Opening arguments show different sides of Trump hush money case

 April 23, 2024

The hush money trial of former President Donald Trump in Manhattan heard opening arguments on Monday, and pundits were quick to give their opinions about how both sides did and which one has the upper hand.

The prosecution led by Michael Colangelo argued that Trump was "conspiring" to influence the election by paying off porn star Stormy Daniels and others who made accusations against him. After his personal lawyer Michael Cohen paid off his accusers, Colangelo alleges that Trump paid him back in 34 installments while classifying the expenses as legal fees.

Trump's defense denies paying off Daniels and the others and said the payments to Cohen were legitimately for legal services as they were classified.

Defense attorney Todd Blanche said that the non-disclosure agreement between Daniels and Trump wasn't about the election, but about keeping the accusations from his wife and to protect his brand reputation.

"Law and evidence"

It's no surprise that CNN legal expert Norm Eisen thinks the prosecution has the upper hand because of the law and evidence. Eisen did acknowledge that the defense has a lot to work with, however.

While the prosecution's rhetoric sounds bad for Trump, it's still unclear exactly what crime they think Trump has committed.

It's not illegal to pay off accusers, and it's not even a crime to try to keep damaging information from voters.

The prosecution's star witness, Michael Cohen, is a proven liar and has served jail time for lying among other criminal activities. Blanche made it clear that Cohen could not be trusted, which will be a major impediment for the prosecution.

Not justified

Blanche made it clear that the charges against Trump are not justified. Falsifying business records is only a misdemeanor unless it was to cover up some more serious crime, and that's where prosecutors are going to have trouble.

Trump was charged with felonies, but if they can't prove the underlying crime, the whole thing will fall apart. As misdemeanors, the charges are beyond the statute of limitations so they wouldn't even apply.

Blanche also argued that Trump wasn't personally involved in the payments to Cohen and that they were done through the Trump Organization and recorded without his knowledge.

Another part of the case is Trump's supposed "conspiracy" with the National Enquirer to "catch and kill" negative stories about Trump--an argument that has also not been proven.

Eisen noted that Trump was "hunched over" and looked serious at the end of the day--implying that he knows the evidence isn't on his side.

Let's hope Blanche and the rest of Trump's team can put on an effective defense in the middle of preparation for three other trials plus civil lawsuits, all while Trump is trying to campaign for the presidential election in November.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
© 2015 - 2024 Conservative Institute. All Rights Reserved.