Trump defense “overplayed its hand,” fell into Michael Cohen’s phone call “trap”: ex-prosecutor

Former President Donald Trump’s defense team has “overplayed its hand,” former prosecutor Glenn Kirschner told an MSNBC panel Monday. 

Kirschner, along with other legal experts, discussed Trump’s hush money case wherein the presumptive GOP nominee allegedly hid payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels during the 2016 presidential election. 

Kirschner was asked about an opinion piece he wrote for MSNBC about the testimony from Trump’s ex-fixer, Michael Cohen. The former prosecutor highlighted a “trap” set by Cohen, pointing to a damning phone call between Trump and Cohen that the latter was fuzzy on the details about. While Trump’s defense sought to portray Cohen as lying about the call ever happening, dwelling on the alleged conversation might lead jurors to spend more time thinking about the broader substance of Cohen’s argument that he was doing the former president’s bidding when he bought Daniels’ silence.

“You may remember the substance of a consequential call but you don’t remember the date and the time,” Kirschner told the panel. “And more importantly, as much of a cheapskate as Donald Trump is, do you really think that he would have started writing $35,000 reimbursement checks if Michael Cohen hadn’t told him, ‘Hey, boss, I made the payment. I want my money.'”

Kirschner called these “common sense arguments that will resonate with the jury.” He added: “The good news is that the jurors don’t check their common sense at the courtroom door. They bring it into the jury box. They bring it into the deliberation room.”

He explained that the biggest question jurors will likely face is: “Who benefited from this crime?” Certainly not Cohen, he argued. Kirschner added that Trump’s adamant denials of any wrongdoing, including that he ever had an affair, might be hard for jurors to swallow.

“I think that the defense overplayed its hand in any number of ways, including insisting that Donald Trump had no sexual encounter with Stormy Daniels. Boy, is that going to come back to bite them.”


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