Trump Hush Money Judge To Defense Witness: "Are You Staring Me Down"; Clears Courtroom!

The judge presiding over Donald Trump's hush money trial in Manhattan cleared the courtroom and reprimanded a defense witness for his heavy sighs, eye rolls, and audible reactions to objections to his testimony. New York Justice Juan Merchan excused the jury on Monday to school Robert Costello about "proper decorum" in the courtroom moments after his testimony began.

Members of the press and public along with the former president's entourage were asked to leave, with court officers shouting out "get out" to journalists who were abruptly forced out of an open court. Costello, an attorney with ties to Rudy Giuliani, is likely the trial's final witness, offering testimony intended to undermine critical evidence from Trump's one-time "fixer" Michael Cohen. Cohen had previously testified to what he called Mr. Costello's "pressure campaign" to open a "back channel" of communication to Trump while Cohen was under federal investigation.

The remarkable moment in the Manhattan courthouse followed a lengthy day of testimony and debate over potential witnesses. Prosecutors rested their case against the former president after a final day of testimony from Cohen, the trial's star witness, who explained how his life "turned upside down" after lying for his former boss.

Mr. Trump is charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records for a series of invoices and checks to Cohen in 2017 that reimbursed him for his payment to Stormy Daniels in the weeks before the 2016 presidential election. Prosecutors allege Mr. Trump unlawfully covered up potentially politically damaging information about his affairs to boost his chances of winning.

Monday ended with Mr. Trump's attorneys' Hail Mary request to dismiss the case altogether, based on Cohen's testimony alone, and with Mr. Trump raging in the hallway and calling Judge Merchan a "tyrant." Inside the courtroom, Mr. Costello said he never pressured Cohen to do anything, but under the prosecution's cross examination, he admitted to celebrating what he thought was a big client and would be "eternally grateful" to be "on the team" representing him.


Get latest news delivered daily!

We will send you breaking news right to your inbox

© 2024 Wayne Dupree, Privacy Policy