Trump trial live: Michael Cohen prepares to take stand as Trump dubs prosecutor ‘corrupt’ at wild NJ rally

Donald Trump’s criminal hush money trial is set to hear from his former lawyer and “fixer” Michael Cohen on Monday after the former president spent the weekend railing against Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Braggat a wild Jersey Shore rally.

Cohen, who is said to have helped orchestrate the alleged “catch and kill” scheme to bury unfavorable stories about Mr Trump ahead of the 2016 election, is a key witness in the case.

On Friday, Cohen, who was convicted of fraud in 2018, and has blasted Mr Trump continuously on social media, was ordered by Judge Juan Merchan to stop talking about his former boss publicly in advance of his testimony.

On Saturday, Mr Trump took a break from the courtroom and headed to the beach, addressing a massive crowd of MAGA faithful at the Jersey Shore.

The rally turned nasty at times when Mr Trump dubbed President Joe Biden a “total moron” and coined a new derogatory nickname for Mr Bragg – “fat Alvin”.

Alex Woodward is covering Mr Trump’s trial and will be providing regular updates on proceedings

Key Points

  • Hush money judge says Michael Cohen needs to stop talking about Trump

  • Michael Cohen expected to begin testimony Monday in Trump hush money trial

  • Stormy Daniels: 'Real men respond to testimony by being sworn in and taking the stand in court’

  • Porn star shoots down Trump attorney’s claims she made up sex story

  • Judge denies Trump’s attempt to lift gag order so he can ‘respond’ to explosive testimony

  • Trump hush money trial: Key takeaways from Day 15

Thursday 9 May 2024 20:30 , Alex Woodward

We see this text from Westerhout to Hope Hicks on March 20 (no year):

“Hey-the president wants to know if you called David Pecker again?”

We see this email from Westerhout to Graff on January 27 2017:

“Can you please send this to Alan Weisselberg [sic] from the President?

He sent his family and wanted Alan to see it as well. First time boarding Air Force One!”

The subject is “Photo” and the attachment is “NYT.pdf”

Trump often sent clippings. This one is Trump on the cover of the Times boarding AF1. This didn’t seem unusual, she says.

Thursday 9 May 2024 20:33 , Alex Woodward

Checks that came for Trump’s signature were “originally sent to Keith Schiller and later they were sent to me.”

“The checks came in a FedEx envelope, so I opened the envelope and inside was a manila folder with a stack of checks.”

She would then give them to Trump to sign. He would give them back to her and she would put them into another envelope to mail them back.

“I don’t recall how frequently but it was consistent. Maybe twice a month.”

How many were in a packet?

“Sometimes there was one, sometimes a stack half an inch thick.”

Thursday 9 May 2024 20:41 , Alex Woodward

We see an email from Westerhout to Graff on February 21 2017 regarding the Winged Foot Golf Club.

“Rhona - can you help me with this? See attached.”

It’s an invoice for annual dues to Winged Foot Golf Club Inc

Graff wrote on it:

Dear Mr President!

If Winged Foot will allow me to suspend your membership for 4 to 8 years, do you want me to look into it or do you want to continue paying Annual Dues + the food minimum? RG

Next to the total is a note in Trump Sharpie:


It’s for $6,974.

Thursday 9 May 2024 20:47 , Alex Woodward

Another email, from Westerhout to Graff on June 20 2017

Subject: Photo

“I believe this was in relation to a photograph, that Mr Trump – that President Trump – wanted to put in a frame.” It was for a photo “behind the resolute desk” where there “was a little credenza and as time went on he would pictures of his family [there].”

Graff mentioned finding a frame at Tiffany’s for it.

“He did mention a Tiffany’s frame,” Westerhout replied.

Graff: “Please note that the frames are on the pricey side .. about $650 minus %15 discount. Does DJT want to spend that much?”

Westerhout says she might’ve made an “executive decision” about that one.

“Sorry, sir,” she tells Trump from the stand.

Thursday 9 May 2024 20:50 , Alex Woodward

Trump was “very upset” when the Stormy Daniels story came out in 2018

She described Trump and Melania’s relationship as one of “mutual respect.”

“I just found their relationship really special and he really cared a lot about her opinion. There was no one who could put him in his place too. … They laughed a lot when she came into the Oval Office.”

He would often tell her to call Melania to say he’s running late, and she would call to ask where he is. “It’s past dinner time, when’s my husband coming home?”

Westerhout is tearing up on the stand describing her departure from the administration and her relationship with Trump.

Thursday 9 May 2024 20:50 , Alex Woodward

She had a “regretful youthful indiscretion”.

“I feel like I learned a lot from that experience and I have learned a lot since then,” she says, crying as she dabs her eyes with a tissue.

Asked by Mangold if she needs a moment, she says, “I’m OK,” and continues speaking.

She wrote about it to “share with the American people that the man that I got to know,” she says, her voice breaking. “I don’t think he’s treated fairly and I wanted to tell that story.”

That book is Off the Record: My Dream Job at the White House, How I Lost It, and What I Learned.

Thursday 9 May 2024 20:57 , Alex Woodward

Defence attorney Susan Necheles is now conducting a cross-examination of Westerhout at speed.

She asks her about the former president.

Westerhout replies that Trump “never once made me feel like I didn’t belong there,” particularly around a lot of older men.

“He was a really good boss. He —I hope he respected me and my job. Yeah, I just found him very enjoyable to work for.”

Testimony ends for the day

Thursday 9 May 2024 21:03 , Alex Woodward

Judge Merchan stops testimony for the day.

Necheles will presumably resume Westerhout’s questioning tomorrow at 9.30am.

The jury is excused and the defense will now present motions that were mentioned earlier today.

Defense want gag order protecting Stormy Daniels lifted so Trump can respond to testimony

Thursday 9 May 2024 21:18 , Oliver O'Connell

We have learned that former Playboy playmate Karen McDougal will not be called to testify in the trial, Alex Woodward reports from the court in Lower Manhattan.

Defense attorney Todd Blanche is arguing to Judge Juan Merchan that the gag order regarding Stormy Daniels should now be lifted so Trump can attack her in response to her testimony from the past two days.

The reasons for protecting her “are over, she is no longer a witness,” he says.

He claims that her story is “completely different” than her previous accounts, and now Trump can’t respond to any of the comments made in the press about her testimony, Blanche says.

“It seems like the other side lives in an almost alternate reality,” Assistant District Attorney Christopher Conroy says. “There is a proceeding here that this order is designed to protect.”

It’s important to underscore “why it was issued in the first place to put it in context”.

Trump fires off his comments “indiscriminately against anyone he deems worthy of his venom,” and “selfishly with no concern for the safety of the people he’s attacking,” Conroy says.

Changing the gag in the middle of a trial would “say to future witnesses that they could be at risk as well”.

