May 16, 2024 – Michael Cohen’s cross examination of his failed memory, bias, financial motives, history of lies and possible indictment of his wife

In Email/Dossier/Govt Corruption Investigations, Featured Timeline Entries by Katie Weddington

The cross examination of Michael Cohen, led by Trump attorney Todd Blanche, was destructive. Devastating to Cohen’s credibility. Even Anderson Cooper admitted cross was “severely damaging.”

Here’s how it began:

Q: On April 23rd, so after the trial started in this case, you went on TikTok and called me a “Crying Little Shit;” didn’t you?

A: Sounds like something I would say.

Judge Merchan sustained the objection to that question, but the points were made: that Trump wasn’t the only one posting criticisms on social media, that Cohen was already hostile to the defense and to Trump’s attorney (and expressing his bias) before his testimony even started.

Blanche’s cross was, at times, meandering. It went from point to point, from issue to issue. It wasn’t necessarily chronological, and he went back and forth from calls to texts to statements indicating Cohen’s bias to Cohen’s numerous lies and crimes. That was ineffective to some observers. But the critics miss the strategy, which proved effective. Blanche was putting steady pressure on Cohen, moving him from corner to corner. The hits were coming from all directions. By moving Cohen from topic to topic, Cohen couldn’t keep track of his story. He couldn’t see the hits coming.

On which general areas did the defense focus? Here they are:

  • Cohen’s failed memory.
  • Cohen’s bias and financial motives.
  • Cohen’s reasons for doing the Stormy Daniels deal.
  • Cohen’s history of lies, both past and current.

Cohen’s Failed Memory

The State relies on Cohen’s recollection of a number of calls and meetings he had with Trump before and after the 2016 election. But how can the jury be convinced that Cohen’s memory is accurate – or if he’s not inventing his story? After all, Cohen repeatedly answered that he could not “recall” a number of discussions that took place last year. Here are some examples.

  • Cohen could not recall the DA’s office expressing frustration that he would talk about the investigation on TV.
  • He couldn’t recall whether he leaked to CNN that he gave his phones to the DA’s office in January of 2023.
  • Cohen said he couldn’t recall promising the DA’s office that he wouldn’t do any TV appearances until after the indictment.
  • He couldn’t recall the DA telling him he was “unwittingly helping President Trump by going on TV.”
  • Cohen couldn’t recall asking the DA’s office – while he was in prison – the timeline for bringing charges against Trump.

The defense seized on Cohen’s poor memory, suggesting to the jury that’s its all very convenient now that Trump has been charged. Here’s an excerpt of how they did it:

Q: So you don’t recall a year ago, making a promise that you would no longer go on TV until after the indictment?

A: No, sir.

Q: But you recall very specifically multiple telephone conversations that you had with President Trump in 2016; correct?

A: I recall the conversations with President Trump at the time, yes.

Cohen’s Bias and Motives

Then there’s the issue of bias. The defense presented Cohen with his own words – from his podcasts and books and social media – documenting his desire to take Trump down. These included:

  • After Trump was indicted, Cohen said on his podcast: “I truly fucking hope that this man ends up in prison . . . You better believe I want this man to go down and rot inside for what he did to my family.”
  • He said he wants “accountability” for Trump and for Trump to go to prison. He said Trump needs to “wear handcuffs and to do the perp walk”; that Trump needs to sit “inside the cell.”
  • He’s selling merchandise “which depicts President Trump in an orange jumpsuit behind bars,” coffee mugs that say “Send him to the Big House not the White House”.
  • He called Trump a “Cheeto-dusted cartoon villain.”
  • In 2020, he said “I truly fucking hope that this man ends up in prison.”
  • He thanked the new DA team in 2021 for “continuing their investigation.”
  • He sells anti-Trump merchandise on his website, profits from his anti-Trump social media presence and podcasts, and made an estimated $3.4 million for his books Disloyal and Revenge. (In Revenge, he expressed frustration that Trump hadn’t been prosecuted.)

Cohen’s motives weren’t just financial, however. He also sought benefits from his cooperation with the DA’s office in the form of a reduced sentence. While Cohen was in prison in 2019, he told Anthony Scaramucci that he was “trying to figure out a way to get out of prison early.”

Around that time, he was meeting with the DA’s office. Sought reduction in sentence due, in part, to cooperation with DA’s office. (It was denied.) While on house arrest, he wanted the DA’s office to publicly announce his cooperation to help with his release conditions. (Read more: Techno Fog/Substack, 5/17/2024)  (Archive)

Cohen testifies to having evaded substantial tax returns from 2012-2017.

Also testifies that he received an application form that did not reveal the full extent of his liabilities for a HELOC form, and submitted the form to the bank with full knowledge that it was inaccurate.

Cohen testifies to being guilty of federal tax evasion and making false statements to a financial institution.

When Blanche presses him if anybody induced him to plead guilty, Cohen defers and says he feels he shouldn’t have been indicted for underlying crimes. Claims he felt pressure to plead guilty, thinking his wife would be indicted, based on what his lawyer at the time told him.

Cohen claims he pled guilty without outside pressure at the time, but now testifies that he lied and did feel such pressure.