Transcripts and More in Trump's Hush Money Trial

When covering a trial, there is nothing better to read for accuracy than the court transcripts. In almost all federal trials, transcripts are guarded like hawks, because that's how court reporters make their money. By the page. In major trials, the major media companies form a consortium and pitch in together to share the cost. But they rarely share, due to the court reporter's right to charge for each copy. The Trump hush-money trial is not in federal court, and some state courts are better attuned to transparency with their citizens.

So let's give thanks to the New York State Court system, which has made the Trump Hush Money trial transcripts available now, for free. And thanks to the New York Times for publishing them all. So you all don't hit another pay wall, since I am a Times subscriber, I have ten free links to share a month. Here is my free and shareable link to the transcripts.

Should the link not work, with a little bit of help from Google, I'm sure you can find the New York State Unified Court System website which should have the link, or another media outlet that's decided to post them.

By reading the transcripts, we all avoid fake news. [More...]

A question I had, is how much do the facts as being presented by witnesses in the state case line up with the facts the feds alleged in 2019 against Michael Cohen in his federal case? The affidavits for the search warrants in Cohen's cases present what the feds believed then. All the Cohen search warrant affidavits are here. They are 899 pages but I recommend the Loews Hotel room affidavit which begins at page 272 and runs for 201 pages. It is document number 48-2, and the campaign violation/hush money part begins on page page 317, which is page 46, Paragraph 29 of Document 48-2. It details the hush money scheme, phone call by phone call -- including an 8 minute call between Cohen and Trump.

It's also noteworthy that the feds used "triggerfish" aka "stingray" devices on Cohen.

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    The Orange Dufus says (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu May 02, 2024 at 07:21:48 PM EST
    because of the gag order he is NOT ALLOWED TO TESTIFY.  
    I know his fans are not smart but I bet even some of them are smarter than that.

    Fact check: Trump falsely claims he's not allowed to testify at hush money trial

    I have (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu May 02, 2024 at 11:55:18 PM EST
    read this may cause his attorney to be called on the carpet by the judge to ask him if he explained 5th amendment rights to his client.

    It definitely seems (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 03, 2024 at 07:27:21 AM EST
    like something the judge would want to correct.



    Yes. Trump's (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by KeysDan on Fri May 03, 2024 at 08:27:23 AM EST
    false claim needs public correction.  However, I wonder if this doofus has conflated testimony in the trial with gag order constraints.  Not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

    The judge explained (5.00 / 3) (#7)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 03, 2024 at 09:52:41 AM EST
    that he "has every right" to testify

    Will he testify? (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 03, 2024 at 05:22:47 PM EST
    Against all odds I think he might.  I really hope so.

    His lawyers (none / 0) (#10)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri May 03, 2024 at 07:47:00 PM EST
    certainly don't want him to. Can you imagine him getting up there under oath repeating the same lies about how he didn't know Stormy Daniels and giving one of his crazy rally speeches in front of the jury? Yeah, I get why you hope he will. He would sink himself in short order.

    Obbiously (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 03, 2024 at 09:20:44 PM EST
    the stuff about not being allowed to testify is him looking for away out.

    He might chicken out but no one is going to believe he is not being allowed to testify.  

    Not even the 30%


    There seems to be some agreement (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 03, 2024 at 05:34:48 PM EST
    that Hope Hicks testimony was bad for Donald.

    To me that line about 2018 -- my whole body went cold," said Wallace. "Oh, my God. He confessed to her the whole thing was an election crime."

    An execution party (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu May 09, 2024 at 12:30:23 PM EST
    by the Execution Party.

    There's A GOP Plan For An Execution Spree If Trump Wins The White House

    Buried on page 554 of the plan is a directive to execute every remaining person on federal death row -- and dramatically expand the use of the death penalty.

    We have lost the ability (5.00 / 3) (#29)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu May 09, 2024 at 04:56:05 PM EST
    to be shocked apparently

    The article above does not shock me. (5.00 / 4) (#30)
    by vml68 on Thu May 09, 2024 at 06:43:51 PM EST
    What shocks me is that Tr*mp knows what an 'Oxford comma', is!

    ... with a likely guilty verdict and felony conviction, the obvious question is whether such a result changes both the political narrative on Donald Trump in the media and the political trajectory of the country at large.

    Most importantly, would Republicans avail themselves of the one final opportunity afforded by a guilty verdict to take the off-ramp on their highway to hell at their convention itself, and instead choose another candidate as the party's standard bearer - one who ISN'T a convicted felon?

    Both the GOP and the greater American electorate themselves are at an inflection point here. How they choose to respond will effectively determine our republic's fate.

    It's entirely possible that Republicans are now so far gone around the bend, they can no longer help themselves and will drive off that proverbial political cliff at 80 mph with all their freak flags flying. Whether or not they take the rest of the country along for that ride and plunge will be entirely up to voters.


    It will change nothing. (5.00 / 1) (#82)
    by Chuck0 on Fri May 24, 2024 at 03:26:05 PM EST
    The GQP is now a cult. They will see this conviction as a badge of honor and courage. It's how cults operate.

    Probably not with the party faithful (none / 0) (#84)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 24, 2024 at 04:38:48 PM EST
    the most disturbing part of this is how quickly and completely the whole party is being possessed

    They should never be allowed to escape saying he was crazy and dangerous and all the other stuff, but I'm voting for him because of student loan forgiveness.

    We should carve Ts in their foreheads, like Inglorious Basterds.  Never let them escape it.

    Democrats should run against the republican party.  Not individual politicians.  They need to show the whole party from the RNC down is corrupt.

    But you are right.  They are now all in.


