Michael Cohen’s credibility paradox – The Atlantic


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Michael Cohen is an admitted liar and a convicted felon who’s brazenly fueled by a thirst for revenge towards Donald Trump. That he’s so frank about his motives and previous may very well make his testimony appear extra credible to jurors.

First, listed below are three new tales from The Atlantic:


Revenge of the Fixer

For the previous week in New York, Michael Cohen has been a useful—and fraught—star witness in Donald Trump’s prison trial. The protection has tried to painting Cohen, Trump’s ex-lawyer and fixer, as a jilted lackey—which he brazenly is. To get a way of his animus towards his ex-boss, look no additional than his T-shirt depicting Trump behind bars, his admission in court docket that he as soon as referred to as Trump a “Cheeto-dusted cartoon villain,” and his two memoirs—Disloyal and Revenge—that trash the previous president for his many transgressions.

Nonetheless, Cohen’s openness about his previous and his motivations—partly compelled by the general public and prison nature of his earlier offenses—may very well make him appear extra credible to a jury. His argument in court docket boiled all the way down to: I dedicated crimes at Trump’s behest—and suffered penalties—as a result of I’d have accomplished something for him. That transparency made him appear as if “the agent who was held accountable, whereas the principal has escaped accountability,” James Pattern, a regulation professor at Hofstra College, instructed me in an electronic mail.

In 2018, Cohen was sentenced to a few years in jail for crimes that included mendacity to Congress about plans to construct a Trump Tower in Moscow and violating campaign-finance legal guidelines by making hush-money funds—one in all which went to the adult-film star Stormy Daniels. He testified that, in the course of the 2016 election, when she was contemplating publicizing the story of her alleged 2006 sexual encounter with Trump, Trump ordered Cohen to “handle it.” In flip, Cohen paid Daniels $130,000 of his personal cash, which he claimed was later reimbursed by Trump.

On the stand, Cohen largely remained calm, although he had some shaky moments. He admitted throughout cross-examination that he had stolen tens of hundreds of {dollars} from the Trump Group, pocketing a few of the cash earmarked for a tech firm. (When a prosecutor later probed him, he stated that he had been indignant as a result of his bonus was minimize.) The protection repeatedly tried to assail Cohen’s credibility—an apparent solution to undermine a person who had beforehand lied below oath. Cohen testified that he had spoken with Trump in October 2016, by way of Trump’s bodyguard’s telephone, about paying off Daniels. Making an attempt to ding Cohen on the small print of the decision, the protection insisted that Cohen hadn’t spoken with Trump and had really mentioned a distinct matter with the bodyguard, however Cohen stood by his testimony. Trump’s legal professionals additionally referred to as into query Cohen’s money-related stake within the trial. Cohen admitted that he has a monetary curiosity within the end result of the trial, as a result of he writes and podcasts about Trump, however added that an acquittal could be higher for him economically as a result of it could give him “extra to speak about.”

A standard paradox lies on the coronary heart of Trump’s prison case, Pattern instructed me: “To get on the fact in prosecuting prison enterprises typically requires counting on liars.” Usually, being a convicted felon would make a witness far much less credible. However the truth that Cohen has already served time in jail for admitting to crimes associated to hush-money funds really provides to his credibility as a witness right here, Valerie Hans, a professor at Cornell Legislation Faculty and an skilled on juries, instructed me in an electronic mail; jurors gained’t should marvel if Cohen is testifying as a part of a plea deal to keep away from jail time for these expenses.

In distinction to the prosecution’s parade of witnesses, Trump’s protection workforce introduced solely two witnesses earlier than resting its case earlier right this moment. (Trump himself didn’t testify.) One of many witnesses was Robert Costello, a lawyer who as soon as did some authorized work for Cohen. He was positioned to be a Cohen-antagonist, and he claimed that Cohen beforehand instructed him that Trump “knew nothing” concerning the hush-money cost to Daniels. However within the technique of attempting to impugn Cohen, Costello “succeeded in impugning himself,” Pattern instructed me. The choose scolded Costello after he reportedly instructed the courtroom to “strike” one thing from the report and continued to talk after objections have been sustained. “The circus-like debacle of Costello’s testimony is a microcosm of why the protection referred to as so few witnesses,” Pattern defined.

Cohen’s historical past of fealty to Trump, and his willingness to bully and lie, is effectively documented. That his previous could be an asset could appear unusual—however the prosecution is banking on him. After Memorial Day weekend, the jury will convene and start their deliberations. Their determination to convict or acquit a former president will largely hinge on whether or not or not they assume they will belief the phrase of Michael Cohen.

Associated:


Immediately’s Information

  1. Trump’s protection rested its case in his New York prison trial. Closing arguments are set to start subsequent week.
  2. Rudy Giuliani and 10 different Trump allies pleaded not responsible to conspiracy, forgery, and fraud expenses in an Arizona prison case associated to their alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential-election outcomes.
  3. One man died and a number of passengers suffered accidents when a Boeing aircraft flying from London to Singapore encountered extreme turbulence; the plane plummeted roughly 6,000 toes throughout the span of 5 minutes.

Night Learn

Robotic Cupid hovering in air with a bow and arrow
Illustration by Nick Little for The Atlantic

The Huge AI Danger Not Sufficient Individuals Are Seeing

By Tyler Austin Harper

“Our focus with AI is to assist create extra wholesome and equitable relationships.” Whitney Wolfe Herd, the founder and govt chair of the relationship app Bumble, leans in towards her Bloomberg Reside interviewer. “How can we really educate you find out how to date?”

When her interviewer, apparently bemused, asks for an instance of what this implies, Herd launches right into a mind-bending disquisition on the way forward for AI-abetted relationship: “Okay, so for instance, you would within the close to future be speaking to your AI relationship concierge, and you would share your insecurities. ‘I simply got here out of a breakup. I’ve dedication points.’ And it might provide help to practice your self into a greater mind-set about your self” …

What Herd supplies right here is far more than a darkly whimsical peek right into a dystopian way forward for on-line relationship. It’s a window right into a future during which individuals require layer upon layer of algorithmic mediation between them with a view to perform probably the most fundamental of human interactions: these involving romance, intercourse, friendship, consolation, meals.

Learn the complete article.

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P.S.

Among the many many absurd particulars of the hush-money case are the alliterative, considerably zippy pseudonyms that Daniels and Cohen apparently utilized in a nondisclosure settlement. Trump glided by “David Dennison,” and Daniels was referred to as “Peggy Peterson.” Earlier within the trial, Keith Davidson, Daniels’s former lawyer, testified that he had give you the monikers—and that David Dennison was the identify of an actual particular person on his high-school hockey workforce.

— Lora


Stephanie Bai contributed to this text.

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