[Fox News] Trump touts defense team has ‘won’ Manhattan case as he calls on Merchan to dismiss

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Former President Trump said his defense team has already “won the case by any standard” in the NY v. Trump trial as he called on presiding Judge Juan Merchan to dismiss this case. 

“We have a phenomenal case. We’ve won the case by any standard, any other judge would have thrown this case, any other judge would have thrown this case out. And I think that Juan Merchan would do himself and the state and the city, a great service by doing what everybody knows should be done,” Trump said Tuesday morning outside the Manhattan courtroom

“I will be doing something in the morning and then probably coming back in the afternoon, and we’ll be resting pretty quickly. Resting, meaning resting the case. I won’t be resting. I don’t rest. I’d like to rest sometimes, but I don’t get to rest. But we are,” Trump added. The defense team rested the case shortly following Trump’s remarks, and Merchan dismissed the jury until after Memorial Day. 

Trump defense attorney Todd Blanche on Monday motioned for an order of dismissal, citing that there has been no evidence any of the business records or filings related to the case were false. The case itself focuses on 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree. DA Alvin Bragg’s office must prove to the jury that not only did Trump falsify the business records related to payments to former pornography star Stormy Daniels, but that he did so in furtherance of another crime – conspiracy to promote or prevent election. 

COHEN’S BOMBSHELL ADMISSION COULD LEAD TO HUNG JURY, IF NOT ACQUITTAL: EXPERT

The prosecution team argues that Trump falsified business records to conceal a $130,000 payment to Daniels ahead of the 2016 election to quiet her claims of an affair with Trump. Trump has pleaded not guilty in the case and has repeatedly denied any affair with Daniels. 

Blanche said there were “absolutely no false business filings” and no evidence of connection to Trump.

“How on earth is keeping a false story from voters criminal?” Blanche said.

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Merchan told the court Monday he would rule on the motion to dismiss at a later time. 

The prosecution team’s star witness, Michael Cohen, on Monday admitted in testimony that he stole thousands of dollars from the Trump Organization. 

Cohen in bombshell testimony revealed that he stole $60,000 from the Trump Organization by overstating how much he paid a tech company that provided services for the company. Cohen said he told former Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg in 2017 that he had paid tech firm Red Finch $50,000 out of his own pocket, and that he still needed to be reimbursed for the payment. 

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Weisselberg and Cohen in 2017 calculated a $420,000 repayment to Cohen for his $130,000 payment to Daniels, as well as the alleged $50,000 payment to Red Finch. The repayment plan was “grossed up” compared to what Cohen said he paid to Daniels and Red Finch, sparing him a tax hit, and meaning he was able to pocket thousands from the Trump Org. 

Cohen said taking the funds was “almost like self-help,” claiming he took the funds because he was “angry” that his yearly bonus had been slashed. 

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Amid his testimony Monday, Cohen also said he’s mulling a potential congressional run, citing he has the “best name recognition out there.”

Tuesday, which marks the 20th day of court for the case, kicked off with continued testimony from defense witness Robert Costello, a former legal representative of Cohen who testified before a grand jury last year that Cohen is a “serial liar.” 

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The courtroom became tense during Costello’s testimony Monday, with Merchan ordering the media and jurors out of the room after Costello audibly and visibly disapproved of the judge’s rulings sustaining multiple objections from the prosecution team.

“I want to discuss proper decorum in my courtroom,” Merchan said after the jury left. “You don’t say strike it because I’m the only one who can strike it.” 

Merchan reprimanded Costello to not roll his eyes or react to his rulings. Before the jury came back into the courtroom, Merchan asked Costello: “Are you staring me down?”

Trump said Monday that Merchan can earn back “respect” if he rules to dismiss the case. 

“This case should be dropped by the judge. I think the judge, if he did, that… could gain the respect back. The appellate court has to step in, something has to happen. Think of it, the Republican Party, one of the two great parties, nominates somebody to be their candidate. And that candidate now has been sitting here for almost five weeks in a freezing cold icebox listening to this stuff,” Trump said Monday following a whirlwind day in court. 

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