“Modifying the gag order now to allow the defendant to attack Ms Daniels – and that’s what he wants to do,” not engage in “serious discourse” – would undermine “the integrity of these proceedings,” Conroy says.

Merchan denies motion to modify gag order

Thursday 9 May 2024 21:27 , Alex Woodward

Judge Merchan seems sceptical that Daniels’ testimony about how she felt when she walked out of the bathroom to find Trump in his underwear is any different than how she’s described that before.

Merchan: “I don’t see what you’re referring to as a new set of facts. … My concern is not just attacking Ms Daniels or a witness who has already testified. My concern is protecting the integrity of these proceedings as a whole.”

“I can’t take your word for it – ‘no, this will be low key, not an attack’ – that’s not his track record.”

The order is in effect “precisely because of the nature of these attacks, the vitriol.”

“These were real, very threatening attacks on these witnesses,” he says, adding “I continue to be concerned about witnesses using the gag order as a sword, not a shield.”

Trump’s motion to amend the gag order is DENIED.

Thursday 9 May 2024 21:40 , Alex Woodward

Blanche is going over Daniels’ testimony from yesterday, making a very similar argument that he made before for a mistrial. As you’ll remember, the judge shot that down.

“It has nothing to do with the case and why we’re here,” Blanche says.

“We didn’t know these questions were coming,” he says. “We were sitting here, hearing that for the first time.”

Blanche notes that there were objections, and they were sustained.

“That doesn’t excuse the conduct and that doesn’t excuse the question,” Blanche says. “That’s why this type of evidence is so dangerous and so prejudicial.”

“The questions about wearing a condom, judge? … We didn’t know this was coming.”

“It’s a dog whistle for rape.”

Assistant District Attorney Josh Steinglass steps up for the defence.

“OK, so that was a lot … Most of which was not true.”

He notes that most of these details were also in a December interview with prosecutors shared with the defense, the Anderson Cooper interview and elsewhere.

“That claim of ambush is just nonsense.”

Thursday 9 May 2024 21:47 , Alex Woodward

The defense is “basically trying to have their cake and eat it too,” Steinglass says.

They’re trying to discredit her while blocking prosecutors from being able to corroborate any of the details of her claims, he says.

“The details are essential to give the jury the tools they need to analyze her credibility.”

“Blanche complains that the details are messy … Those details about what happened in that room, those messy details, that is motive, that is Mr Trump’s motive to silence this woman in 2016 less than a month before the election. … That is why Mr Trump tried so hard to prevent the American people from hearing about this.”

Steinglass adds that the prosecution went out of its way to avoid other details to avoid embarrassing Trump, including details about the sex itself.

Trump just drew Blanche close and pointed as if telling him to respond to that...

Thursday 9 May 2024 21:51 , Alex Woodward

Steinglass mentions that they never had plans to call McDougal, she was just on the witness list.

Blanche holds his arm out and looks at the judge and then at fellow defense attorney Emil Bove as if asking, “are you serious?”

Bove smiles and shakes his head.

Thursday 9 May 2024 21:57 , Alex Woodward

Steinglass wraps up and Todd Blanche rises.

“What is it Mr Blanche?” Judge Merchan says.

“Very briefly. Very briefly.”

He says what the prosecution said is “not true,” and that Karen McDougal was a witness. Merchan cuts him off.

“I’m not gonna get bogged down on that … That has nothing to do with this motion on a mistrial.”

“It does!”

“I’m making you the ruling. I decide.”

Thursday 9 May 2024 22:00 , Alex Woodward

“There were many times, not once or times, where Ms Necheles could have objected and didn’t,” says Judge Merchan.

“For some unexplained reason, which I don’t understand, there was no objection to material [or] mention of the condom … I agree, that shouldn’t have come out. I wish that didn’t come out … For the life of me I don’t know what she didn’t object.”

He also mentions that Daniels had backtracked immediately when the way her words came out made it sound like she might’ve been drunk or under the influence, yet Necheles kept bringing it up, drilling it into the jury’s ears.

Judge denies motion for mistrial

Thursday 9 May 2024 22:03 , Alex Woodward

At the onset, Judge Merchan argued that the jury is in a position to decide whether to believe Trump or Daniels.

The prosecution doesn’t have to prove the encounter happened, but they can build up her credibility, which was immediately attacked in the opening statements, opening the door for prosecutors for Daniels to tell her story.

“Your motion for a mistrial is DENIED. I’ll see you tomorrow at 9:30.”

Watch: Trump lashes out at judge after failed mistrial bid

Thursday 9 May 2024 22:21 , Oliver O'Connell

Trump’s civil fraud trial judge faces probe

Thursday 9 May 2024 22:45 , Oliver O'Connell

The judge in Donald Trump’s civil fraud trial is now under investigation after a hotshot New York real estate attorney claimed he gave him unsolicited advice ahead of the hotly-anticipated multi-million-dollar ruling, according to a report.

Attorney Adam Leitman Bailey told NBC New York that he spoke to Judge Arthur Engoron three weeks before he made his final judgment in the former president’s case, where he found Mr Trump, his two oldest sons, as well as their Trump Organization associates and properties liable for $464m for falsely inflating his assets.

Kelly Rissman reports:

Trump’s fraud trial judge faces probe after attorney claims he advised him on case

Thursday 9 May 2024 23:17 , Oliver O'Connell

Madeleine Westerhout cries on the stand, fondly recalling her time working for then-president Donald Trump (REUTERS)
Madeleine Westerhout cries on the stand, fondly recalling her time working for then-president Donald Trump (REUTERS)

Full story: Judge denies Trump’s attempt to lift gag order so he can ‘respond’ to Stormy Daniels testimony

Thursday 9 May 2024 23:45 , Mike Bedigan & Alex Woodward

Donald Trump’s latest attempt to lift a gag order placed on him during his New York criminal hush money trial has been denied.

Lawyers for the former president argued that since a key witness – adult film actress Stormy Daniels – has now left the stand, the order should be lifted so Mr Trump can “respond” to her testimony.

Judge Juan Merchan, who is presiding over the case, denied the motion on Thursday, saying he was concerned about “attacks” on Ms Daniels and other witnesses. He added: that he was also concerned with “protecting the integrity of these proceedings as a whole.”

The gag order, over which Mr Trump has already been fined $10,000 for violating, seeks to protect witnesses, jurors, court staff and their families.

Continue reading...

Judge denies Trump’s attempt to lift gag order so he can “respond” to Stormy Daniels

Feature: Roy Cohn — the ruthless McCarthy lieutenant-turned-Trump mentor

Friday 10 May 2024 00:45 , Oliver O'Connell

Sheila Flynn writes:

He was a lawyer with a two-syllable name, a colourfully complicated personal life and a Rasputin-like grip on United States politics – especially in New York.

