Athens Congressman Clyde Attends Trump Trial in New York – WGAU

Athens gun store owner Andrew Clyde, a 9th District Republican who represents much of northeast Georgia in the U.S. House, was among members of Congress in the courtroom for the session. Monday of Donald Trump’s hush money trial in New York.

the judge in Donald Trump’s hush money trial cleared the room of reporters on Monday and then threatened to remove the defense witness from the trial for his behavior on the stand, which included making whispered comments and rolling his eyes, a court transcript showed.

Judge Juan M. Merchán told Robert Costello, a former federal prosecutor, that his conduct during testimony was derogatory. Costello repeatedly exasperated Merchan, in part by continuing to speak after objections were accepted, a signal for witnesses to stop talking. At one point, Costello commented “God” when an objection interrupted him. He also called the entire exercise “ridiculous.”

The exchange came toward the end of a heated day in which the prosecution’s star witness admitted to stealing tens of thousands of dollars from Trump’s company. Trump’s lawyers also pressured Merchan to dismiss the case after prosecutors concluded their presentation of evidence. The judge did not immediately rule on that request.

But the most tense moments occurred with Costello on the witness stand. businessman He first sent the jury out of the courtroom to discuss proper decorum. He chided Costello for saying “God” when a sustained objection interrupted him and, at another point, “hit him.” Merchan told him: “I am the only one who can give testimony in the courtroom. Do you understand that?”

“And then, if you don’t like my decision, don’t look at me sideways or roll your eyes.”

Merchan was about to reconvene the jury when he asked Costello, “Are you staring at me right now?” and then threw out the press to further admonish him.

“I warn you that your behavior is derogatory,” Merchán said, according to the transcript of the conversation that occurred when the press was outside the room. “If you try to stare at me one more time, I’ll take you off the stand.”

Costello did not return a message seeking comment Monday night.

When Merchan called the press again, Costello’s testimony continued and will resume Tuesday. The defense is using it in an effort to attack the credibility of Trump’s lawyer-turned-adversary. Michael Cohen.

After jurors retired for the day, defense attorney Todd Blanche told the judge that prosecutors had not proven their case and he should dismiss it immediately. Blanche pleaded with the judge “not to allow this case to go to the jury based on Mr. Cohen’s testimony.”

The judge seemed unmoved by the argument and asked the defense attorney if he believed that “as a matter of law, this person is so unworthy of belief that he should not even be considered by the jury.”

“You said your lies are irrefutable,” the judge responded. “But you think he’s going to trick 12 New Yorkers into believing this lie?”

Cohen was the last witness, at least for now, for prosecutors, who are trying to show that Trump sought to bury unflattering stories about himself and then falsified internal business records to cover them up as part of a scheme to illegally deceive. influence the 2016 presidential election. The defense has painted Cohen as a media-obsessed liar who is on a revenge mission aimed at bringing down Trump.

The defense called Costello because of his role as an antagonist and critic of Cohen in the years since their professional relationship broke down spectacularly.

Costello had offered to represent Cohen shortly after the lawyer’s hotel room, office and home were raided and when Cohen was faced with the decision of whether to remain defiant in the face of a criminal investigation or cooperate with authorities in hopes of obtaining more lenient treatment.

Costello testified that Cohen told him that Trump “didn’t know anything” about the $130,000 payment for his silence. porn actor Stormy Daniels that is the center of the case.

“Michael Cohen said on numerous occasions that President Trump knew nothing about those payments, that he did it on his own, and he repeated it on numerous occasions,” Costello told the jury.

Trump attorney Emil Bove told the judge that the defense does not plan to call any other witnesses after Costello, although they may still call campaign finance expert Bradley A. Smith for limited testimony. They haven’t definitively said Trump won’t testify, but that’s the clearest indication yet that he will waive his right to take the stand in his own defense.

Back on the witness stand for a fourth day, Cohen told jurors early Monday that he stole from the Trump Organization after his 2016 holiday bonus was reduced to $50,000 from the $150,000 he normally received.

Cohen claimed to have paid $50,000 to a technology company for its work artificially boosting Trump’s standing in a CNBC online survey of famous businesspeople. Cohen said he gave the company only $20,000 in cash in a brown paper bag, but he asked Trump to refund him the full amount and pocketed the difference.

Cohen said he never paid the Trump Organization back. Cohen has never been accused of stealing from Trump’s company.

Cohen is a key witness but also a complicated one. He admitted on the witness stand to a series of past lies, many of which he claims were intended to protect Trump. Cohen too served time in prison after pleading guilty to several federal charges, including lie to congress and a bank and engaging in campaign finance violations related to the hush money scheme.

But when Blanche pressed him, Cohen stood by his recollection of conversations with Trump about paying the money to Daniels to maintain his silence. Cohen testified that he spoke to Trump more than 20 times about the matter in October 2016.

“Don’t you have any doubts?” Blanche asked if Cohen specifically remembered having conversations with Trump about the Daniels matter. Without a doubt, Cohen said.

After more than four weeks of testimony, jurors could begin deliberating next week to decide whether Trump is guilty of 34 felonies for falsifying business records in the first criminal trial against a former American president.

The charges arise from internal Trump Organization records where payments to Cohen were marked as legal expenses. Prosecutors say they were actually reimbursements for payment to Daniels to prevent her from going public before the 2016 election with her claims of a sexual encounter with Trump. Trump says nothing sexual happened between them.

Trump has pleaded not guilty. His attorneys say there was nothing criminal about the deal with Daniels or the way Cohen was paid.

“There is no crime,” Trump told reporters after arriving at the courthouse on Monday. “We pay a legal expense. Do you know how it is marked? “A legal expense.”

Prosecutors will have the opportunity to call rebuttal witnesses once Trump’s witnesses have finished. The judge, citing scheduling issues, said he expects closing arguments to be made on May 28, the Tuesday after Memorial Day.