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IPFS News Link • Courtroom and Trials

After prosecution rests, Trump lawyers ask judge to dismiss hush money trial

• By Jack Queen, Jody Godoy and Andy Sullivan

Justice Juan Merchan did not immediately rule on the request, which is routine in criminal trials and rarely granted. But he suggested that savvy jurors would be able to assess the credibility of Trump's ex-fixer's testimony for themselves.

"You said that his lies are irrefutable, but do you think he's going to fool 12 New Yorkers?" Merchan asked Trump lawyer Todd Blanche, who had sought the dismissal.

The exchange came at the end of a day in which questions about Cohen's character were front and center. At the outset on Monday, Merchan said he expected the two sides to make their closing arguments next week followed by jury deliberations.

The first former president to face a criminal trial, Trump has pleaded not guilty to 34 counts of falsifying business records to cover up a $130,000 payment to silence porn star Stormy Daniels, who had threatened to go public before the 2016 presidential election with her account of an alleged sexual encounter - a liaison Trump denies.

Trump, 77, has blasted the trial as a politically motivated effort to hobble his Republican Party campaign to take back the White House from Democratic President Joe Biden in the Nov. 5 election.

Cohen, Trump's estranged former fixer and lawyer, testified that he spoke repeatedly with Trump about the payment to Daniels in the final stretch of the 2016 presidential campaign - a pillar of the prosecution's case.

But Trump's lawyers also got Cohen to admit that he stole money from his former boss because he was angry that his annual bonus fell short of his expectations after he handled the payment to Daniels.

He said he paid roughly $20,000 in cash in a paper bag to a tech company out of the $50,000 that it was owed and kept the rest. The Trump Organization later reimbursed him $100,000 in total to account for the taxes Cohen would owe.

"I just felt it was almost like self-help," Cohen said on the witness stand.

As a convicted felon and admitted liar, Cohen, 57, carries baggage as a witness. Formerly a zealous defender of Trump, he has become a fierce and frequently foul-mouthed critic.

Blanche said the case should be dismissed because Cohen was not credible.