    I have (none / 0) (#76)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri May 24, 2024 at 10:41:58 AM EST
    thought about this. First Trump's lawyers have been subtly notifying the press that they expect a guilty verdict. Secondly I see the GOP as overall being too cowardly to do something about running a convicted felon. The usual suspects like Romney will speak out but the rest will make excuses or attack the judge, prosecution and jury. I do wonder how Trump saying he did nothing wrong will play with some voters after a conviction.

    This is a fascist movement. (5.00 / 3) (#77)
    by KeysDan on Fri May 24, 2024 at 12:41:34 PM EST
    The Republicans will not be deterred by such a matter as a felony conviction(s).  In fact, it will be considered as a plus for their victimhood.

      We can only hope that there will be a big turnout of Democrats. And, that uncommitted "Independents" will have a wave of sanity come next November.  I believe this to be the case, but I also believe that the Republican Party has gone around the Bund.


    This is a fascist movement. (none / 0) (#81)
    by desertswine on Fri May 24, 2024 at 02:17:50 PM EST
    That's why they need all the guns.

    Thuggery (none / 0) (#85)
    by KeysDan on Fri May 24, 2024 at 04:51:52 PM EST
    and violence are bedrocks of fascism.

    The truth is (none / 0) (#78)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 24, 2024 at 01:34:13 PM EST
    80% of the population is not paying attention.  To the trial or even the election.

    Biden has stayed away from attacking Trump while the trial is happening.   Which makes total sense.

    When the trial is over that will change.  A guilty verdict would be great but there are other charges and other verdicts coming.  It started today with the DeNiro ad.  

    When the trial is over the campaign will start.
    And things will change.


    The ridiculous polls (none / 0) (#79)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 24, 2024 at 01:37:57 PM EST
    that have been flooding the airwaves are useful in showing just how unbelievably stupid/uninformed the average voter is.

    For example a significant number of those polled blamed Biden for the repeal of Roe.

    That will not be true in Nov.


    I have an idea why (none / 0) (#80)
    by Jack E Lope on Fri May 24, 2024 at 02:01:09 PM EST
    ...a significant number of those polled blamed Biden for the repeal of Roe.

    Trump claims credit for repealing Roe. That reinforces the idea - in the minds of many - that the President has that power.

    With just a little bit more gerrymandering and a bit more vote suppression and a bit more brazen use of the courts, the office of President might gain that level of power....


    Trump (none / 0) (#86)
    by KeysDan on Fri May 24, 2024 at 05:05:35 PM EST
    has declared that he " loves the poorly educated".   But, also, educated Republicans who know better love Trump.  Alito, for example, is a graduate of Princeton and Yale law.  He finds Trump a friend in his quest for a theocracy, as is fitting for a Christo-fascist (cf. appeal to heaven flag) and Opus Dei. Also, he has connections with the Trump family--having worked with Trump's sister, Mary Ann Trump, a federal judge who was a character witness at Alito's Supreme Court Senate confirmation hearing.

    There is poorly educated (5.00 / 1) (#87)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 24, 2024 at 05:23:11 PM EST
    and there is poorly informed.  

    I think great numbers of people who might vote in Nov who have simply tuned all this out.  And who could blame them.  

    They don't hear the horrible things he is saying.  
    They are not following the trial.  After all, everyone knows the trial doesn't matter because nothing will ever happen to Trump.

    They are going to hear every horrible thing he has ever said.  And they are going to hear he is a convicted felon. And they will be better informed.


    I agree (none / 0) (#88)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat May 25, 2024 at 11:18:19 AM EST
    that the majority probably have tuned this all out.

    Having sat on the appellate bench (5.00 / 1) (#94)
    by Peter G on Mon May 27, 2024 at 12:16:06 PM EST
    30 years ago with Judge Maryanne T. Barry -- who never made any secret of his disdain for her brother, Donald -- is in no genuine way a "connection with the Trump family." There is plenty to say against Alito that is fair and honest. I suggest we all stick to those things.

    I believe it is accurate (none / 0) (#95)
    by KeysDan on Mon May 27, 2024 at 04:07:20 PM EST
    to note that Alito has connections with the
    Trump family. The late Judge Maryanne Trump Barry was Donald Trump's sister and  Alito served under her when she was Assistant U.S. Attorney, chief of the appeals division.

    At the senate judiciary confirmation hearing for Alito as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Judge Trump Barry testified to his qualifications, saying she "embraced every glowing statement" made about him; he has "remarkable gifts": he is a "humble man"; "reveres the rule of law:" and if confirmed "will be a marvelous associate justice."

    Judge Trump Barry retired in 2019 amid investigations into her family's tax practices.

    True, Judge Trump Barry was reported to have criticized her brother saying "he has no principles" and is "cruel", but they were not estranged. Indeed, she attended his political events.  Trump, Melania, and adult Trump children, all attended Judge Trump Barry's funeral at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola, in Manhattan in November 2023.

    Alito was appointed to the federal bench by Reagan and to the appellate court by Clinton.
    It is possible that long-standing professional and personal relationships as well as effusive accolades by Judge Trump Barry at Alito's confirmation hearing would land on an appreciative Alito--one that may extend or connect to Trump and  family.  It is fair and honest, in my view, to note the undeniable family connection--brother and sister.  And,


    Better (none / 0) (#96)
    by KeysDan on Mon May 27, 2024 at 04:13:33 PM EST
    Polls are only as good as ... (none / 0) (#98)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue May 28, 2024 at 12:38:35 AM EST
    ... the pollsters who are conducting them and the sample size they're working from.

