Trump accuses Michael Cohen of ‘lying’ despite gag order

Former President Trump on Monday claimed Michael Cohen is “lying,” following a day in court for his hush money trial, once again testing the gag order imposed in the case.

“When are they going to look at all the lies that Cohen did in the last trial. He got caught lying. Pure lying. And when are they going to look at that,” Trump said Monday at the Manhattan courthouse.

His remarks followed a day of opening statements in his hush money trial in New York, where the former president is accused of illegally covering up a hush money payment Cohen made to conceal an alleged affair ahead of the 2016 election.

Trump faces 34 counts of falsifying business records in connection with reimbursements to Cohen after he paid adult film actress Stormy Daniels $130,000 in October 2016 to stay quiet about the alleged affair.

Cohen, who is likely to be a witness in the case, pleaded guilty in 2018 to federal charges and was sentenced to three years in prison.

The charges were related to the payments made to Daniels as part of a nondisclosure agreement. Cohen claimed he did so at the direction of a “candidate for federal office.”

Judge Juan Merchan, who is overseeing the hush money case, imposed a gag order on Trump last month that bars the former president from publicly attacking witnesses, jurors or others during the trial.

In the order, Merchan said Trump is ordered to refrain from “making or directing others to make public statements about known or reasonably foreseeable witnesses concerning their potential participation in this investigation or in this criminal proceeding.”

The gag order was expanded earlier this month to also limit Trump’s attacks on the family members of Merchan or Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (D), who helped lead the hush money investigation.

It is not immediately clear if Trump’s remarks violate Merchan’s gag order. A hearing on the gag order will be held Tuesday, when Merchan is expected to rule on if the former president’s recent social media posts violate the order.

Prosecutors asked Merchan last week to fine the former president $3,000 for violation of the gag order in three recent Truth Social posts.

Merchan did not immediately rule on the prosecutors’ request filed April 15, but scheduled a hearing on the matter for Tuesday.

The posts in question took aim at Cohen and Daniels, though Trump’s legal team has argued the posts do not violate the order. Attorney Todd Blanche argued last week Trump was “responding to salacious, repeated, vehement attacks by these witnesses.”

Trump’s legal team also took aim at Cohen during Monday’s opening statements.

Blanche told jurors they can’t trust Cohen, who has since turned against the former president. He referenced Cohen’s past guilty pleas, portraying him as a liar who is now making a livelihood off attacking Trump on his podcast, book and cable news.

“Given this, you cannot give [a] serious decision about President Trump relying on the words of Michael Cohen,” Blanche said in court.

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