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Live updates from the Trump trial as Michael Cohen begins third day of testimony

The fifth week of Donald Trump’s criminal trial in New York ends as it began: with the former president’s ex-lawyer Michael Cohen at the helm.

Cohen, the key witness in the case against Trump, was questioned for a day and a half by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s prosecutors before Trump’s lawyer, Todd Blanche, attacked him Tuesday afternoon, the last day the court was in session.

Blanche confronted Cohen with her own crude statements about Trump and his lawyers.

Blanche targeted his motives and credibility, with Cohen curtly parrying the attacks. Confronted with recent statements in which he called Blanche a “crying little shit” and Trump an “asshole dictator,” Cohen responded, “That sounds like something I would say. »

Asked about a series of times he effusively praised Trump in 2015, Cohen said he was “on his knees in the cult of Donald Trump.”

Blanche also forced Cohen to acknowledge his history of lying under oath and change his mind about his dealings with Trump. Blanche suggested that Cohen became cooperative with authorities investigating Trump while seeking a reduced prison sentence in 2019. Cohen pleaded guilty to federal charges in 2018 and ultimately served 13 months in prison.

Under questioning previously by prosecutor Susan Hoffinger, Cohen said he hoped Trump would protect him from charges if he remained loyal and lied about $130,000 hush money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election. Cohen testified that Trump approved a plan to reimburse Cohen for the payment over the following year.

Before Cohen’s cross-examination, prosecutors presented jurors with the 34 business records they say were falsified to conceal the payment to Daniels, showing invoices, vouchers and checks corresponding to each criminal charge to which Trump faces. The former president has pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors told the court Tuesday that Cohen would be their final witness. Blanche told the judge, Juan Merchan, that he was not sure if Trump would testify on his own behalf, or if they would call witnesses. The court will not meet on Friday.

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