    I, for one, am floored by the wonderfully (5.00 / 6) (#97)
    by desertswine on Mon May 27, 2024 at 04:33:33 PM EST
    patriotic and inspirational message from former President Orangutan on this Memorial Day...

    "Happy Memorial Day to All, including the Human Scum that is working so hard to destroy our Once Great Country, & to the Radical Left, Trump Hating Federal Judge in New York that presided over, get this, TWO separate trials, that awarded a woman, who I never met before...  blah, blah, blah."

    Jeez, what an a..hole.

    I've been following the coversge (5.00 / 1) (#100)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue May 28, 2024 at 05:31:57 PM EST
    of the closing arguments all day,   no surprises except how long they are going.  The bobblehead consensus was they would have to be under a couple of hours.

    I can't imagine how glazed the jurors must be at this point. They started at 9.  

    Yeah, 11 hours (less breaks) in one day (none / 0) (#101)
    by Peter G on Wed May 29, 2024 at 09:11:00 AM EST
    is a very long time to sit and listen, much less to absorb information.

    Some legal bobblehead (none / 0) (#102)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed May 29, 2024 at 02:00:53 PM EST
    suggested the fact they wanted to get through all that yesterday so the could get on with deliberating might be a good sign.

    For the prosecution.  Maybe.  And maybe they just want it to be over,


    I was (5.00 / 1) (#103)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed May 29, 2024 at 06:16:16 PM EST
    thinking they just wanted to get it over. Stay until 8 and then get started on deliberations. Why drag it out for another half day

    I won't (none / 0) (#1)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu May 02, 2024 at 07:16:28 PM EST
    use up your link. I found the transcripts directly from the court here if anybody wants to use that.

    I am curious what you and/or Peter think of the trial. From what I have read the DA has brung the receipts and Trump's lawyers have made a ding here or there but really nothing to change the trajectory.

    He may be planning (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Jeralyn on Fri May 03, 2024 at 03:46:08 AM EST
    an extortion defense, crafted by his attorney Emil Bove.

    I don't think there is a limit on the number of times the link can be clicked on and read -- it's that I am only given 10 articles a month to share. Same with the Wall St Journal. I'm happy to pass them around.


    Judge Merchan put the kibosh on that. (5.00 / 2) (#36)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sun May 12, 2024 at 09:52:36 PM EST
    He rejected Emil Bove's subpoena to prosecutors for any and all documents relating to Stormy Daniels' "larceny" and "extortion" and further, Trump's alleged "victimhood." He labeled the request "a fashing expedition."

    I don't envy Mr. Bove or any of Trump's attorney's their job, particularly given their difficult client who prioritizes his own vanity over the good advice he's paying his attorneys to offer him.

    From my perspective, Donald Trump apparently views this criminal trial as an extension of his political campaign, which is a huge miscalculation on his part because that jury shouldn't be conflated with his adoring MAGA faithful. As a result, he put his attorneys into some rather untenable positions in court with little or no real freedom to maneuver or adapt.

    There was general consensus amongst MSNBC and CNN attorney-analysts that Thursday's continued cross-examination of prosecution witness Stormy Daniels by defense counsel Susan Necheles was the hill her client inexplicably chose to die upon in this trial, due to his continued insistence on publicly denying his sexual encounter with Ms. Daniels.

    Because Ms. Necheles was unable to simply stipulate that her client early on had a one-night tryst with Ms. Daniels and thus limit the witness' time on the stand, the prosecution was allowed to introduce Ms. Daniels' lurid story into evidence. Ms. Necheles was then compelled to pepper the witness on cross-examination with her client's own baseless contentions, which ultimately proved unsustainable when Ms. Daniels effectively stood her ground.

    I guess this is why Emil Bove, Susan Necheles and Todd Blanche are getting paid the big bucks. They're certainly earning them. It's not their fault they have a fool for a client.



    Oops - "a fishing expedition." (none / 0) (#37)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sun May 12, 2024 at 09:55:49 PM EST
    My bad.

    It's funny as "fashing expedition" (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by Jack E Lope on Mon May 13, 2024 at 06:41:14 PM EST
    LOL! (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue May 14, 2024 at 07:08:08 PM EST
    That, too. The entire Trump family is a fashing expedition.

    Question For Those Following Closely (none / 0) (#12)
    by RickyJim on Tue May 07, 2024 at 08:41:44 AM EST
    During the 2016 campaign, the National Enquirer's parent company AMI paid 150K to Karen McDougal and 30K to Dino Sajudin to catch and kill stories about Trump.  In contrast, Stormy Daniels only got 130K directly from Cohen/Trump.  Why wasn't AMI or its employees charged with a crime like election interference?  It surprises me that apparently Trump didn't do anything for them in return.  Thanks in advance to somebody who can explain this to me.

    I'm pretty sure they are free to exercise (none / 0) (#15)
    by Jack E Lope on Tue May 07, 2024 at 12:38:52 PM EST
    ...editorial discretion/judgement. Choosing stories to publish or not - even if that choice favors a candidate - wouldn't qualify as election interference.

    The press does this case a disservice by headlining the lurid and shady-sounding activities that were associated with allegedly-falsified business records.

    I don't think that much of the other behavior was illegal and/or offered enough evidence to prosecute.

    I continue to not be an attorney, so all of the above may be subject to correction.


    Pecker was (none / 0) (#16)
    by BGinCA on Tue May 07, 2024 at 02:51:31 PM EST
    charged, pleaded guilty and was granted immunity in exchange for his cooperation with the government.

    Stormy Today (none / 0) (#13)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue May 07, 2024 at 08:58:50 AM EST
    Andrew Weissman said yesterday they might not even call Cohen.  He's a risky witness and they may have proven all they have to prove without him.