The very mention of Roy Cohn during his four decades of headline ubiquity could spark anything from anger to hatred to fear; his shadowy legend persists nearly 40 years after the death of a man dubbed a “new strain of sonofabitch” – by his own autobiography co-author, no less.

Read on...

Roy Cohn, the ‘evil’ McCarthy lieutenant who got Trump elected

Watch: ‘We are so innocent’ says Trump

Friday 10 May 2024 01:15 , Oliver O'Connell

Ex-White House ‘gatekeeper’ cries on stand as she testifies about Trump firing her

Friday 10 May 2024 01:31 , Graeme Massie

Ex-White House ‘gatekeeper’ cries on stand as she testifies about Trump firing her

Hyper-online red-pill Republicans are causing headaches for Mitch McConnell

Friday 10 May 2024 01:45 , Oliver O'Connell

Mitch McConnell may be retiring, but he’s hammering home the “candidate quality” argument one more time. Meanwhile, Republican candidates in races across the country are taking a turn for the weird, sharing AI-generated pictures and referring to the entire Democratic Party as “terrorist sympathizers”.

John Bowden has the story:

Hyper-online red-pill Republicans are causing headaches for Mitch McConnell

Stormy Daniels’ tweets, Make America Horny Again, a failed mistrial bid: Takeaways from Trump trial day 14

Friday 10 May 2024 02:28 , Graeme Massie

Takeaways from Trump trial day 14 as Stormy Daniels fiery cross-examination concludes

Conservative plan calls for Trump to kill everyone on federal death row in second term

Friday 10 May 2024 03:19 , Graeme Massie

Conservative plan calls for Trump to kill everyone on federal death row

Ann Coulter tells Ramaswamy she would never vote for him ‘because you’re Indian’

Friday 10 May 2024 03:45 , Oliver O'Connell

Failed 2024 Republican primary candidate Vivek Ramaswamy praised Ann Coulter for having the “guts” to make racist remarks directly to his face on his podcast this week.

Ms Coulter, a conservative firebrand with a history of openly racist remarks, appeared on the businessman’s podcast, “Truth”, on Wednesday for an episode titled, “The N Word: Nationalism.”

Graig Graziosi has the story:

Ann Coulter tells Vivek Ramaswamy she wouldn’t vote for him because he’s Indian

Trump turns to oil industry for $1bn towards campaign as they draft executive orders for him to sign

Friday 10 May 2024 04:17 , Graeme Massie

Trump turns to oil industry for $1bn as they draft executive orders for him

Watch: Hillary Clinton compares Trump to 1930s 'determined demagogue’

Friday 10 May 2024 04:45 , Oliver O'Connell

Stormy Daniels: 'Real men respond to testimony by being sworn in and taking the stand in court’

Friday 10 May 2024 08:45 , Joe Sommerlad

I think we might have a new, extremely-unlikely national treasure on our hands.

Meanwhile, in another, even darker corner of the internet, Trump has been lashing out at the trial in his customary all-caps and challenging the president to a TV debate while, oddly, hitting out at poor old Howard Stern, whose show he was once a regular guest on.

New York hush money trial: Stormy shoots down Trump attorney’s claim she made up sex story

Friday 10 May 2024 09:15 , Joe Sommerlad

Trump’s New York hush money trial will resume once more at Manhattan Criminal Court on Friday following another day of fiery testimony from porn star Stormy Daniels, who returned to the witness stand to face more cross-examination from the defendant’s lawyers on Thursday.

Over two hours of fierce questioning from the defendant’s legal team yesterday, Daniels fought off attacks designed to undermine her credibility and cast her as a liar and opportunist.

In a series of quippy relies to Trump attorney Susan Necheles, she told the court that if if her account of having sex with the former president was a fabricated story “I would’ve written it better.”

Here’s Alex Woodward’s report on another astonishing day in court.

Stormy Daniels shoots down Trump attorney’s claim she made up sex story

New York hush money trial: Judge denies Trump’s attempt to lift gag order so he can ‘respond’ to Daniels testimony

Friday 10 May 2024 09:45 , Joe Sommerlad

The admirably patient Judge Juan Merchan yesterday shot down Trump’s latest attempt to lift the gag order imposed on him after his legal team argued he should be able to respond to Stormy Daniels’ evidence against him.

The justice said he was not only concerned about attacks against Daniels and other witnesses but with “protecting the integrity of these proceedings as a whole.”

The order is in effect “precisely because of the nature of these attacks, the vitriol,” he said on Thursday.

Mike Bedigan and Alex Woodward report.

Judge denies Trump’s attempt to lift gag order so he can ‘respond’ to Stormy Daniels

New York hush money trial: Ex-White House ‘gatekeeper’ cries on witness stand

Friday 10 May 2024 10:15 , Joe Sommerlad

Back on the witness stand this morning will be Madeleine Westerhout, a Trump White House aide who was working at the Republican National Committee (RNC) when his infamous Access Hollywood tape leaked right before the 2016 election.

That tape is important because prosecutors say the political firestorm it caused hastened the payment to Daniels.

Westerhout, who went on to serve in the West Wing as Trump’s personal secretary, told jurors on Thursday that the tape rattled RNC leadership so much that “there were conversations about how it would be possible to replace him as the candidate, if it came to that.”

Here’s Alex Woodward on the moment she burst into tears yesterday recalling affectionately her time at Trump’s side and the circumstances of her dismissal in 2019.

Ex-White House ‘gatekeeper’ cries on stand as she testifies about Trump firing her

New York hush money trial: Serena Williams ‘frequently spoke to’ Trump, ex-aide reveals

Friday 10 May 2024 10:45 , Joe Sommerlad

The tennis superstar became the latest to join a growing list of celebrities dragged into Trump’s yesterday – following the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tiger Woods and Hulk Hogan – after Madeleine Westerhout revealed she was on a list of names of people the former president “frequently spoke to” in early 2017.

Kelly Rissman and Alex Woodward have more on this unexpected twist.

Serena Williams dragged into Trump trial as ex-aide reveals they ‘frequently spoke’

New York hush money trial: Key takeaways from Day 14

Friday 10 May 2024 11:15 , Joe Sommerlad

Another day in Manhattan Criminal Court, another day of bombshell testimony.

Fortunately, Oliver O’Connell and Alex Woodward have this wrap on the day’s most significant moments.

Takeaways from Trump trial day 14 as Stormy Daniels fiery cross-examination concludes

Trump says Jewish people should be ‘ashamed’ to vote for Biden

Friday 10 May 2024 11:45 , Joe Sommerlad

Before Trump even entered the courtroom yesterday, he took the opportunity to stoke controversy by declaring that Jewish American voters should be “ashamed” to cast their ballot for Joe Biden in November’s presidential election.

“What Biden is doing with respect to Israel is disgraceful,” he proclaimed.

