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Michael Cohen's former attorney returns to testify after clash with judge in Trump New York trial
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Michael Cohen's former attorney returns to testify after clash with judge in Trump New York trial

Closing arguments scheduled for next week.

Michael Cohen's former attorney Robert Costello returned to the witness stand on Tuesday morning to testify for the defense in the New York criminal trial against Donald Trump, according to live updates from the courthouse.

On Monday, Costello was called as the defense's second witness. The lawyer clashed with Judge Juan Merchan after expressing frustration over the judge's decision to sustain multiple objections from the prosecution during his testimony, Blaze News reported.

Merchan briefly cleared the courtroom after Costello rolled his eyes, audibly sighed, and remarked, "Ridiculous."

"You don't give me a side eye and you don't roll your eyes. ... When there's a witness on the stand, if you don't like my ruling, you don't say 'jeez.' You don't say 'strike it,'" Merchan told Costello.

'Judge Merchan has so restricted my testimony that the defense has decided not to call me.'

During Costello's direct examination by Trump's attorneys on Monday, he testified that Cohen told him that the former president had nothing to do with the $130,000 settlement payment to porn actress Stormy Daniels. Costello claimed Cohen made the payment on his own to regain favor with Trump and increase his chances of securing a position at the White House.

According to Costello, Cohen told him approximately 10 to 12 times during a meeting in April 2018, "I swear to God, Bob, I don't have anything on Donald Trump."

During Costello's cross-examination on Tuesday, the prosecution tried to paint Costello as having "animosity" toward Cohen. Prosecutor Susan Hoffinger asked Costello whether he had attempted to push Cohen to retain him as his lawyer because he could provide a backchannel through Rudy Giuliani to President Trump. Costello denied the claim.

Hoffinger then showed Costello an email he had sent to Cohen allegedly referring to the backchannel.

"The email speaks for itself, right sir?" Hoffinger asked.

"No, not quite. There are circumstances about that email, which I would be delighted to tell you," Costello responded.

"That's alright, let's move on to the next one," Hoffinger stated.

The prosecution also accused Costello of attempting to "intimidate" Cohen by providing testimony last week before a House committee.

"That's ridiculous, no," Costello remarked.

After Costello concluded his testimony on Tuesday, Merchan instructed the jury regarding timing.

"I've considered all the permutation ... at the end of the day, I think the best thing that we can do is to adjourn now until next Tuesday. At that time you will hear summations from the attorneys. Probably Wednesday I'll ask you to come in ... hear jury charge and then I would expect that you will begin your deliberations hopefully at some point on Wednesday," Merchan concluded.

Anything else?

On Monday, the defense requested that former Federal Election Commissioner Brad Smith testify to similar topics addressed by the prosecution's expert witness. Merchan decided to limit the defense's request, arguing that it would lead to a "battle of the experts" that would "only confuse and not assist the jury."

Smith published a thread on X in response to the judge's decision to reject portions of his testimony in the trial.

"Judge Merchan has so restricted my testimony that the defense has decided not to call me. Now, it's elementary that the judge instructs the jury on the law, so I understand his reluctance," Smith wrote. "But the Federal Election Campaign Act is very complex. Even Antonin Scalia — a pretty smart guy, even [if] you hate him — once said 'this [campaign finance] law is so intricate that I can't figure it out.'"

"Part of the state's case is that they wrongly reported what they knew to be a campaign expenditure in order to hide the payment until after the election," Smith continued. "Cohen even testified they just wanted to get past the election."

"We were going to go over the reporting schedules, showing that even if they thought it was a campaign expenditure to be reported, an expenditure made on October 27 (when $ sent to Daniels atty) would not, under law, be reported until Dec. 8, a full 30 days after election," he explained.

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Candace Hathaway

Candace Hathaway

Candace Hathaway is a staff writer for Blaze News.
@candace_phx →