Michael Cohen rages ‘no one is above the law’ as he says ‘truth will prevail’ over Trump’s ‘incessant lying’

Donald Trump’s former fixer-turned-foe Michael Cohen has raged that “no one is above the law” and vowed that “truth will prevail” over the former president’s “incessant lying”, as he prepares to take the stand to testify in the historic hush money trial.

On Tuesday morning, Judge Juan Merchan presided over a hearing to determine whether Mr Trump has violated the gag order in the case.

Manhattan prosecutors have argued that the former president has breached the order at least 10 times in posts on his Truth Social account and on his campaign website, following a series of attacks on Cohen as well as adult film star Stormy Daniels – both of whom are likely prosecution witnesses in the landmark case.

Cohen, a frequent subject of the former president’s wrath, often discusses on his podcasts the death threats he has faced in the lead-up to the trial, showcasing the toll that being cast out of Trumpworld has taken on his life.

As the judge weighed the potential gag order violations, Cohen told The Independent by text message that – in the face of the attacks – he is “stronger than I ever imagined”.

“After the Trump administration had me remanded to solitary confinement for a total of 51 days, I learned that I am much stronger than I ever imagined,” he said.

“Strong enough to ensure that truth will prevail over Donald and his acolytes’ incessant lying and denigration of me. In the court hallways or his UNtruth Social platform.”

“Regardless,” Cohen continued, “no one is above the law.”

The hush money trial is now in its second week, with the first witness David Pecker returning to the stand for a second day on Tuesday morning.

Cohen is considered to be a “star witness” in the case, having admitted to giving Ms Daniels $130,000 in so-called hush money payments to conceal an alleged affair with Mr Trump ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

He has claimed he handed over the money “at the direction” of Mr Trump. The payments were labeled as legal fees.

Although Cohen was once a close ally, attorney and so-called “fixer” of the former president, their relationship has since soured, with the two men turning on each other.

In recent weeks, Mr Trump has repeatedly attacked his former lawyer’s credibility.

Michael Cohen enters New York Supreme Court on 25 October 2023 in New York (AP)
Michael Cohen enters New York Supreme Court on 25 October 2023 in New York (AP)

Mr Trump and his legal team have cited the fact that Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to making false statements to Congress — on matters unrelated to the current criminal case. Mr Trump and his team have also recently pointed out how a judge recently denied Cohen an early end to his supervised release after suggesting that Cohen committed perjury.

Just two days before the trial’s start, Mr Trump posted on Truth Social wondering whether his former attorney “had been prosecuted for LYING?” In a separate Truth Social post, the former president referred to Cohen and Ms Daniels as “two sleaze bags who have, with their lies and misrepresentations, cost our Country dearly!”

For his part, Cohen has also been posting frequently about his former client.

On Monday, as the second week of the historic trial kicked off, Cohen gave Mr Trump an unflattering new nickname.

Hey Von S***zInPantz…your attacks of me stink of desperation. We are all hoping that you take the stand in your defense,” Cohen posted, alongside a photo of Mr Trump sitting at the defence table in Manhattan criminal court.

Judge Merchan is expected to make a decision around the potential gag order violations at a later date.

The DA’s office has asked the judge to hit Mr Trump with $10,000 in financial penalties and to force the former president to take down the offending posts. The prosecutors noted they are “not yet” asking for jail time.

Although Mr Trump’s lawyer Todd Blanche argued that there was “absolutely no willful violation” of the gag order and that his client was merely responding to political attacks, he fell short of pointing to the posts that Mr Trump was reacting to.

“You presented nothing,” Judge Merchan shot back. “You’re losing all credibility.”