“If any Jewish person voted for Joe Biden, they should be ashamed of themselves. He’s totally abandoned Israel and nobody can believe it.”

Katie Hawkinson reports.

Trump says Jewish people should be ‘ashamed’ to vote for Biden

New York hush money trial: What to expect on Day 15

Friday 10 May 2024 12:00 , Joe Sommerlad

Here’s the latest from Alex Woodward outside Manhattan Criminal Court once more:

“We’re at the end of a third week of witness testimony and nearly a full month of Donald Trump’s criminal trial in Manhattan.

“There are roughly seven days left in the prosecution’s self-appointed countdown clock in the case against Trump, and a shrinking pool of witnesses to fill in the gaps.

“Stormy Daniels – whose grim account of having sex with Trump in a 2006 hotel room is partially the reason we’re all here – testified for nearly seven hours over two days, coming to a climax with the defense’s aggressive suggestions that she lied about and extorted from the former president to enrich herself. But the adult film star wasn’t buying it, and she fired quick-witted answers right back at Trump’s attorney Susan Necheles.

“Her time on the stand went so badly for Trump’s team that his attorneys once again tried, and failed, to get a mistrial, arguing that her testimony was too damaging for jurors to separate her vivid details from the facts of the case.

“Prosecutors on Thursday argued that those very same ‘messy details’ explain exactly what Trump sought to hide in the hush money scheme, giving jurors the full and proper context to understand why a presidential candidate would want to bury her allegations in the weeks before Election Day, and then cover it up in his company’s accounting.

“We’ll finish hearing more about that accounting paper trail on Friday morning when former White House aide Madeleine Westerhout returns to the stand. On Thursday, she explained how she handed FedEx packages full of personal checks for Trump to sign while he was in office – including the reimbursements to Michael Cohen at the heart of this case.

“Cohen himself is due to make his debut on the stand as soon as today, but we’re all still in the dark about the order of witnesses. He is expected to link all the events described by witnesses and documents thus far: how we handled ‘catch-and-kill’ for Trump, his negotiations with Daniels’ attorney, setting up a shell company to wire her money, and then pleading with Trump to pay him back, in a scheme to cover up his payments as ‘legal expenses’ to cover it all up.”

New York hush money trial: What else did we learn yesterday?

Friday 10 May 2024 12:12 , Joe Sommerlad

A few miscellaneous points from Alex Woodward below on details we heard for the first time on Thursday:

  • Karen McDougal is not testifying. Trump’s team tried to file a motion about the former Playboy model, but it appeared to be bait to get prosecutors to say whether she will make an appearance. She won’t.

  • Does dinner mean food? Defense attorneys spent several minutes interrogating Stormy Daniels about what she meant when she said “dinner” with Trump.

  • Doing porn for a living means you shouldn’t be surprised when a nearly naked man more than twice your age asks for sex, according to Trump’s attorneys.

  • Susan Necheles entered the phrase “orange turd” into the record several times, quoting a tweet from Daniels responding to someone calling her a toilet: “Pretty sure that it’s hyperbole, if someone calls me a toilet, that I can flush somebody,” she replied. “I’m also not a toilet.”

  • The Republican National Committee had “conversations” about “how to replace him as a candidate if it came to that” after the Access Hollywood tape, Madeleine Westerhout said.

  • Judge Merchan was stunned that defense attorneys totally fumbled their cross examination of Daniels by either forgetting or declining to object to parts of her testimony – particularly her multiple references to the fact that Trump didn’t wear a condom: “That shouldn’t have come out. I wish that didn’t come out… For the life of me I don’t know why she didn’t object.”

Truth Social: Trump attacks George Conway after he labels cross-examination ‘complete disaster and a fiasco’

Friday 10 May 2024 12:15 , Joe Sommerlad

The lawyer ex-husband of Kellyanne Conway is unlikely to let this one pass without retaliation. To be fair to him, he looks like he was taken hostage by his wife in the first one.

Incredibly, a live, hard copy version of this petty attack apparently took place in court yesterday!

The defendant was presumably not too happy to catch an undeterred Conway’s dismantling of his lawyers’ performance against Stormy Daniels on CNN last night.

New York hush money trial: Trump attack dog Habba complains about media ‘snarking’

Friday 10 May 2024 12:30 , Joe Sommerlad

Alina Habba rebuked some high-profile correspondents on Fox last night for enjoying themselves at Trump’s trial but (just about) stopped herself from going after the jury too, having commenced a dicey diatribe about their alleged giggling.

On the same channel (where else?), Daniels came under fire from the likes of Jeanine Pirro and Laura Ingraham, with self-awareness in short supply from the pundits.

Live: Donald Trump’s hush money trial continues at Manhattan Criminal Court

Friday 10 May 2024 12:44 , Joe Sommerlad

Here’s our latest livestream from New York.

New York civil fraud case: Trump’s trial judge under investigation over unsolicited advice to attorney

Friday 10 May 2024 12:45 , Joe Sommerlad

Remember that other Big Apple court case involving the Republican presidential candidate?

No, not E Jean Carroll. The other one. The one that ended with Trump being found liable for the illegal inflation of Trump Organization assets and fined $355m plus $110m in interest and asked to place a $175m bond.

Well, the presiding justice, Judge Arthur Engoron, is now under investigation by the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct after a New York real estate attorney claimed he gave him unsolicited advice ahead of the multi-million-dollar ruling.

Here’s Kelly Rissman to explain.

Trump’s fraud trial judge faces probe after attorney claims he advised him on case

Jim Mattis called Trump ‘a madman in a circular room screaming’

Friday 10 May 2024 13:00 , Joe Sommerlad

Away from the courtroom (briefly), Trump’s one-time secretary of defense, Jim “Mad Dog” Mattis, has, rather brilliantly, described the former president as “a madman in a circular room screaming”, according to a new book.

The quote comes via Tom Bossert, Trump’s homeland security adviser from 2017 to 2018, and is carried in the forthcoming hardback The Situation Room: The Inside Story of Presidents in Crisis.

The new book from journalists George Stephanopolous and Lisa Dickey (the former, in particular, hated by Trump) discusses the history of presidential crises since John F Kennedy and is set to be published next week.

Katie Hawkinson reports.

Jim Mattis described Trump as ‘a madman in a circular room screaming’, book reveals

Trump turns to oil industry for $1bn towards campaign

Friday 10 May 2024 13:15 , Joe Sommerlad

The Republican candidate solicited a $1bn donation from oil executives during a meeting at his Mar-a-Lago resort last month, a new report reveals

Oil executives met with Trump to discuss environmental regulations when the former president vowed to reverse many of President Joe Biden’s policies if elected, The Washington Post reports.

He then asked for a $1bn donation to his 2024 presidential campaign from the attendees, according to the outlet.

Katie Hawkinson has more details.

