Oh, it got live during the Trump criminal trial. It’s day 18, which may have marked a turning point for the defense. Donald Trump’s attorney, Todd Blanche, raised his voice and flailed his arms at Michael Cohen, accusing the prosecution’s star witness of fabricating a phone conversation with Trump just before Cohen sent $130,000 to Stormy Daniels’ attorney in October 2016. Blanche confronted Cohen with text messages exchanged with Keith Schiller, who Cohen claimed had put Trump on the phone, which was unrelated to Trump or Daniels.

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This was the most dramatic moment in Cohen’s cross-examination in the hush money case and the clearest example yet of the defense’s effort to cast doubt on Cohen’s memory of phone calls and other significant interactions with Trump in 2016. To sum up, Cohen did not look good, and the prosecution may have been caught off guard. Still, Cohen never lost his composure, and that was the silver lining for himself and the DA’s office. 

The court is off Friday so Trump can attend his son Barron’s high school graduation. Cross-examination of Cohen will resume Monday, and summations could begin as soon as Tuesday.


Here are the key takeaways from Day 18 of the Trump hush money trial:

Blanche spent several hours on cross-examination before addressing the evidence directly related to the case. He focused on an October 24, 2016, phone call that Trump’s bodyguard, Schiller, allegedly placed to Cohen. Under questioning from prosecutors, Cohen testified that he was reaching out to Schiller to discuss “the Stormy Daniels matter and the resolution of it.”

Blanche spent hours highlighting Cohen’s inconsistent statements to undermine his credibility over the years. He questioned Cohen on various topics, including his recanted 2018 guilty plea on tax charges, his desire to work in the White House, and his statements about seeking a pardon from Trump.

Blanche challenged Cohen on his aspirations to join Trump’s White House, which was revealed through private communications with his daughter and others like Pastor Darrell Scott. Despite this, Cohen maintained that he only ever wanted to be Trump’s attorney. He also admitted that while he publicly testified to Congress that he never sought a pardon, he had sought one through his attorney and later informed lawmakers of this behind closed doors.

For much of Cohen’s testimony, Trump appeared disengaged, often sitting with his eyes shut. However, Trump’s demeanor changed on Thursday afternoon as the focus shifted to Cohen and the media. He sat up and faced Cohen directly while Blanche questioned the witness about his conversations with New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, who had previously been mentioned in the trial via a Trump tweet attacking her in 2018.

Before adjourning for the weekend, Judge Merchan instructed the lawyers to be ready for summations on Tuesday, indicating that the jury could have the case as early as next week. Prosecutors stated they have no other witnesses after Cohen, while the defense plans to call one campaign finance expert, though this is not definite. The defense may also call additional witnesses to challenge testimony, and Trump’s team has not decided whether Trump will testify in his defense.