CNN Legal Panel: Trump's Defense Presents 'Strong Narrative' That Cohen is Going Rogue

 May 1, 2024

A CNN legal panel discussed how Donald Trump's defense might convincingly argue that his former attorney, Michael Cohen, acted independently in making payments to Stormy Daniels during the 2016 election without Trump's directive.

According to Daily Caller, criminal defense attorney Bill Brennan, and CNN legal analyst Joey Jackson suggested that evidence of Cohen's significant autonomous involvement could persuade a jury that Trump did not direct these actions.

Trump's former attorney, Michael Cohen, who pleaded guilty to multiple charges in 2018, including campaign finance violations, is key to Trump's case. These violations pertain to the same payments made to Daniels and another woman, Karen McDougal, to suppress information detrimental to Trump's presidential campaign.

Legal Analysis of Trump's Potential Defense

Defense strategies might highlight Donald Trump’s lack of direct involvement by emphasizing that his signature appears only on one of the checks related to the allegations, leaving other key documents unsigned. As noted by criminal defense lawyer Arthur Aidala, this could foster doubt about Trump's direct engagement in the illegal activities.

CNN legal analysts, including Joey Jackson and Bill Brennan, have dissected possible strategies that Trump’s lawyers might deploy. They speculate that the defense may argue that Cohen acted independently, without Trump's directive, thus distancing Trump from the misconduct.

Bill Brennan commented on the challenges of relying on Cohen’s testimony due to his previous convictions and noted distrust:

He’s going to take the stand being convicted of lying to Congress, a convicted felon, and he’s got an ax to grind with the defendant. He went from a sycophant to Donald Trump to now somebody who’s kind of out to get him, and jurors pick up on that.

Furthermore, issues with Cohen's credibility were raised again recently when a federal judge indicated he might have committed perjury during a civil fraud trial involving Trump in October of a previous year.

The Central Role of Michael Cohen

The prosecution will likely lean heavily on the narrative that Trump, the presidential candidate, had the most to gain from Cohen's actions. Joey Jackson articulated this, suggesting that the prosecution would urge the jury to consider who stood to benefit most from the suppression of damaging stories.

However, Trump’s legal team can capitalize on the alleged independence of Michael Cohen’s actions to diminish Trump’s apparent connection to the wrongdoing.

Arthur Aidala’s remarks that Trump’s involvement might be minimal, based solely on his signed check, add another layer of complexity to the defense's strategy.

Ramifications of the Trial

The ramifications of these legal battles are profound for Trump, who maintains a significant following and influence over American politics despite not holding any current official position. How this case unfolds could heavily influence public perception and his future political endeavors.

As the legal proceedings continue, both sides will undoubtedly present intricate arguments to sway the jury. Observers and legal experts alike are watching closely, recognizing the potential historical significance of the outcome.

In conclusion, Donald Trump's legal challenges concerning the 2016 election continue to unfold. With Michael Cohen's credibility under scrutiny and the defense's argument about his independence, the trial's outcome remains uncertain but is undeniably consequential for Trump's legacy and the broader political landscape.

About Victor Winston

Victor is a freelance writer and researcher who focuses on national politics, geopolitics, and economics.

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