Trump turns to oil industry for $1bn as they draft executive orders for him

Lara Trump: Former president will accept election results ‘if’ he feels they are fair

Friday 10 May 2024 13:30 , Joe Sommerlad

Is she ever off the TV these days?

Seriously though, this is disturbing and should be taken at face value.

Marjorie Taylor Greene’s fire was suddenly extinguished this week. She has made herself irrelevant

Friday 10 May 2024 13:45 , Joe Sommerlad

The Georgia populist made sure to milk every moment of the six weeks since she filed her motion to vacate against Republican House speaker Mike Johnson, perhaps fully aware that it was a desperate act that threatened to leave her even further adrift from the mainstream of her party.

Here’s Eric Garcia to reflect on the attention-seeking missile and her next move.

Marjorie Taylor Greene has officially made herself irrelevant

Roy Cohn: The ruthless McCarthy lieutenant-turned-Trump mentor so loathed he was branded ‘a new strain of sonofab****’

Friday 10 May 2024 14:00 , Joe Sommerlad

If you’re looking for a little pre-trial reading, here’s Sheila Flynn’s profile of the man who taught Trump everything he knows about publicity and litigation, the subject of a new film starring Jeremy Strong.

Roy Cohn, the ‘evil’ McCarthy lieutenant who got Trump elected

Michael Cohen expected to begin testimony on Monday in Trump hush money trial

Friday 10 May 2024 14:10 , Oliver O'Connell

Michael Cohen (REUTERS)
Michael Cohen (REUTERS)

Ariana Baio reports:

Michael Cohen, a former lawyer for Donald Trump who is now a central witness in the New York election interference case against the ex-president, is expected to begin his testimony on Monday for the trial, according to reports.

This is a developing story...

Alex Woodward, reporting for The Independent from the courthouse in Lower Manhattan, notes:

David Pecker was on the stand across four days of the trial at the beginning of testimony. Michael Cohen will likely take up a similar amount of time, if not more. The defense team is expected to try to torch his credibility in the case, particularly after blowing it with Stormy Daniels this week.

Trump gets own son Barron’s age wrong

Friday 10 May 2024 14:15 , Joe Sommerlad

Perfect. Of course he did.

Here’s Martha McHardy on some seriously poor parenting.

Donald Trump gets own son Barron’s age wrong

Merchan blocks Trump’s attempt to subpoena Mark Pomerantz

Friday 10 May 2024 14:29 , Oliver O'Connell

Judge Juan Merchan has ruled in favour of the prosecution to quash a subpoena of former special assistant district attorney Mark Pomerantz by the Trump defence team.

Mr Pomerantz joined the people’s motion against defendant Donald Trump on 4 April and has provided documentation and materials to the prosecution that are pertinent to the case which have been shared with the defendant.

Judge Merchan found the defendant’s request for a subpoena too broad and at times not relevant to the case in hand.

Mr Pomerantz was hired by the former Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance to investigate the allegations against Mr Trump but he failed to make a case.

It was only when Alvin Bragg took was sworn in as Manhattan DA in January 2022 that the case was revived and presented to a grand jury resulting in the charges against Mr Trump that the current trial concerns.

Read his full ruling here.

Court resumes

Friday 10 May 2024 14:34 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump is seated in the courtroom wearing a big red tie — his more traditional choice.

Judge Juan Merchan is at the bench and things will get rolling shortly.

Here’s the pool report on the former president’s hallway remarks:

Trump entered the hall at 9:22. Spoke for 6min.

Standing next to Todd Blanche, who held a binder in one hand and clenched his fist with the other. The rest of his legal team hung back in the hall.

Ignored questions about whether he would accept Stormy’s challenge to testify.

Said campaign rally in Wildwood NJ was coming on Saturday.

Complained about supposed unfairness of case, touted opinion articles from pundits.

“Certain words I’m not allowed to read” he commented as reading from articles. Said he’s “not a friend of Alan Dershowitz” while citing one article he wrote.

“If I put one wrong word in, they’re gonna put me on jail” he said while trying to read from Byron York column.

“They don’t like it when I talk during the day because they don’t want me talking at all.”

Said yesterday was “incredible” and trial is ’so horrible.”

“I’ll go now sit in that freezing courtroom for 8 or 9 hours and think about being on the campaign all day”

Ignored question about how he’ll vote in Florida’s abortion referendum

Watch: Defendant Trump has printed out his favourite parts of the internet again

Friday 10 May 2024 14:35 , Oliver O'Connell

Trump bashes out a quick post on his way to court

Friday 10 May 2024 14:39 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump posted a quick all-caps rant on Truth Social on his way to the courthouse this morning:


What about the 34 criminal charges then? 🤔

Cross-examination of Madeleine Westerhout resumes

Friday 10 May 2024 14:45 , Oliver O'Connell

Madeleine Westerhout, pictured on the witness stand on Thursday (AP)
Madeleine Westerhout, pictured on the witness stand on Thursday (AP)

Alex Woodward is reporting live from the courthouse in Lower Manhattan:

The jury is back in.

Cross-examination of Madeleine Westerhout by defence attorney Susan Necheles resumes.

Yesterday, Westerhout said that the RNC (where she worked before Trump) had “conversations” about “how to replace him as a candidate if it came to that” after the Access Hollywood tape.

Necheles opens by confirming that the RNC and Trump worked closely together after he won the nomination, before getting into some travel details – but she didn’t have her exhibit ready so “we’ll come back to that”.

We’re now looking at the Trump contacts list, which had a wide range of notable names on it.

Friday 10 May 2024 14:51 , Alex Woodward

That contacts list included “people he spoke to a lot before he became president,” Necheles asks.

“Or might be interested in speaking to,” Westerhout says.

The list included “many people on that list who never called the Oval Office” as well as people Trump “never called while he was in the Oval Office,” Necheles asks. Westerhout confirms.

Westerhout is smiling and excitedly nodding along when asked about how exciting it was for Trump to board AF1 for the first time, an image captured on the front of The New York Times and then clipped up and shared with a lot of his friends and associates.

Friday 10 May 2024 14:57 , Alex Woodward

She only “vaguely” remembers Trump talking to Weisselberg about a check, but Necheles says it might not even have happened. She agrees.

“He spoke to so many people,” Westerhout says.

An objection from prosecutors and a sidebar before a piece of evidence is shown to jurors.

Necheles is showing her travel schedules (we can’t see them yet) that she asks Westerhout to confirm were created every day during his campaign and shared with the RNC and campaign.

Would you see them?

“Probably yes.”

Friday 10 May 2024 14:59 , Alex Woodward

Prosecutor Rebecca Mangold steps in to voir dire.

She asks Westerhout if she has any specific recollection of seeing these documents.

“Yes, my lawyer showed me.”

Mangold meant whether she had ever seen them in 2016, when the schedules were created. Does she have any recollection of receiving these personally? No.