    He also said at least twice, I saw, on air that the trial will not take "weeks" more.  More like days.
    In spite of the prosecution announcement yesterday it will take "several more weeks"

    I think that might be the Star Trek engine room strategy.  Double your time estimates so when you look good when it takes less time.

    Yikes (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue May 07, 2024 at 10:13:25 AM EST
    The mental image of Trump in silk pajamas will haunt my dreams. Some jurors too, I bet.

    I know (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue May 07, 2024 at 06:10:52 PM EST
    I thought OMG he thinks he's Hugh Hefner. ROTFLMAO.

    I love the reporting (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue May 07, 2024 at 07:10:00 PM EST
    that she physically acted out his pose on the bed.

    There is even a courtroom drawing with her in this pose they showed on CNN.

    Its funny.  


    Found (none / 0) (#20)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue May 07, 2024 at 07:12:50 PM EST
    Stormy Daniels' testimony... (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed May 08, 2024 at 01:16:16 AM EST
    ... on direct examination about her sexual encounter with Donald Trump struck me as remarkably similar to the stories told by Harvey Weinstein's victims regarding their initial experiences with the predatory Hollywood studio mogul.

    While Ms. Daniels clearly acquiesced to Trump, it hardly sounded mutually consensual, and she testified that all she thought during the act was that she just wanted it to be over. The power dynamic at play in these situations is glaringly obvious. Trump held out the prospect of a favor he had no intention of delivering in order to get what he wanted. I think that at a minimum, Ms. Daniels is a victim of abuse.

    Nicole Wallace said it best today on MSNBC, that we've been talking about "p*rn star Stormy Daniels" as though it's all just one word and she's a caricature. The witness on the stand reminded us today that there's a flesh-and-blood woman behind the story named Stephanie Clifford, a wife and mother who loves her family and whose true passion is equestrianism and her horses.

    It got very real today.


    Comparison to Weinstein (none / 0) (#22)
    by RickyJim on Wed May 08, 2024 at 10:59:43 AM EST
    doesn't bode well for the fate of the Trump case when appealed.
    In what reads like a bitterly argued 4-3 ruling, the New York Court of Appeals flipped Weinstein's felony sex crimes conviction that saw the much accused Pulp Fiction producer hit with a 23-year-sentence four years ago. Judge Jenny Rivera wrote in the majority opinion that the now ex-Justice James Burke "erroneously admitted testimony of uncharged, alleged prior sexual acts against persons other than the complainants of the underlying crimes."

    Likewise, most of Stormy's testimony didn't have much to do with the falsifying records charges.

    This (5.00 / 3) (#23)
    by FlJoe on Wed May 08, 2024 at 12:43:46 PM EST
    testimony had nothing to do with prior uncharged acts, they are current and charged, the testimony was relevant to that.

    If I Was On the Jury, (none / 0) (#27)
    by RickyJim on Thu May 09, 2024 at 10:33:19 AM EST
    I probably would be sent to jail for shouting at the judge, "Cut this horses*** out!".  Even if the Stormy affair with Trump never happened, it doesn't effect the actual charges in this case.  Money was paid to the doorman by AMI, probably with Trump's approval, for a story generally believed to be fake, but Trump was not charged with wrong doing since he didn't engage with the same shenanigans as done with the Stormy charges.  This case is all about what Cohen did for Trump.  Reading the updates from the courtroom in the NY Times infuriates me.  But I realize I can't do much about reforming the adversarial American jury trial.

    I absolutely disagree. (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Fri May 10, 2024 at 09:23:27 PM EST
    RickyJim: "Likewise, most of Stormy's testimony didn't have much to do with the falsifying records charges."

    While the respective behaviors of both Donald Trump and Harvey Weinstein toward women - and in particular, vulnerable women - are indeed quite similar, their respective cases are most assuredly not.

    Weinstein was indicted, tried and convicted in both New York and Los Angeles for multiple instances of sexual assault. For his part, Trump was indicted in New York on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records to conceal criminal conduct - in this case, an illegal and undisclosed $130,000 campaign contribution, which is the underlying crime - that hid damaging information from the voting public during the 2016 presidential election.

    And in Trump's case, the testimony offered by Stormy Daniels on the witness stand this week about Trump's sleazy behavior toward her back in 2006 constituted that "damaging information" which Trump sought to keep from voters in those final few weeks of the 2016 campaign.

    In context, let's please remember that Michael Cohen's purchase of Ms. Daniels' silence with a $130,000 payoff was the political equivalent of a tourniquet to staunch the perceived hemorrhage of Trump's public support following the release of that damaging "Access Hollywood" video.

    Unfortunately for both Cohen and Trump, it also constituted a felony campaign violation, to which Cohen would subsequently plead guilty in federal court in August 2018 and be sentenced to prison. And let's also please recall that in Cohen's federal indictment, Trump was named as "Individual 1" and an unindicted co-conspirator.

    Now, to be sure, Trump was never charged with the sexual assault of Ms. Daniels for their 2006 encounter in Lake Tahoe. But in my considered opinion, the defense's arguments to that effect before Judge Juan Merchan this week are a red herring.

    For their part, prosecutors countered that Trump's desire to prevent any information of that sexual encounter with Ms. Daniels from becoming public knowledge in the middle of his presidential campaign ten years later speaks directly to his motive for the subsequent alleged criminal conduct, for which he's (finally) been charged.

    While under more normal circumstances such boorish sexual behavior would be considered more personally embarrassing than criminal, no less than two grand juries - one federal, the other state - determined that Trump's and Cohen's subsequent efforts to cover up public knowledge of that 2006 tryst likely crossed over the line and warranted criminal charges.

