NY v Trump: As ‘star witness’ Michael Cohen testifies, Trump allies flock to court to ‘support their friend’

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As the prosecution’s “star witness,” and likely its final witness, Michael Cohen testified on Tuesday, allies of former President Trump flocked to the court in a show of support for the presumptive Republican presidential nominee in his criminal trial.

A number of high-profile GOP allies joined Trump at the Lower Manhattan court for the 17th day of his criminal trial – a day that once again featured Cohen, Trump’s former attorney, being questioned by both New York prosecutors and a cross-examination by Trump’s defense attorneys. 

TRUMP ALLIES POUR INTO NYC COURTHOUSE TO ‘SUPPORT THEIR FRIEND,’ SAY THEY’RE NOT COORDINATING WITH CAMPAIGN

“I came here, again, today, on my own to support President Trump,” House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., said outside the court in New York City on Tuesday morning, blasting Cohen as a “man who is clearly on a mission for personal revenge.”

“[He] is widely known as a witness who has trouble with the truth. He is someone who has a history of perjury and is well-known for it. No one should believe a word he says today,” Johnson said of Cohen, adding that “he lied to Congress; he lied to the IRS; he lied to federal election officials.” 

“Even Cohen’s own lawyer testified to a grand jury that he is not reliable. So, there’s nothing that he presents here that should be given any weight at all by a jury,” Johnson said, noting the case “is not about justice” but “all about politics, and everybody can see that.” 

Johnson, along with Reps. Byron Donalds and Cory Mills, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy all attended the trial in a show of support for Trump. Sens. J.D. Vance, Tommy Tuberville, Rick Scott and Rep. Nicole Malliotakis attended court with the former president on Monday. 

“All guests volunteer to come to court to support their friend, President Trump, and are not invited by the campaign,” a Trump campaign official told Fox News Digital. 

The official said the growing number of Republican allies coming to the downtown Manhattan courthouse is “not some kind of coordinated political thing.” 

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Cohen is said to be the star witness for Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and his team as they try to prove the former president falsified business records relating to a $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels, an adult film actress, in the lead-up to the 2016 election to silence her about an alleged affair with Trump in 2006.

Bragg charged Trump with 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree. Trump has pleaded not guilty to all charges and maintains his innocence.

MICHAEL COHEN TESTIFIES HE SECRETLY RECORDED TRUMP IN LEAD-UP TO 2016 ELECTION

Cohen’s testimony

As for Cohen’s testimony, the ex-Trump attorney said he was “reimbursed $420,000” for the $130,000 he paid to Daniels. Cohen said former Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg suggested he “gross up” the payments.

Cohen testified that Weisselberg facilitated his reimbursement plan for the payment and that Trump knew the details of that reimbursement.

Trump is unable to speak about witnesses or court staff due to the gag order imposed upon him by Judge Juan Merchan.

The former president appealed the gag order, arguing that it violated his First Amendment rights. But as Cohen testified Tuesday, the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court denied Trump’s appeal of the gag order.

Now Trump’s attorneys will have the opportunity to appeal to the New York Court of Appeals.

The prosecution presented Cohen with 11 checks totaling $420,000. Cohen confirmed that they were all received and deposited. The checks had a description of “retainer,” which Cohen said was false.

Under cross-examination by Trump attorney Todd Blanche, Cohen testified that he apologized to Congress, the country and to his family for lying to them in 2017 and “acting in a way that suppressed information that the citizenry had a right to know in order to make an informed decision about an individual who was seeking the highest office in the land.”

Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to campaign finance violations, making false statements to Congress and tax evasion. He was sentenced to three years in prison.

SPEAKER JOHNSON TO ATTEND TRUMP TRIAL IN MANHATTAN IN SHOW OF SUPPORT

Blanche grilled Cohen on his negative past statements he made online and to the media about Trump.

Over the course of the investigation and case, Cohen made more than 20 television appearances. He has recorded hundreds of podcast episodes – four total episodes a week all year long – since the investigation for this trial started. Cohen agreed that Trump has been mentioned in every podcast.

Blanche also asked Cohen if he was obsessed with Trump.

“I don’t know if I would call it obsessed,” Cohen said. “I admired him tremendously.”

Under cross-examination, Cohen also admitted to meeting with former New York prosecutor Mark Pomerantz, who resigned in 2022 when Bragg took over the Manhattan DA’s probe of Trump after he signaled he was uninterested in bringing charges against the former president.

Cohen in 2021 testified that he wanted the DA’s office to publicly acknowledge he was cooperating with their investigation, as he was hoping to have his sentence lessened. Cohen, at the time, was serving his sentence but was moved from prison to home confinement.

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Ultimately, there was no letter or public announcement made by the DA about his cooperation.

Blanche said he will continue the cross-examination of Cohen on Thursday; court does not meet on Wednesdays.

Prosecutor Joshua Steinglass said Cohen was the prosecution’s last witness.