She says her lawyer showed them this morning.

Merchan denied the motion to admit them into evidence.

What you need to know about Michael Cohen as his testimony looms next week

Friday 10 May 2024 15:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Kelly Rissman writes:

Michael Cohen was once so close to Donald Trump that he “would take a bullet for” him, he said.

In the seven years since professing this unwavering loyalty, the former lawyer and “fixer” has suffered his own very public downfall and criminal conviction, and is now recast as star witness in the Manhattan district attorney’s hush money case against the former president.

It is a role that Cohen both relishes — as reformed “truth-teller” who enthusiastically pulls back the curtain on the alleged murky dealings of Trump world — and reviles.

Some of those close to Cohen recently told The Independent that he faces significant risks by taking the stand against his former boss.

Continue reading...

Michael Cohen was Trump’s inside man. Now, he’s on the stand and at risk, friends say

Friday 10 May 2024 15:08 , Alex Woodward

Necheles is arguing via her line of narrative-building yes or no questions that Trump had a problem getting mail to the White House, so he used Keith Schiller, who then relied on Westerout, to get mail to him.

“And that’s what this whole testimony of FedEx packages was about, right?” Necheles asks. “Is it your understanding that this workaround existed in prior administrations as well?”

Objection. Sustained.

She tries again.

“I can’t imagine it would be any different,” Westerhout says.

Trump is slouched back, smiling and nodding while Westerhout smiles and laughs answering “yes” to questions about meeting with Trump while he was signing checks.

Friday 10 May 2024 15:12 , Alex Woodward

“In your experience Rhona Graff [Trump’s executive assistant in New York] was very careful about not wanting to spend the president’s money without his approval, right?” asks Necheles.


(Yesterday, Westerhout said she made an “executive decision” about whether to approve the purchase of a Tiffany frame for the Oval Office — “Sorry, sir,” she joked with Trump from the stand.)

“You understood he was too busy to be dealing with this kind of thing, right?” Necheles asks.

(All the questions end with “right?” so they’re technically all “yes or yes” questions.)

Friday 10 May 2024 15:17 , Alex Woodward

Westerhout says Trump “was very upset” during a conversation about Stormy Daniels after the Wall Street Journal story in early 2018.

“In my understanding, he knew it would be hurtful to his family,” she says.

He said that to you?

“I don’t believe he specifically said that but I could just tell the whole situation was unpleasant,” she says.

(Objection, sustained, and answer stricken.)

“Meaning,” she says, “he didn’t specifically mention his family in that conversation.”

No further questions.

Friday 10 May 2024 15:20 , Alex Woodward

Prosecutor Rebecca Mangold begins redirect by mentioning that Westerhout previously said that Trump did not “freak out” about the Access Hollywood tape.

“I don’t recall saying that.”

That tape came out in October 2016.

“You did not meet Trump until November? … You didn’t spend any real time until January 2017? … So you have no firsthand knowledge of his reaction?”

She admits she has no firsthand knowledge.

With her testimony done, Westerhout is excused.

New witness: Daniel Dixon

Friday 10 May 2024 15:21 , Alex Woodward

“The People call Daniel Dixon.”

Dixon works as a lead compliance analyst for AT&T.

He’s a custodian witness under subpoena to AT&T. One of his job duties is working with law enforcement to pull records.

Friday 10 May 2024 15:33 , Alex Woodward

The court is shown user information for Michael Cohen, teeing up the admission of evidence from Cohen’s phones to be used in his testimony.

New witness: Jenny Tomalin

Friday 10 May 2024 15:45 , Alex Woodward

The next witness is Jenny Tomalin of Verizon.

Her job is to basically comply with subpoena requests to the company and testify as a custodian witness about records in evidence, which is what she’s doing now.

We have to have these kinds of witnesses because from what I understand the defense has objected to the admission of anything without them.

Breaking: Steve Bannon will be jailed after court upholds contempt of Congress charge

Friday 10 May 2024 15:47 , Oliver O'Connell

Katie Hawkinson reports:

A federal court of appeals upheld Steve Bannon’s contempt of Congress charge after he appealed the conviction.

Bannon, an ex-adviser to Donald Trump, will now begin his four-month jail sentence.

This is a developing story...

Steve Bannon faces jail time after losing appeal for contempt of Congress charge

Friday 10 May 2024 15:52 , Alex Woodward

Tomalin is breaking down another set of phone records. This set belongs to Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg.

Weisselberg is currently serving time in New York’s infamous Rikers Island prison for perjury.

Ex-Trump CFO Allen Weisselberg begins perjury sentence at notorious Rikers Island

Friday 10 May 2024 15:54 , Oliver O'Connell

Court breaks for the morning recess.

What would jail be like for Trump if judge seeks prison time over gag order violations?

Friday 10 May 2024 16:00 , Joe Sommerlad

As the third week of testimony in Trump’s hush money trial draws to a close, the former president continues to face the very real possibility that he might end up seeing the inside of a jail cell.

But what on earth would that look like for him?

James Liddell reports.

What would jail be like for Trump over further gag order violations?

Court resumes

Friday 10 May 2024 16:14 , Alex Woodward

Court is back in session.

Judge Merchan sides with the defense on an objection to the inclusion of a clip from The Larry King Show in 1999 in which Donald Trump says he knows all about campaign finance.

There are two witnesses left today and the prosecution has roughly an hour left on the clock.

Merchan plans to keep working through until 1pm and see how we’re doing.

Potentially court could end early for the day.

Next witness: Georgia Longstreet

Friday 10 May 2024 16:18 , Alex Woodward

Judge Merchan informs the jurors that they may end early today.

The next witness on the stand is Georgia Longstreet, the paralegal who researched tweets ahead of the trial and who testified right before Hope Hicks last week.

Friday 10 May 2024 16:22 , Alex Woodward

Longstreet (who works for the Manhattan DA’s office) previously explained that she was tasked with identifying publicly available materials like social media posts and news articles relevant to the case.

As part of her job, she reviewed somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000 social media posts, and then used a screenshot app to save them, note them, and “hash” them, which gives them a digital footprint to preserve their integrity.

The court is shown this thread from 2018:

Friday 10 May 2024 16:24 , Alex Woodward

Next, the court is shown this tweet:

Friday 10 May 2024 16:28 , Alex Woodward

Further tweets are shown to the court:

And then this one which appears to describe the case Mr Trump is currently answering to:

[It’s not threaded properly but obviously there was more to that one]

Friday 10 May 2024 16:41 , Alex Woodward

We see email exchanges from Dylan Howard and “G” (with the rest redacted, though we know G is Gina Rodriguez, and Longstreet just said her name).

Longstreet did the redactions in that exchange.

And now messages on 7 April 2016 between Howard and Rodriguez.

