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Michael Cohen clashed with Trump's defense attorney in a firestorm of questioning

Just a minute into the cross-examination of star witness Michael Cohen, defense attorney Todd Blanche directly attacked one of the main issues hanging over Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg's case: Cohen's credibility.

Blanche began by asking many witnesses if he and Cohen had ever spoken to each other before. But Blanche's next question, which, like the ones that followed, was aimed at impugning Cohen's character and highlighting his frequent rants against Trump on social media, was a little more unusual.

Blanche asked Cohen if he had been on TikTok and called him a “crying piece of shit” after the trial had begun. “Sounds like something I would say,” Cohen replied. The response was standard whenever Blanche brought up Cohen's past statements, including calling Trump a “crazy, cartoonish misogynist” on the first episode of his podcast.

The examples were just a few that Blanche used to show that Cohen simply can't stop talking about Trump, even when prosecutors demand it.

Blanche's questions often jumped back and forth in time and, so far, haven't really addressed the substance of the charges. But they all had one central goal: to highlight Michael Cohen reasons and questionable credibility.

To highlight his motives, Blanche asked about Cohen's hopes that cooperating with investigators would result in a reduction in his sentence and the money he made from his book, media appearances and podcast, where he often talks about Trump .

Blanche also noted Cohen's desire to see Trump convicted, a desire Cohen has expressed repeatedly. At one point, the jury saw a T-shirt from Cohen's podcast store showing Trump in an orange jumpsuit behind bars, which Blanche noted she wore on her TikTok live stream last week. Judge Juan Merchan on Friday instructed prosecutors to tell Cohen to stop talking publicly about Trump and the case.

At one point, Blanche asked Cohen if he was lying in the past when he expressed his admiration for Trump and praised him in public statements. “At the time, I was knee-deep in the worship of Donald Trump,” he said.

In the morning, prosecutor Susan Hoffinger concluded direct examination by asking Cohen if he had “any regrets” about his past association with Trump. He said he didn't regret working for the Trump Organization, but he did regret doing things for Trump that he “shouldn't have done.” “I violated my moral compass,” Cohen said. “And I suffered.”

Cohen explained his subsequent change in attitude toward Trump as a decision about loyalty. He said he decided to listen to his family. “Why do you cling to this loyalty?” he said, recalling discussions with the family while facing an investigation by federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York in 2018. “We're supposed to be your first loyalty.”

Monday, Cohen witnessed that Trump directed him to make the payment to Stormy Daniels and supported the plan to reimburse her with allegedly falsified business records that are at the heart of the case. Continuing that point, Cohen said Tuesday that he discussed the refund payments with Trump during a private conversation on Feb. 8, 2017, in the Oval Office.

The defense will continue its cross-examination of Cohen on Thursday.

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Katelynn Richardson
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