As Michael Cohen's testimony droned on, the real hush-money show moved outdoors with crude balloons and a 'Beetlejuice' chant

U.S. Representatives and supporters stand outside courthouse.
U.S. Representatives and supporters hold a press conference after attending the trial of former U.S. President Donald Trump. David Dee Delgado/Reuters
  • Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen spent his third day on the stand in the NY hush money trial.

  • As his testimony droned on, the real show was outside, where political stunts were plentiful.

  • There were penis-shaped balloons, and chants of "Beetlejuice!" during a speech by Lauren Boebert.

It was just after noon when giant, agitprop penises began flying past the sooty limestone facade of the criminal court in Manhattan.

It was just one of the political pranks seen outside the hush-money trial Thursday — and it was a heck-of-a-lot more interesting than the testimony droning on inside.

Up on the 15th floor, Donald Trump was on trial for falsifying business records. Key prosecution witness and former Trump attorney Michael Cohen calmly batted away a second day of defense questions about his honesty and motives.

But on the street right outside the front doors, a prankster tried to release dozens of pro-Trump helium balloons from the back of a U-Haul truck.

He managed to send only a dozen or so sailing slowly skyward before court officers ordered him to cut it out.

A balloon in the shape of a penis with Jack Smith's image attached to it
A pro-Trump protestor released penis balloons, including one with the mage of special counsel Jack Smith, outside the trial. Smith has no connection to the Manhattan trial.Andrew Kelly/Reuters

The balloons were shiny and pink, and bore images of judges and prosecutors who have offended Donald Trump over the past two years, including special prosecutor Jack Smith and the hush-money judge, New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan.

Others depicted Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney who won the felony indictment now on trial.

There were anti-Trump antics outside court on Thursday as well.

At one point, hecklers yelled "Beetlejuice" at Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado, and one tried to hand her a copy of a "Beetlejuice The Musical" playbill to autograph.

They were not trying to summon Michael Keaton's famous character, but rather trolling the Trump ally over her now-infamous episode, in which she was kicked out of a Colorado production of the "Beetlejuice" musical after being loud and getting handsy with her date.

She later apologized for her actions at the theater.

Lauren Boebert looks a someone about to hand her a "Beetlejuice" Playbill.
Rep. Lauren Boebert, a Colorado Republican, was trolled over her now infamous episode when she got kicked out of a Colorado production of Beetlejuice.Michael M Santiago/Getty Images

Republican members of the far-right House Freedom Caucus became the latest group of loyal Trump followers to mount an al fresco show of support for the former president.

Their presence is about more than just loyalty. As Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida outlined, they can attack witnesses in ways Trump cannot due to his gag order. Merchan has threatened to jail Trump if he runs afoul of the order again.

"We're here of our own volition because there are things we can say that President Trump is unjustly not allowed to say," Gaetz told reporters.

Ralph Norman holds up an image of Donald Trump behind bars
Rep. Ralph Norman, a South Carolina Republican, said the goal of the trial was to put former President Donald Trump behind bars.Andrew Kelly/Reuters

By day's end on Thursday, one deflated penis balloon had switched sides.

It wound up as part of a "Convict Trump" sign being waved outside the nearby federal courthouse, where another jury had just heard opening statements in the corruption trial of Sen. Robert Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey.

An anti-Trump protester outside the Manhattan federal corruption trial of New Jersey Democrat Sen. Robert Menendez.
An anti-Trump protester outside the Manhattan federal corruption trial of New Jersey Democrat Sen. Robert Menendez.Jacob Shamsian/BI


Other political protests around the courthouse have been more muted during the trial's five weeks. (Testimony may conclude as early as Monday, the judge said Thursday.)

Pro-Trump crowds there rarely exceeded 50 people.

But that was not the case on Thursday, when — just like at Disney World — the trash cans were themed.

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