Rodriguez: But stormy daniels was his mistress

Howard: I bet she was

Howard: Can u email what u have on that

Rodriguez: Yes I will send you have I have

Howard: Great

It’s the first of several exchanges between them, mostly trying to nail down a time to meet to discuss Stormy.

Portions of these messages have been seen before during the trial.

Friday 10 May 2024 16:44 , Alex Woodward

October 8 2016:

Rodriguez: Stormy Daniels and Trump with her is up on The Dirty and Fox News has been calling. Stormy has not confirmed or spoken are you interested?

Howard: She will confirm on record?

Rodriguez: Yes

Howard: Can you email me the pitch on Stomy? I need to elevate it to my CEO

Howard: He likely will pay

Rodriguez: Yes I’ll send to you

Howard: Ok

Howard: How much for Stormy?

Rodriguez: 250k

Howard: You have that bid?

Rodriguez: Yes working on it

Rodriguez: GMA wants her too

Friday 10 May 2024 16:51 , Alex Woodward

October 9 2016

Rodriguez: Daily mail too

Howard: Well I will buy it but I ain’t got 250k Lol. GMA can’t pay her - they can license pix etc. I will tie up ASAP if we can get a realistic price

Rodriguez: How much

Howard: I can get 100

Rodriguez: Lol

Rodriguez:: Ok what about 150k?

Howard: 110.

Rodriguez: 125k

Howard: Lol

Rodriguez: 120

Howard: Sold

Friday 10 May 2024 16:52 , Alex Woodward

October 9

Howard: I’m at dinner I will email contract when back at hotel or by first thing AM

Rodriguez: Daily mail is offering 200

Rodriguez some days later: Never heard from you and stormy leaves tomorrow to go back home. … DM wants it too

Howard: Ok i will call in a few hours

October 17 2016:

Rodriguez: We’re not doing the trump deal

Howard: Keith gave me a heads up. What happened?

Rodriguez: They didn’t pay when they said they would … Daily mail wants it bad so we’re doing it

October 19 2016

Howard: Spoke to Keith last night and we’re all good

Rodriguez: Ok

Howard: Sorted out?

Rodriguez: :[redacted]

Howard: Good

Friday 10 May 2024 16:56 , Alex Woodward

At one point, Dylan Howard said he got into it with his CEO (presumably David Pecker), and “explained that 2 people saved his ass today and i’m leading this call with this people and i’m going to tell them how it’s going to be”

He said he is “not going to burn my lifelong contact for these f***ers.”

Another round:

Rodriguez: They didn’t pay and she doesn’t believe it and she’s doing her press conf in the morning she hired another attorney

Howard: What deadline did they have?

Rodriguez: This morning

And then, on October 26:

Howard: Good news I hear

We previously saw emails between Michael Cohen and Keith Davidson, with Cohen blowing past deadlines for payment and Davidson threatening to walk.

Davidson also said Cohen was making up excuses that he assumed was an attempt to wait until after the election to pay up.

Friday 10 May 2024 16:58 , Alex Woodward

Lead defence attorney Todd Blanche is up now, clarifying that Longstreet is just reading things that were written down.

No further questions.

New witness: Jaden Jarmell-Schneider

Friday 10 May 2024 17:10 , Oliver O'Connell

The next witness for the prosecution is Manhattan DA’s office paralegal Jaden Jarmel-Schneider.

He wrote reports based on what could be established from Michael Cohen’s phone records.

Friday 10 May 2024 17:29 , Oliver O'Connell

Friday 10 May 2024 17:30 , Alex Woodward

Emil Bove, on cross-examination, suggested that the work Jarmel-Schneider was tasked with was boring and tedious.

“Honestly” he replied, “I kind of enjoyed it.”

“Respect,” Bove said with a laugh.

Friday 10 May 2024 17:50 , Alex Woodward

One of the biggest things scrutinized in these custodian witness testimonies is trying to explain why a phone call appeared to interrupt a phone recording on Cohen’s phone. This is the recording he took where he asked Trump about the catch-and-kill scheme, which we heard a snippet of earlier in the trial.

We see a phone record for the call, and this is where defence attorney Emil Bove digs in, claiming that Jarmel-Schneider was only making a “hypothesis” for the two calls back to back.

Jarmel-Schneider notes the timestamps. “I’m not sure if the recording … would’ve automatically cut off if it would be answered if not,” he says.

Jury excused for weekend

Friday 10 May 2024 17:55 , Alex Woodward

Jarmel-Schneider is off the stand and the jury is excused for the weekend.

Next week, prosecutors plan to introduce two more witnesses — one of whom we know is Michael Cohen.

There are only three days of court next week, but theoretically, they could be resting their case in chief next week, ahead of schedule.

Friday 10 May 2024 18:05 , Alex Woodward

Prosecutors want to explain to jurors why Allen Weisselberg is not appearing at this trial.

He is in jail — as we noted earlier — But that’s not the sticking point.

Emil Bove doesn’t want prosecutors to introduce his separation agreement from the Trump Organization.

ADA Christopher Conroy suggests, sort of jokingly, that they could instead explain to jurors that he’s in prison for pleading guilty to perjury.

“I think that would be one way to solve the problem,” Judge Merchan says.

He then suggests there is a way to get Weisselberg on the stand, telling counsel that they’re maybe “trying to jump the gun.”

“We’re trying to explain why he’s not here without making an effort to get him here.”

He suggests bringing him forward without the jury but under record and under oath.

Friday 10 May 2024 18:06 , Alex Woodward

Now lead defence lawyer Todd Blanche has some concerns about Michael Cohen, who “continues to speak publicly about this trial and President Trump,” on “TikTok, this time… wearing a white T-shirt with a picture of President Trump behind bars” and “announcing that he’s running for Congress”.

He wants Cohen “prohibited from talking” in the same way that Trump is by the gag order.

“It’s becoming a problem every single day that President Trump is not allowed to respond to this witness, but this witness is allowed to continue to talk,” Blanche says.

Friday 10 May 2024 18:09 , Alex Woodward

“We have no control over what they do, and we have repeatedly, repeatedly, asked the witnesses to do that. Not just Mr Cohen. All the witnesses,” ADA Joshua Steinglass says.

“If Mr Blanche is asking the court to order the people not to do something, we have already done that,” he adds.

Judge Merchan finds a compromise.

“I will direct the People to communicate to Mr Cohen that the judge is asking him to refrain from making any more statements about Mr Trump or anything else related to this case.”

“That comes from the bench,” he adds, telling prosecutors to tell Cohen that the judge is “communicating that from the bench.”

Trial adjourns for the weekend

Friday 10 May 2024 18:13 , Oliver O'Connell

The trial has now adjourned for the weekend.

Stand by for Trump’s inevitable hallway comments and our key takeaways from the day.

Court resumes at 9.30am on Monday, but stay tuned for all the latest news and analysis from Trumpworld.

