couldn’t control,” he continued. “Also for Weisselberg, this is a prosecution that has repeatedly threatened him to prosecute him again. So he won’t be eager to cross the prosecutors and look at another stint at Rikers.”

Closing Arguments Begin In Former President Donald Trump's Hush Money Trial

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MAY 28: Former U.S. President Donald Trump arrives for his hush money trial at Manhattan Criminal Court on May 28, 2024 in New York City. Closing arguments are set to begin in former U.S. President Trump’s hush money trial. The former president faces 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in the first of his criminal cases to go to trial. (Photo by Andrew Kelly-Pool/Getty Images)

Defense attorney Randy Zelin said on Tuesday that Weisselberg’s absence is just one example of reasonable doubt for the jury to find in Bragg’s case against Trump.

“There is reasonable doubt all over this case,” Zelin said on CNN. “Where is Keith Schiller, where is Allen Weisselberg? How did Michael Cohen get away with stealing $30,000? Hold a pity party for him, made $4 million on this, thought he‘d be chief of staff. He’s a fixer. If the plumber comes to my house to fix my leak, I could be home. That doesn’t mean I know how he‘s doing it and what it’s taking to be fixed.”

Cohen admitted while he testified under cross-examination that he stole funds from the Trump Organization.

MSNBC legal analyst Danny Cevallos on Wednesday also said Weisselberg’s absence could be part of the Trump defense’s formidable argument for acquittal.

“I expect you’re going to see an empty chair defense,” Cevallos said. “Where was Allen Weisselberg? They could have called him and they didn’t. His handwriting is literally all over the exhibits. That may show that this was an Allen Weisselberg-Michael Cohen production and not Donald Trump.”

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