    So, in that regard Stormy Daniels' sometimes-lurid testimony held considerable probative value. Speaking for myself only, it's likely prejudicial to those individuals who are personally squeamish when it comes to frank discussions about sex, or whose own personal attitudes toward human sexuality border on the prudish, puritanical and / or Victorian.

    Far from being irrelevant to the 34 felony counts of falsification of business records, Stormy Daniels' story of her 2006 encounter with Trump served as the primary catalyst for an effort by the 2016 Trump campaign to buy her silence, which in turn gave rise to the foolish attempt to falsely recast that hush money payment in the Trump Org.'s corporate ledgers as a series of legitimate business-related legal expenses.



    Surprise, I Agree With Most of What You Say (none / 0) (#32)
    by RickyJim on Sat May 11, 2024 at 03:42:21 PM EST
    But it didn't go to my main point.  The two days of Stormy Daniels had almost zilch probative value in deciding the case in comparison with testimony concerning how the payments to Cohen were handled.  I am certain that she wouldn't have been a witness if the deciders in this trial were professional judges.  So along with the two party system, electoral college, US Senate, etc, I would love to see jury trials eliminated.  

    Professional judges like Aileen Cannon? (5.00 / 3) (#33)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sun May 12, 2024 at 03:10:55 AM EST
    RickyJim: "I am certain that she wouldn't have been a witness if the deciders in this trial were professional judges."

    Again, the probative value of Stormy Daniels' testimony was her provision of context. The jury now likely understands why Donald Trump did not want Ms. Daniels' story out in public on the immediate heels of the "Access Hollywood" video and further, why he also took great pains to obfuscate his own connection to a hush money payment to an adult film star.

    Again, that context is necessary because it speaks directly to Trump's rationale and motive for allegedly ordering Michael Cohen to not just pay Ms. Daniels, but use his own money to do so. And that renders Trump's argument that this was a mere bookkeeping error attributable to one of his firm's accountants much less plausible.



    Yes (none / 0) (#34)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun May 12, 2024 at 04:16:49 PM EST
    All true.  And in my non professional opinion, she kicked butt.

    I wonder what the over under is that Cohen will show up with previously unseen evidence or recordings next week?

    I'm expecting next week to be fun.  


    I thought Stormy Daniels was awesome. (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon May 13, 2024 at 04:41:43 PM EST
    As I noted above, there's been a real tendency on the part of an often-snobbish media to caricature her as "PornStarStormyDaniels." The jury got to see and hear the real woman behind the oversexualized persona.

    Ms. Daniels proved herself to be a remarkably street-savvy and tough individual who is obviously nobody's fool. Most legal analysts on MSNBC and CNN were clearly surprised - although they probably shouldn't have been - by how well she stood her ground during cross-examination, when she faced down what I can only characterize as a relentless attempt by the defense to sl*t-shame her.

    Should Trump subsequently be convicted by this jury, I believe he will have lost his case in large part by continuing to deny publicly that he had sex with Ms. Daniels. Had he not done that, his attorneys could have stipulated to the more lurid aspects of Ms. Daniels' testimony prior to her ever taking the stand, which could have perhaps truncated that particular storyline in the courtroom.

    Instead, Trump's insistent denials on this point locked his own attorneys in an untenable position, while also allowing prosecutors an opportunity to present this witness to an attentive jury and prompt her to recount her encounter with Trump in rather excruciating detail. And as I said earlier, those details speak directly to his motive for attempting to suppress that story prior to the 2016 election.

    Further, because the defense repeatedly failed to object to much of that testimony, I believe New York law may well preclude them from appealing their client's prospective conviction on grounds that said testimony was more prejudicial than probative. However, I will defer to Peter's and Jeralyn's own knowledge and experience on that point.



    This has been a badly managed defense (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon May 13, 2024 at 05:18:01 PM EST
    It's obvious it's being run by Trump.  They have repeatedly done dumb stuff that seem clear to be Trumps wishes.

    Like insisting it was all lies which made Stormy's testimony necessary.

    I think he might actually insist on testifying.

    Think of the news coverage.  How could/can he resist not having his say and not having the last word.
    His lawyers must be so sick of him they might enjoy it.


    George Conway Thinks He Might Skate (none / 0) (#40)
    by RickyJim on Mon May 13, 2024 at 06:26:36 PM EST
    From a recent article in The Atlantic:
    And not only is sex not an element of the crime, but his strongest defense--the one he could actually skate on--will be to argue that there is insufficient evidence that he knew his people were falsifying business records. This defense faces many problems--including that Trump personally signed (on the Resolute desk!) some checks (made out to Cohen) in packets with false backup attached.

    Just what does he mean by "false backup."  Can anybody point me to the testimony in which this occurs?  TIA  


    "False backup" refers to ... (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue May 14, 2024 at 06:21:56 PM EST
    ... the attached fraudulent invoices from Michael Cohen for the non-existent services not rendered under the so-called "retainer agreement" between the two, nudge-nudge-wink-wink-say no more-say no more.

    False Backup (none / 0) (#42)
    by coast on Tue May 14, 2024 at 12:58:05 PM EST
    My understanding is that a number of the checks were accompanied by invoices that described the payment as being for a retainer for legal services.

    Suppose Instead of "Legal Expense", (none / 0) (#46)
    by RickyJim on Tue May 14, 2024 at 08:54:04 PM EST
    "Reimbursement for NDA" was written on the invoices, checks and ledger entries.  Would there have been a case then?

