CNN's fact check about Trump trial judge's ruling is called into question

 May 26, 2024

CNN and several other left-leaning outlets have fact-checked a claim made by former President Donald Trump about a recent ruling made by the judge overseeing the so-called hush-money trial. 

But, the fact-check itself has since been called into question.

This is all taking place in the case that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (D) has brought against Trump, alleging that the former president criminally misrepresented an alleged payment that Trump made to an adult film star in order to keep her quiet about their alleged affair.

Trump has denied all of this, and he has alleged that Bragg with the help of the judge overseeing the case - Judge Juan Merchan - are essentially running election interference for President Joe Biden. Many legal experts, on both sides of the political spectrum, would agree.

The claim and the fact check

Trump, in a social media post on Friday, claimed that Merchan, with a recent ruling, virtually stopped one of his top witnesses from testifying on Trump's behalf.

Trump wrote:

Corrupt, Deeply Conflicted, Democrat Appointed Acting Judge Juan Merchan is doing all he can to even further RIG the Manhattan Sham “Trial.” He is denying me the opportunity to put on a Highly Respected Election Law Expert who will say, once again, that THERE WAS NO CRIME . . .

The witness is Bradley A. Smith, who is one of the top campaign finance experts in the country, and it would appear that he was going to offer to the court testimony that would have helped Trump's defense. But, according to Trump, Merchan stopped this from happening.

CNN and other leftist outlets, however, are claiming that this is a false statement from Trump.

"Trump’s attorneys, in the end, chose not to call that election expert, because the judge refused to broaden the scope of what he could testify to. He was worried it would become, as the judge put it, a battle of the experts," CNN reported.

Come again?!

CNN is technically correct: Smith could have still taken the witness stand. But, a closer look reveals that it is actually CNN who is mischaracterizing what happened.

What Merchan did was say that Smith could not testify about the very thing that Trump's lawyers wanted him to testify about. So, yes, he could take the stand, but, no, he could not say what he wanted to say.

What did he want to say? He wanted to answer the question at the heart of the case: Was the payment made to Stormy Daniels a campaign contribution?

Few people in the country would be able to answer this question as well as Smith. But, Merchan wouldn't allow it.

So, contrary to CNN's fact-check, Merchan, in essence, did block Smith from testifying, by restricting his testimony to such an extent that Smith would have nothing useful to say.

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