Michael Cohen’s Ex-Attorney Slams Media Saying Trump Prosecution Relies on Fixer’s Believability: ‘It’s Not Good Journalism’

Lanny Davis says arguing otherwise is falling for “Donald Trump’s and his defense team’s diversionary tactics”

Lanny Davis speaks after his client Michael Cohen, former attorney and fixer for President Donald Trump, testified to the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2019
Lanny Davis speaks after his client Michael Cohen testified to the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2019 (Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Michael Cohen’s ex-attorney Lanny Davis thinks Donald Trump’s conviction in his ongoing hush money trial doesn’t rely on the jury believing the former fixer’s testimony.

Condemning the media for making it seem that the prosecution relies on his former client’s believability, Davis wrote that the argument falls for “Donald Trump’s and his defense team’s diversionary tactics.”

“Sorry, my fellow talking heads, this is wrong,” Davis said. “Yelling ‘Liar, liar, pants on fire’ is what we sometimes did as kids in schoolyards. But it’s not good journalism – and especially wasn’t relevant in this case. As the trial unfolded, the only two questions the jury must answer do not depend, in any way, on Michael Cohen’s credibility.”

The two questions Davis said are all that need considering are firstly “did Donald Trump have a serious political motivation when he authorized Michael Cohen to make the $130,000 payment to the adult film performer known as Stormy Daniels,” and secondly “did Donald Trump lie when he repeatedly claimed that the $35,000 per month checks he wrote to Michael from his personal bank account while he was president were legal fees rather than reimbursements for money owed to Cohen by Trump.”

The answers to both questions can be found in one document, according to Davis.

“As I have written before, the Weisselberg document shows the $130,000 Cohen  paid to Ms. Daniels multiplied by $260,000 (so that Cohen would not have to pay income taxes at his 50% marginal tax bracket and would be made whole),” Davis wrote. “Another $110,000 in reimbursements is listed by Weisselberg in his own handwriting on this document for a grand total, on the document, of $420,000. Weisselberg then divides by 12 and – voilà! – the number is $35,000, the exact number that Trump wrote out to Michael Cohen over 12 months (several from the trust in charge of the company while he was president, signed by his son and Weisselberg).”

He continued: “Tellingly, there is no reference whatsoever to legal fees on the Weisselberg document. In other words, the jury can find that the bookings of these checks as legal expenses were fraudulent – each time a crime under New York State law – and Trump told the world (and therefore his own bookkeeper) falsely that they were legal fees.”

The “not good journalism” Davis admonished was in reference to many media reports decrying a “Perry Mason moment” in the courtroom when Cohen was caught in a lie. Davis affirmed that it’s the facts in the Weisselberg document and not a shouting lawyer that count as real evidence.

“So the leading talking heads raced out of the courtroom to declare, breathlessly, “OMG – OMG – Trump’s lawyer shouted, ‘You lied!’ to Cohen on the witness stand – that was a ‘Perry Mason moment’” – and soon a major breaking news chyron scrawled across the bottom of almost all TV screens,” Davis said. “Breaking news: A lawyer’s shout is not evidence. And the jury will be instructed they are not allowed to consider it.”

This op-ed isn’t the first time Davis has argued the jury doesn’t have to believe Cohen’s testimony to convict Trump. He recently told Jake Tapper the same thing, calling the Weisselberg document a “smoking gun” and that the defense had offered “an alternate suggestion as to what this is.”

Read Davis’s full op-ed via Real Clear Politics here.


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