    I don't know. (5.00 / 1) (#59)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sat May 18, 2024 at 07:17:36 PM EST
    For that matter, had Trump simply written a check on his personal trust account for $130,000 payable to Stormy Daniels, we very likely wouldn't be here as well.

    It was the attempt to launder that payment through the Trump Org. as a series of business-related legal expenses that comprised the misdemeanors under state law. It kicked up to felony status because it was reimbursement to Cohen for an illegal $130,000 in-kind campaign donation, a felony violation of federal campaign law for which Cohen had pleaded guilty in federal court and was sentenced to prison, while Trump was identified as an unindicted co-conspirator called "Individual 1."

    The tie to the Trump campaign is the key element here, and the activities of David Pecker, Michael Cohen and Allen Weisselberg to pay the lady and launder the money constitute that evidence.



    Likely yes (none / 0) (#47)
    by coast on Wed May 15, 2024 at 08:30:38 AM EST
    It wasn't the invoices themselves that were the issue, it was the fact that the payments were recorded as legal expenses when they were not.  I think the fact that the invoices misrepresented what the actual payment was for offers the defendant a small amount of cover but not much given the other testimony.  

    The Indictment Mentions All Three (none / 0) (#48)
    by RickyJim on Wed May 15, 2024 at 08:58:53 AM EST
    Checks and stubs, Ledger entries and Invoices.  My question was that if all three said "reimbursement for NDA" instead of "legal expense or retainer" would there still be a case.  Since the underlying election finance violation was never charged, my guess is no.  

    The current prosecution is in a NY State court (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by Peter G on Wed May 15, 2024 at 02:56:21 PM EST
    for an offense under the state criminal code:  making a false entry in a business ledger for the purpose of concealing a crime. The underlying crime that was being concealed is the federal offense of making an illegal campaign contribution in the presidential race (of 2016). That underlying crime cannot be prosecuted in state court (and the feds in S.D.N.Y. declined to prosecute it). Federal campaign contributions are illegal if made in the name of someone other than the person actually contributing. Ironically, there is no limit on what a candidate can contribute to their own campaign. It was only the round-about method of paying Ms. Clifford (p/k/n "Daniels") for the campaign's benefit that made it illegal.

    Yes, and that Raises the Question, (none / 0) (#50)
    by RickyJim on Wed May 15, 2024 at 04:07:05 PM EST
    why didn't Cohen simply tell Trump, "Just write a personal check to Stormy and I will deliver it to her lawyer in exchange for a signed NDA"? I think that on a phone call played in court (I can't find the exact place in the transcripts) Trump said something to the effect that he was afraid it would get out before the election if he wrote a check so he went along with Cohen's cockamamie shell company plan to make it a business expense.  Or maybe he was just too cheap to pay the cash from his personal account.

    Because the payment was made (none / 0) (#52)
    by Peter G on Wed May 15, 2024 at 06:24:59 PM EST
    for the purpose of influencing the election, not for purely personal reasons (so the prosecutors allege, and the evidence seems to show), it was a campaign expense, and covering it was a campaign contribution. Saying it was "for a signed NDA" does not take it outside the realm of being a campaign expense, if its purpose was to influence the outcome of the election. Describing it in any other way, then, becomes a false statement in a business record, in violation of NY criminal law, if that campaign contribution was disguised (and thus illegal).

    I am Confused About Your Reply, Peter (none / 0) (#53)
    by RickyJim on Wed May 15, 2024 at 06:50:34 PM EST
    You said previously:
    Ironically, there is no limit on what a candidate can contribute to their own campaign. It was only the round-about method of paying Ms. Clifford (p/k/n "Daniels") for the campaign's benefit that made it illegal.
    So both non-disclosure agreements and making contributions to one's own political campaign are legal.  Why can't one check be for both?

    The manner in which campaign contributions (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by Peter G on Thu May 16, 2024 at 09:14:11 AM EST
    are to be made, and publicly disclosed, is regulated by law to ensure honest and transparent elections. One check to cover a campaign contribution and something else would not comply, and in any event would have to be made directly (a) to a registered campaign committee; (b) from personal funds.

    So There Was No Legal Way to an NDA? (1.00 / 1) (#56)
    by RickyJim on Thu May 16, 2024 at 11:45:34 AM EST
    I'm still confused.  It seems that what you are saying is that while NDAs are usually legal, somebody paying for one that might effect a current political campaign, which the payer is in, is illegal.

    You don't have to guess (5.00 / 2) (#57)
    by Peter G on Thu May 16, 2024 at 01:58:31 PM EST
    what I "seem to" be saying. I only say what I mean. I never wrote that an NDA or anything else "that might [a]ffect a current political campaign" is "illegal." I said that a payment that is intended to benefit the campaign is a campaign contribution and has to be made to the campaign committee and disclosed. The campaign committee can enter into and pay for a NDA, for example, if disclosed as an expenditure of the campaign. What is illegal is the disguising and mislabeling of the payments.

    Okay I Think I Get It (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by RickyJim on Thu May 16, 2024 at 09:46:34 PM EST
    Trump writes a 130K check to the reelection committee and then Cohen, who is on or can be put on the committee at Trump's behest, sends the money to Stormy's lawyer in exchange for an NDA and it is all legal.  

    Trump seems to be eyeing this trial ... (none / 0) (#44)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue May 14, 2024 at 06:56:28 PM EST
    ... as an adjunct of his political campaign, which I think is a potentially fatal error. His refusal to cooperate with prosecutors on the admission of evidence has rendered his attorneys unable to stipulate to anything, which only ensured that prosecutors would be able to explain each exhibit in detail to jurors - and the wider audience, by extension - upon its introduction.

