Former Cohen attorney on Trump hush money deliberations: ‘Documents speak for themselves’

Lanny Davis, a former attorney to Michael Cohen, said Monday that the evidence against former President Trump in his criminal hush money trial could be enough to convict him, brushing aside concerns over Cohen’s reliability as the case heads to closing arguments and jury deliberations this week.

Davis, in an MSNBC interview with guest host the Rev. Al Sharpton, argued that the jury doesn’t even need Cohen’s testimony to come to a conclusion.

“The testimony and the documents speak for themselves,” he said. “In the testimony from Donald Trump’s adherence and loyalists, David Pecker, Hope Hicks all testified that the money that Donald Trump directed Michael Cohen to give to Stormy Daniels, an adult film star, to keep her quiet before the election.”

Trump faces 34 felony counts of falsifying business documents in the case, which marks the first criminal trial of a sitting or former president. Prosecutors claim Trump illegally covered up hush money payments made to adult film actor Stormy Daniels in the weeks before the 2016 election to buy her silence over an alleged past affair, which he denies.

Questions have surrounded Cohen’s testimony given his prior conviction for lying under oath, and a harsh cross-examination by Trump attorneys earlier this month. Davis represented Cohen in the case he was convicted for, and said he instructed him to admit to lying in 2019.

“In February 2019, I said, ‘Michael, the only way you’re going to be believed is to own your lies, and admit them on national television under oath before Congress,’ and that’s what he did,” Davis said.

“So the long journey with Michael Cohen, including being cross-examined by the same kind of prosecutor, the same kind of defense attorneys for Michael Cohen’s prior employer, Donald Trump,” he continued. “He was subjected to cross-examination in the [New York] Attorney General Tish James’s case, and the judge found him to be credible and truthful.”

Davis argued that the “smoking gun” in the case is not Cohen’s testimony, but evidence from former Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg, who signed documents recording reimbursement payments from Trump to Cohen for keeping Daniels quiet.

“Documents speak for themselves. ‘Believe your lying eyes’ is what’s going to happen in the jury room,” he said. “They don’t have to use anything that Michael Cohen said.”

“All the jury has to do is believe [Weisselberg’s] document and know that they were reimbursements that Michael Cohen was paid back for what he advanced for the crime of paying off Ms. Daniels before the election,” he added. “And that’s enough for them to convict beyond a reasonable doubt without relying on Michael Cohen at all.”

Despite his confidence in the evidence, Davis did not predict an outcome to the case. Closing arguments will begin Tuesday, and jury deliberations immediately after.

If he is convicted, Trump could face as much as four years in prison, as well as be named a felon. Davis called the claims against the former president, also the presumptive GOP nominee for the White House, an “impairment of our democracy.”

“There’s plenty of evidence here for the jury to convict beyond a reasonable doubt,” Davis said. “But whatever happens, I will respect the jury’s verdict.”

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