Trump defence attorney attacks hush money case as ‘lies’

May 29, 2024
Former US President Donald Trump returns after a break in his criminal trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments at Manhattan Criminal Court on May 28, 2024 in New York City. — AFP

NEW YORK: Defence lawyers in Donald Trump´s hush money trial made their final pitch to the jury on Tuesday, insisting the first ever criminal prosecution of a former US president was based on “lies.”


Less than six months before American voters choose whether to return Trump to the White House, the stakes riding on the verdict are hard to overstate -- for the 77-year-old personally, but also for the country.

Trump is accused of falsifying business records to reimburse his lawyer, Michael Cohen, for a $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels, when her account of a 2006 sexual encounter could have doomed his 2016 presidential campaign.

“This is a very dangerous day for America,” Trump told reporters before entering the Manhattan courtroom as three of his five children -- Don Jr, Eric and Tiffany -- stood behind him. “We have a rigged court case that should have never been brought.”

“President Trump is innocent,” his defense attorney Todd Blanche told the jury at the start of what he said would be about two-and-a-half hours of closing arguments.

“The consequences of the lack of proof you have heard over the last five weeks is simple -- it´s a not guilty verdict,” Blanche said. He attacked Cohen, the prosecution´s star witness, as a liar.

“He told you a number of things on that witness stand that were lies, pure and simple,” Blanche said. “You cannot convict president Trump of any crime beyond a reasonable doubt on the word of Michael Cohen.”