    Personally, I don't believe Trump will testify. But if he does decide to testify on his own behalf, prosecutors are likely going to a field day, and will leave him sputtering on the stand and muttering to no one in particular by the end of it, not unlike Captain Philip Queeg trying to explain how he knew who helped themselves to the strawberries in "The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial."

    And THAT would serve as a most delicious coup de grace to both his legal fate and his presidential ambitions.



    The trial could be over next week, right? (none / 0) (#35)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun May 12, 2024 at 04:21:21 PM EST
    The jury might be deliberating unless Trump testifies but they can only cross examine Cohen so long.  
    And then one more mystery witness? And prosecution rests.

    Any guesses who the other witness is besides Cohen?


    I still think (none / 0) (#17)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue May 07, 2024 at 06:10:19 PM EST
    they will call Cohen simply to put the proverbial nail in the coffin.

    It seems the defense knows Trump is going to be found guilty because of the mistrial stunt and are hoping to fare better in the appeals court.


    I'm guessing that the classified documents (none / 0) (#24)
    by desertswine on Wed May 08, 2024 at 04:44:44 PM EST
    case in Florida is down the proverbial terlet. No?

    A federal judge postponed indefinitely Tuesday the trial of former President Donald Trump on charges he hoarded classified documents after leaving the White House.

    U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon ruled that finalizing a trial date without first resolving disputes about classified documents "would be imprudent and inconsistent" with preparations to present the case to a jury.

    It could (5.00 / 2) (#26)
    by KeysDan on Wed May 08, 2024 at 05:54:42 PM EST
    be argued that Judge Cannon is inexperienced and over her head in this case, or even not too smart.   I would disagree with such an argument.   Judge Cannon is, in my view, corrupt and cunning. She seems to have mastered procedural delays.  Not definitively ruling on motions prevents appeal of the motions.  It is, as if, she is being coached by Leonard Leo and  miscreants at the Federalist Society.   She may have Alito on speed dial--in ordinary times a fanciful notion.  These are not ordinary times.

    I don't think do (none / 0) (#25)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed May 08, 2024 at 05:14:26 PM EST
    She will get it delayed until after the election.  She can do that.  I don't think she can dispose of it.

    Trump is not going to be reelected.  


    Some Real Evidence Now Available Online (none / 0) (#51)
    by RickyJim on Wed May 15, 2024 at 06:15:50 PM EST
    You can see here a check that Trump signed in May 2017 with an accompanying (false) description of it as a retainer for legal services.

    Cohen has testified that most of the 12 $35K checks he received in 2017 were signed by Trump but Weisselberg, Eric Trump and DJT Jr. also signed some. However the latter three were not charged, even as unindicted coconspirators.

    Weisselberg is (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu May 16, 2024 at 06:21:28 AM EST
    already in jail and the other two being mere check signers without cooking up the scheme would make them hard to prosecute I would think.

    Closing arguments a week from tomorrow (none / 0) (#60)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon May 20, 2024 at 01:41:47 PM EST
    The judge said today this was the plan.  Closing arguments and deliberations delayed until after the holiday weekend

    Are you staring me down right now? Clear the court (none / 0) (#61)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon May 20, 2024 at 04:32:12 PM EST

    Robert COSTELLO is getting reprimanded by Judge Merchan -- for several recent objections he's sustained, Costello's muttered under his breath "ridiculous", "jeez" and just now, let out a long sigh

    Full exchange: "you don't say 'jeez,' and you don't say 'strike it,' because i'm the only one who can strike ... you don't roll your eyes, do you understand that? Do you understand that? Are you starting me down right now. Clear the courtroom please!!"

    Every time you think the defense can't screw this up more.....

    If (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by FlJoe on Mon May 20, 2024 at 06:14:08 PM EST
    the facts are on your side, argue the facts. If the law is on your side argue, argue the law. If neither is on your side send in the clowns.

    It's all performance art all the time. Everywhere from the courtrooms to the halls of congress, lying, taunting, degenerating performance art.


    We were discussing this case at work ... (5.00 / 1) (#74)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Fri May 24, 2024 at 06:47:09 AM EST
    ... a few weeks ago when Robert Costello was all over Fox News talking about Michael Cohen like a bombastic fool, and I opined at the time that if the defense called Costello as a witness, it would likely be the defendant's idea rather than his legal counsel's advice and that they'd probably regret it.

    I certainly wasn't disappointed in that regard. Between his calamitous confrontation with Judge Merchan and his subsequent disembowelment by Assistant D.A. Susan Hoffinger on cross, Robert Costello might just as well have been a witness for the prosecution.

    The defense quickly rested its case, but the self-inflicted damage was done. I don't know how they recover at this point with only closing arguments left, before it's turned over to the jury for final disposition.

    I will say that far from being the weakest of the four criminal cases pending against Donald Trump, Manhattan D.A. Alvin Bragg's office has instead thus far presented a gripping prosecutorial narrative that's been nearly as flawless as it has been compelling, and one which would certainly be the envy of their fictional counterparts on the TV series "Law & Order."

    We'll see what happens.


    Well (none / 0) (#63)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon May 20, 2024 at 06:40:57 PM EST
    the mouth breathers might like the performance.  They might love the Hells Angels guy was in court today.  
    But you know what, I bet the jury did not.

    They know they are losing.  The performance is all they have.

    Unless there is a mole, possible, Trump is going to be convicted of 34 felonies that each can get up to 4 years in prison.

    Trump may never see the inside of a jail but the people who say that changes nothing are not seeing the big picture.   IMO.


    I hope (5.00 / 1) (#71)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed May 22, 2024 at 10:40:09 AM EST
    you are right.

