NEW YORK: Donald Trump’s lawyer on Thursday accused star witness Michael Cohen of lying at the former US president’s trial about a phone conversation he claimed to have had with Trump about a hush-money payment to a adult film star shortly before the 2016 presidential election.

Trump’s lawyer Todd Blanche said the phone conversation was about harassment from a prank caller and not, as Cohen had asserted in previous testimony, about a $130,000 payment that bought the silence of porn star Stormy Daniels at the centre of the month-long trial.

“That is a lie,” Blanche said. “You can admit it!” “No sir I can’t, because I am not certain that is accurate,” Cohen responded. He said he believed that he spoke with Trump’s then-bodyguard Keith Schiller about the harassment and also spoke briefly with Trump about the payment. “We are not asking for your belief,” Blanche said, raising his voice.

The exchange followed several hours of questioning by Blanche designed to cast Trump’s former fixer as a spiteful turncoat eager to see his former boss behind bars.

Blanche played jurors audio clips of Cohen saying that the case “fills me with delight” and that he felt “giddy with hope and laughter” imagining Trump and his family in prison.

He pointed out that Cohen had privately sought a pardon from Trump while publicly saying he would not accept one.

Published in Dawn, May 17th, 2024

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