 (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Watch: Trump attacks Biden... over his golf game?

Friday 10 May 2024 18:16 , Oliver O'Connell

Friday 10 May 2024 18:17 , Oliver O'Connell

The printouts are really not a good look...

‘I’d be very proud to go to jail for our constitution’ says Trump

Friday 10 May 2024 18:20 , Oliver O'Connell

...and yet he appears to be sticking very closely to the rules of the gag order.

Friday 10 May 2024 18:26 , Oliver O'Connell

Per the pool in the hallway, here’s what Trump said:

Trump walked into hall at 1:09. Spoke for 10min.

Stood next to Blanche near pool.

Everyone else in his posse hung back, including Susie Wiles.

Asked by your pooler what he thought of the judge’s gag order on Michael Cohen.

“There is no gag order on Michael Cohen but what the judge did was amazing actually.”

Criticized Merchan and complained everyone is allowed to criticize him, while he remains gagged.

“The only thing he gives us to look a little bit good” called Merchan “a disgrace”

Touts various press clippings.

Complains about inflation under Biden.

Says Biden lies about everything “including his golf game.”

Talks about Biden’s Israel policy, says his donors are anti-Israel.

Criticized case.

“I would be very proud to go to jail for our Constitution.”

Talks at length about Mark Pomerantz and how the case is illegitimate.

Says a “very good bookkeeper” marked things as “a legal expense.”

Complains about how he can’t campaign while stuck in court. Calls Merchan a corrupt “thug.”

Says he thinks he can win the state of New Jersey. Rally tomorrow.

Claims the stock market is up because he’s leading in polls. If he loses, we’ll have a crash “like 1929"

I’ve been right about everything.”

Did not answer:

- should Allen Weisselberg testify?

- will you testify?

- Mr Blanche, what did you think of the judge’s gag order on Michael Cohen?

Trump appeared to mutter the word “Jeanine” on the way out (Pirro is in court), after he turned around and started leaving, but neither poolers nor pool microphone captured what he said.

Jimmy Kimmel roasts Trump for ‘falling asleep while Stormy Daniels testified'

Friday 10 May 2024 18:45 , Oliver O'Connell

Late-night host Jimmy Kimmel has roasted Donald Trump for “falling asleep while Stormy Daniels testified about sleeping with him”, after jurors heard revealing testimony about the former president’s alleged tryst with the adult film star.

During his opening monologue on Thursday night’s show, Mr Kimmel relished what marked the second day that Ms Daniels took to the witness stand to testify in the former president’s hush money trial in New York.

Joe Sommerlad has the story...

Jimmy Kimmel roasts Trump over Stormy Daniels’ trial testimony

Full story: Hush money judge says Michael Cohen needs to stop talking about Trump

Friday 10 May 2024 18:57 , Oliver O'Connell

The judge presiding over Donald Trump’s criminal hush money trial in Manhattan has instructed prosecutors to tell Michael Cohen to stop talking about the case and about the former president.

Mr Trump’s attorneys have repeatedly suggested that New York Justice Juan Merchan find away to gag the former president’s one-time “fixer” turned nemesis and shameless critic.

Alex Woodward reports from the courthouse in Lower Manhattan:

Hush money judge says Michael Cohen needs to stop talking about Trump

Hello, Fashion Police? I’d like to report a crime in progress

Friday 10 May 2024 19:15 , Oliver O'Connell

New Yorkers probably thought the Met Gala was the biggest fashion event of the week but meanwhile, downtown...

As every Savile Row tailor doubtless recommends: a piece of sticky tape on the back of a tie will really elevate a look for the modern gentleman.

[Please don’t do this}

A prediction proves accurate...

Friday 10 May 2024 19:22 , Oliver O'Connell

It’s usually The Simpsons that predicts the future, but today it fell to someone else entirely.

Lawyer, comedian and cable news contributor Dean Obeidallah made a solidly accurate prediction about one of the tweets shown to the court today, being proven right almost exactly six years ago to the day.

Then-president Donald Trump tweeted on 3 May 2018 at 6.46am:

Mr Cohen, an attorney, received a monthly retainer, not from the campaign and having nothing to do with the campaign, from which he entered into, through reimbursement, a private contract between two parties, known as a non-disclosure agreement, or NDA. These agreements are.....

[The tweet was incorrectly threaded and so does not lead directly onto the next post]

Obeidallah replied:

This will be marked as an exhibit in trump’s criminal trial

Clearly, he saw the train coming down the tracks from a very long way off...

Watch: Trump continues to push bookkeeping as defence

Friday 10 May 2024 19:40 , Oliver O'Connell

Allen Weisselberg could end up testifying after all

Friday 10 May 2024 19:51 , Alex Woodward

Allen Weisselberg, the twice-convicted former chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, is currently in Rikers Island jail after pleading guilty to perjury in another case involving his former boss.

Weisselberg was sentenced to five months in jail after reaching a plea deal with Manhattan prosecutors to admit that he lied to state investigators and a judge probing the former president’s real estate empire in a sprawling civil fraud case.

Last year, he spent 100 days at the notorious New York jail after he was convicted on a range of tax crimes in another separate case stemming from a sweeping criminal investigation into the business.

Manhattan prosecutors now want to explain to jurors in Mr Trump’s criminal trial why he won’t be making an appearance, despite his name appearing throughout trial documents and on the lips of nearly every witness.

But Mr Trump’s attorneys don’t want jurors to know. It’s not the jail part that bothers them – it’s a severance agreement from the Trump Organization. Inside? A promise that he won’t “denigrate” the company “verbally or in writing or any of its entities.”

In other words, Weisselberg could lose out on his $750,000 severance if he testifies against his former boss.

Assistant District Attorney Christopher Conroy suggested, half-jokingly, that the court could instead explain to jurors that he’s not appearing in court because he’s in jail for perjury.

“I think that would be one way to solve the problem,” the judge replied.

Judge Merchan said attorneys on both sides were “trying to jump the gun.”

“We’re trying to explain why he’s not here without making an effort to get him here,” he said.

He suggested that Weisselberg could be called into court to answer questions under oath but without a jury present. He’ll reserve a decision at a later date.

Seth Meyers mocks Marjorie Taylor Greene over Trump’s ‘backhanded compliment’

Friday 10 May 2024 20:10 , Oliver O'Connell

Comedian Seth Meyers used a comment from Donald Trump on Marjorie Taylor Greene, in which he called her smart, to mock the Georgia representative, following her failed attempt to oust House Speaker Mike Johnson.

Speaking on his NBC Late Night show, Meyers threw back to a rally speech from Mr Trump in 2021, where he called Ms Taylor Greene “so smart” and one of his “favourite people”.

Dan Gooding has the story...

Seth Meyers mocks Marjorie Taylor Greene over Trump’s ‘backhanded compliment’

Click here to read the full blog on The Independent's website