    Joe has stayed far away (none / 0) (#72)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed May 22, 2024 at 03:18:14 PM EST
    from commenting on Trump's legal problems.  No commenting on an ongoing trial.

    If he is convicted, of one felony let alone 34, that will change.  Bigly.


    Which (none / 0) (#73)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu May 23, 2024 at 09:19:12 AM EST
    is wise and I agree the convicted felon talk will definitely be on the agenda once we get a verdict.

    Also (none / 0) (#64)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon May 20, 2024 at 06:47:01 PM EST
    I would say this trial, for all it's tawdry subject matter, has seemed remarkably performance free.  The judge has kept it very business like.  

    It seemed like something Trump would insist on today.  The guy got to harumph and roll his eyes.

    Briefly, till the judge cleared the court.


    Like (5.00 / 1) (#65)
    by FlJoe on Mon May 20, 2024 at 06:59:08 PM EST
    Mike Johnson and the rest showing up in the courtroom wasn't performance?

    You are right though, it's all right wingers have anymore.

    Considering the players, the judge is doing a reasonable job


    Johnson and the peanut gallery (none / 0) (#66)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon May 20, 2024 at 07:25:23 PM EST
    were not part of the trial.  As much as they wanted to be.  

    Who will wager (none / 0) (#67)
    by Chuck0 on Tue May 21, 2024 at 03:59:33 PM EST
    Orange Moron claims he didn't testify because of the gag order at one of his rallies before the end of the month?

    Question About the Charges (none / 0) (#68)
    by RickyJim on Tue May 21, 2024 at 07:29:38 PM EST
    From the Washington Post:
    In this trial, Merchan's charge will be particularly important because of the legal framework that prosecutors built toward indicting Trump on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records. That crime can be charged as a misdemeanor, but it can be elevated to a felony if the records were falsified in furtherance of another crime.

    Prosecutors argue that the other crime in this case was violating state election law 17-152 -- conspiracy to promote or prevent an election. That law makes it a misdemeanor when two or more people "conspire to promote or prevent the election of any person to a public office by unlawful means."

    Prosecutors have said in court that the "unlawful means" at issue in Trump's case were a violation of federal campaign law -- meaning that the charges against him are really a three-step process.

    My question is, why does the prosecution cite state election law 17-152 instead of saying the records were falsified in order to cover up the violation of federal campaign law?

    My understanding (5.00 / 1) (#69)
    by BGinCA on Tue May 21, 2024 at 08:20:49 PM EST
    Is that the prosecution wants the jury instructions to give the jurors a range of felony violations to attach to the falsifications. And that the jury does not need to agree on which particular felony was violated.

    It would be reasonable to interpret (5.00 / 1) (#70)
    by Peter G on Tue May 21, 2024 at 09:16:46 PM EST
    the words "in furtherance of another crime" to mean "another crime like this one, that is, a crime against the laws of this State (New York)." Whereas "unlawful" just means "contrary to some law or another."

    NY Times (none / 0) (#83)
    by BGinCA on Fri May 24, 2024 at 04:37:47 PM EST
    Backs off earlier polls giving T**** substantial leads: "The polls have shown Donald J. Trump with an edge for eight straight months, but there's one big flashing warning sign ... His narrow lead is built on gains among voters who aren't paying close attention to politics, who don't follow traditional news and who don't regularly vote.President Biden has actually led the last three Times/Siena national polls among those who voted in the 2020 election"

    There (none / 0) (#89)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat May 25, 2024 at 11:21:10 AM EST
    was a discussion of another poll a while back where it showed a huge number of people who never voted before voting Trump. Apparently the never voted before voters has been propping up Trump in the polls. I am sure there are a number of first time voters due to the fact of people coming of age to vote. But honestly if they showed up in 2016 & 2020 they are much more likely to vote

    There was some pretty shocking things (none / 0) (#90)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat May 25, 2024 at 02:49:58 PM EST
    in the reporting about those polls and others.  Like that they discovered about a quarter of what they were calling likely voters had not voted in the last 2 elections.

    And in one case and man the quoted, by name, in the poll as saying he "was for Bider but he's switched to Trump" had himself not voted in the last few elections.

    I've been saying, the polls are meaningless as far as the horserace.  Especially this far out.


    Trump and the GOP (5.00 / 1) (#92)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat May 25, 2024 at 04:55:22 PM EST
    have been found to be flooding the zone so to speak with fake polls in the past.

    IMO (none / 0) (#91)
    by FlJoe on Sat May 25, 2024 at 03:07:24 PM EST
    not screening for likely voters is malpractice, especially in a head to head race.

    Fun Comparative Law Article (none / 0) (#93)
    by RickyJim on Sun May 26, 2024 at 08:02:31 PM EST
    Did you know that if the hush money trial took place in almost any country besides the US, there wouldn't have been a voir dire and Trump would have been the first witness?  This article from the Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law describes a fanciful situation where two American lawyers went to Europe to be defense counsel and prosecutor for a case there.  It is an easy read, well worth a couple of hours of your time.

    Engaging in legal hypotheticals ... (none / 0) (#99)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue May 28, 2024 at 12:58:35 AM EST
    ... can be useful and even fun, to a point. But there comes a time in any such discussion when one needs to call the question. Therefore, it's generally best to focus on the case that's before you, and not range so far afield that you risk losing perspective and sight of the question that actually needs to be decided.

    That's what was so concerning and discouraging about the conservative justices' line of questioning during recent oral arguments at SCOTUS regarding Trump's sweeping claims of presidential immunity. They were so engrossed in discussion about hypothetical scenarios that they appeared to disengage from the actual facts of the case that was before them that day.