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Trump Trial: Prosecutors Say Michael Cohen Is Their Last Witness—Leaving Out Bannon, Giuliani And Karen McDougal

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Updated May 14, 2024, 02:15pm EDT

Topline

Prosecutors in former President Donald Trump’s criminal hush money case said former Trump attorney Michael Cohen will be their last witness, which means they won’t call a slew of former Trump associates the judge had listed as potential witnesses, including former attorney Rudy Giuliani, former aide Steve Bannon and ex-Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg.

Key Facts

Defense attorneys could still call more witnesses once the prosecution rests, though Trump attorney Todd Blanche said during a sidebar Tuesday morning he would not commit to calling anyone, including Trump, who previously maintained he plans to testify, NBC News reported.

So far, Trump has seen a handful of former associates on the witness stand, including former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker, former aide Hope Hicks, former First Republic Bank executive Gary Farro, former assistant Rhona Graff, C-Span archives director Robert Browning, adult film star Stormy Daniels and her attorney Keith Davidson.

During jury selection last month, New York Judge Juan Merchan informed potential jurors of the names of over 40 potential witnesses they could see in the trial in an effort to weed out biases, though with Trump’s defense indicating they likely will not call on any more witnesses, Trump could be done seeing more former associates on the witness stand.

Among the potential witnesses Merchan had listed were members of Trump’s family, including his adult children Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump, as well as his wife Melania Trump and Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump’s husband—none of Trump’s family members have testified.

Other potential witnesses Merchan had named included model Karen McDougal, who also said she received a hush money payment for an alleged affair with Trump, and former Trump Organization Allen Weisselberg.

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Key Background

Trump was indicted on 34 felony charges last March for allegedly falsifying business records stemming from hush money payments to Daniels in the lead-up to the 2016 presidential election intended to keep her from speaking on an alleged affair. Prosecutors claim Trump paid Cohen $420,000 as reimbursement for a $130,000 hush money payment to Daniels and other expenses, and falsely labeled that reimbursement as a legal fee. Trump pleaded not guilty to the charges and claimed no wrongdoing, continuing his criticism of the case on Monday, when he called it “the Biden Manhattan Witch Hunt Case” in a post on Truth Social. Trump also faces a gag order in the case barring him from publicly commenting on potential witnesses and court staff, with prosecutors on Monday seeking a $3,000 fine for Trump and claiming the former president violated the order by attacking Merchan on Truth Social.

What We Don’t Know

Whether a potential conviction in the hush money case could cost Trump votes in the November election. Roughly 57% of registered voters in a New York Times/Siena poll conducted last week said they believe the charges against Trump are serious, with 46% of respondents saying the former president should be found guilty, compared to 37% who said he should not and 17% who were unsure or did not answer. Roughly 13% of respondents—and 24% of registered Republicans—in a Reuters/Ipsos poll this month said they would not vote for Trump in November if he is convicted of a felony.

Further Reading

ForbesHere's Why A Hush Money Conviction May Cost Trump The ElectionForbesTrump Judge Submits 'Most Exhaustive Questionnaire' For Jurors In Hush Money Case: Here Are All 42 Questions
ForbesTrump Judge Merchan Warns Of Arrest If Trump Disrupts Or Skips Hush Money TrialForbesProsecutors Want Trump Fined $3,000 For Violating Judge Merchan's Gag Order
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