Error-Rich Week for Donald Trump Attorneys

Anjali Jain
Former U.S. President Donald Trump and attorney Susan Necheles return from a break during his trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments at Manhattan Criminal Court on May 9, 2024 in New York City. Trump was charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records last year, which prosecutors say was an effort to hide a potential sex scandal, both before and after the 2016 presidential election.

The defense of Donald Trump in his hush money trial has been consistently impeded by the conduct of his attorneys this week, according to legal experts.

The former president is presently standing trial on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in relation to the alleged “legal fee” he arranged for former attorney Michael Cohen to compensate adult film star Stormy Daniels for concealing an alleged affair the two of them had prior to the 2016 presidential election. Trump’s company records reflected this payment as Cohen’s “legal fee.” The allegations that Trump had an affair with Daniels are denied by him.

In light of the recent proceedings, several legal analysts have expressed disapproval of the interrogation of Daniels by Trump’s legal team. Some analysts have identified obvious errors and blunders that could have been prevented.

Newsweek has compiled a number of alleged errors committed by the defense of the former president throughout the New York trial in the following section. The legal team representing Trump has been contacted via email for comment.

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The Interrogation of Daniels
This week, the adult film actress testified twice, each time for extended periods of time and frequently revealing explicit information regarding her purported sexual encounter with Trump in 2006.
Nevertheless, the majority of Daniels’ statements were considered inconsequential to the criminal case, and several legal scholars also censured Trump’s defense for the manner in which they questioned Daniels during cross-examination.

Former Deputy Assistant Attorney General and attorney Harry Litman stated on Tuesday that Trump attorney Susan Necheles committed “classroom errors” by permitting Daniels to refute allegations against her, which included a desire to extort the former president.

The MSNBC”She [Necheles] went for broke repeatedly…and then she was stuck,” according to Litman. “And there were repeated sidebars also, so her rhythm—rhythm is everything on cross—her rhythm was repeatedly broken.”

On Thursday, allegations surfaced that Trump’s campaign team was overly confrontational with Daniels and attempted to undermine her credibility by implying that her pornographic career demonstrated her ability to fabricate “phony” sex encounters.

Norm Eisen, who advised the House Judiciary Committee as a special counsel during the initial impeachment of the former president, told Newsweek, “It was evident that Trump’s attorneys desired to strike a hard ball, and regrettably, they did so.”

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“The defense may have fared better if they did not have such a formidable witness in Daniels,” according to him. “For instance, after one of defense lawyer Susan Necheles’ attempts to discredit her, Daniels used it as an opportunity to highlight the power imbalance between her and Trump.” Not Objecting
This week, Judge Juan Merchan has denied twice the motions for a mistrial filed by Trump’s attorney, Daniels, on the grounds that her testimony was inconsequential to the case involving the falsification of business records. The judge has inquired on both occasions as to why Trump’s legal team did not object to Daniels’ testimony during her responses to prosecution inquiries.

On Tuesday, Merchan expressed his “surprise” that the defense did not file any additional objections, as the deadline to request a mistrial had passed.
“When you say the bell has been rung, the defense has to take some responsibility for that,” according to Merchan.

On Thursday, Trump’s legal team also filed a motion for a mistrial in response to Daniels’s testimony, which contained explicit details of her purported affair with the president and appeared to implicate him in sexual assault.

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Merchan denied the request once more and criticized Necheles for failing to object while Daniels responded to prosecution queries. Additionally, the judge questioned “for the life of me” why Necheles did not object to information regarding whether or not Trump used a prophylactic during his marriage to Daniels.

Disclosure of Reimbursement

Litman further posited that throughout this week’s proceedings, Trump’s legal team has twice conceded a crucial element of the prosecution’s case: that the remuneration Trump extended to Cohen was a reimbursement of the sum he paid Daniels, and not merely legal fees.
The apparent “slip” occurred during the cross-examination of former Trump Organization controller Jeffrey McConney, who detailed conversations he had with the organization’s chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg and described to the court how Trump’s company reimbursed Cohen the $130,000 he gave to Daniels.

“Trump’s counsel appears to have erred when he obtains information from McConney that Weisselberg instructed him that the funds were intended for a reimbursement,” Litman wrote on X, which was formerly Twitter. “Recall that this is the position of the district attorney, and the paperwork masked it as legal fees.” “Moreover, Trump wishes to clarify that it was legal fees and not a reimbursement.”
In 2018, Trump had characterized the remuneration he extended to Cohen on social media as a “reimbursement.” However, he refuted any connection between the funds and his 2016 campaign.
False Tape

A minor error was also committed by Trump’s team on Thursday when, during proceedings, they inadvertently played the incorrect tape recording to the jury.
Necheles inadvertently broadcast an inaccurate rendition of a conversation that transpired between Cohen and Daniels’ former attorney, Keith Davidson, concerning the purported hush money payment.
Merchan issued a warning to Necheles regarding the error: “Could you please review the transcript prior to operating the tape?”

Possibility of Gag Order Violation
Merchan accused Trump attorney Alina Habba, who does not represent the former president in the hush money trial, of violating a prohibition order.
Habba, who is regarded as Trump’s legal spokesperson, was accused of “directing others” to violate the court order prohibiting Trump from making public remarks about trial witnesses.
Tuesday’s Fox News interview in which Habba characterized Daniels as “not credible” sparked speculation that she had violated the order.

“”Habba’s remarks regarding Daniels’ testimony seem to be an additional breach of the gag order,” Neama Rahmani, president of West Coast Trial Lawyers and a former federal prosecutor, told Newsweek.
“Neither the parties nor their attorneys are permitted to comment publicly on the credibility of the witnesses.” Given that Daniels is currently in the midst of her cross-examination and is still testifying, Habba’s interview is particularly problematic.

On Friday, the hush money prosecution against Trump is expected to resume.

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Hello, I'm Anjali Jain, a passionate writer navigating the dynamic realms of entertainment, politics, and technology. My blog serves as a digital canvas where I explore the intricate threads that weave together these diverse spheres, offering readers a comprehensive and engaging perspective. Entertainment Aficionado: As an avid consumer of all things entertainment, I delve into the worlds of movies, television, music, and more. Through my blog, I share insightful analyses, reviews, and behind-the-scenes glimpses into the ever-evolving landscape of pop culture. Political Explorer: I'm not one to shy away from the complexities of the political arena. From local issues to global affairs, my writings aim to unravel the intricacies of political events, fostering meaningful conversations about the societal impact of policy decisions. Tech Enthusiast: With an insatiable curiosity for technology, I keep my readers abreast of the latest innovations and trends in the tech world. My articles break down complex concepts, making technology accessible and exploring its profound influence on our daily lives. Narrative Architect: Through my writing, I craft narratives that bridge the gap between entertainment, politics, and technology. Each blog post is a journey, offering readers a thought-provoking exploration of the forces shaping our world. Join me in unraveling the stories that define our culture. Connect with me on Facebook, Instagram and X for real-time updates, discussions, and a shared passion for the fascinating intersection of entertainment, politics, and tech.

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