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Michael Cohen’s testimony praised by the media: ‘An excellent witness for the prosecution’

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Michael Cohen, the star witness in the landmark New York v. Trump case, received some star treatment by the mainstream media following his testimony Monday.

Cohen, who served as Trump’s personal attorney and fixer before emerging as his sworn enemy, has seen his credibility questioned from all sides, with critics labeling him as everything from a “serial perjurer” to a “grifter.” 

The former lawyer, who is a central part of the prosecution’s case against Trump, testified he secretly recorded Trump ahead of the 2016 election, admitted to lying and bullying people for Trump’s benefit, and detailed the alleged attempt to cover up an alleged affair Trump had with adult film star Stormy Daniels. 

“It shows how weak this case is that they are literally depending on a serial perjurer to make their case, so I don’t think things are going well for the prosecution in the court of law. In the court of public opinion, they’re doing even worse,” Marc Thiessen said Monday on Fox News

MICHAEL COHEN’S CREDIBILITY ISSUES, BRAZEN TIKTOK USAGE RAISE MEDIA EYEBROWS AHEAD OF TESTIMONY

Michael Cohen is questioned by prosecutor Susan Hoffinger during former U.S. President Donald Trumps criminal trial

Michael Cohen is questioned by prosecutor Susan Hoffinger during former U.S. President Donald Trump’s criminal trial on charges that he falsified business records to conceal money paid to silence porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016, in Manhattan state court in New York City, U.S. May 13, 2024 in this courtroom sketch. (REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg)

News outlets and pundits that are historically hostile to Trump had the difficult task of making Cohen, who pleaded guilty in 2018 to campaign finance violations, making false statements to Congress and tax evasion, come off as credible. 

Nevertheless, some made the attempt.

MSNBC legal analyst Danny Cevallos appeared to downplay Cohen’s credibility issues by focusing on the “misconception” that direct evidence is more powerful than circumstantial evidence. 

“Direct evidence is somebody saying that they saw something, or heard something, and that can be unreliable. Eyewitness testimony is unreliable, Michael Cohen can be unreliable, but circumstantial evidence, the documents, don’t lie,” Cevallos said. 

“The prosecution’s vision here has obviously been that by the time Michael Cohen testifies, all the other documents will mitigate his perceived [unreliability],” Cevallos said as Andrea Mitchell spoke over the rest of his thought. 

J. Lee Meihls, a longtime trial consultant, joined MSNBC to offer thoughts on Cohen’s testimony. It turned out she was a big fan. 

Meihls told MSNBC viewers Cohen was “calm,” “answered direct questions with direct answers,” wasn’t emotional, and was not “too personal.”

“He knows how important a witness he is,” Meihls said. 

MICHAEL COHEN TESTIFIES HE SECRETLY RECORDED TRUMP IN LEAD-UP TO 2016 ELECTION

Michael Cohen is questioned by prosecutor Susan Hoffinger during former U.S. President Donald Trumps criminal trial

Michael Cohen is questioned by prosecutor Susan Hoffinger during former U.S. President Donald Trump’s criminal trial on charges that he falsified business records to conceal money paid to silence porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016, in Manhattan state court in New York City, U.S. May 13, 2024 in this courtroom sketch. (REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg )

MSNBC analyst Tim O’Brien similarly praised Cohen’s performance later on the channel.

“There’s a lot of wimpy people in Trump’s world pretending to be tough. Michael Cohen is an authentically tough guy. And I think on the stand today he showed enormous discipline. I thought he was an excellent witness for the prosecution. He was steady. He kept his temper reined in,” O’Brien said.

The case revolves around the alleged falsification of business records. Prosecutors say Cohen paid Daniels $130,000 to quiet her claims of the alleged extramarital sexual encounter with Trump. Prosecutors allege the Trump Organization reimbursed Cohen and fraudulently logged the payments as legal expenses, and are working to prove that Trump falsified records with the intent to commit or conceal a second crime.

Trump has pleaded not guilty in the case

CNN aired footage of Cohen praising Trump in 2016, noting that it was a common occurrence when he was on the former president’s payroll.  

“The question is,” senior legal analyst Elie Honig asked, following the clip. “Is the jury going to be on board with this narrative that, ‘Well, when he flipped, he made a clean break, and now he’s a truthteller?’”

The answer is unclear, but CNN legal analyst Elliot Williams told viewers that prosecutors “painstakingly” asked questions in the context of evidence that has previously come up in the trial. 

“There is some credibility issues, memory issues and all of the above, and they’re trying to make his testimony as airtight as possible,” Williams said. 

MICHAEL COHEN TIKTOK VIDEOS, FUNDRAISING STUN LEGAL OBSERVERS: MAY HAVE ‘TORPEDOED CASE AGAINST TRUMP’

Michael Cohen and Donald Trump split image

Journalists complimented Cohen’s testimony despite acknowledging his credibility issues. (Getty Images)

Despite this, some CNN correspondents and guests spoke optimistically about Cohen. Legal correspondent Paula Reid called the testimony “credible” while fellow correspondent Kara Scanell described it as “measured,” “deliberate” and “controlled.”

CNN’s Tom Foreman also recounted, “The fact is, the cornerstone of Cohen’s testimony all along has been he did lie, he did commit crimes and he did go to prison for it, where he also said he did something else: he learned how to tell the truth about Donald Trump.”

MICHAEL AVENATTI SAYS NY V. TRUMP CASE IS ‘GROSSLY UNFAIR’: ‘SERIAL KILLERS’ AREN’T PROSECUTED LIKE THIS

Other commentators remarked on Trump himself, claiming that he was visibly affected by the testimony.

“He left the courtroom and didn’t mention him by name. But this is a very angry Donald Trump upon leaving the courthouse. There’s been some days where he’s been more blasé or just left altogether. But this one clearly was frustrating. And I think that the part is that there’s mutual frustration,” NBC reporter Vaughn Hillyard described.

CNN’s Jake Tapper also suggested Trump was “angrier than ever,” with former federal prosecutor Gene Rossi remarking that, while they don’t know what the jury sees, Trump’s facial expressions will matter.

“I don’t think he has a stone face,” Rossi said.

Trump speaks to media

Trump looked “angry” to some reporters and commentators following Cohen’s testimony. (Photo by SETH WENIG/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Meanwhile, Republicans have rushed to Trump’s defense. 

Sen. JD Vance, R-Ohio, who was seen attending court with Trump on Monday, responded to Cohen’s testimony on X, where he balked at Cohen admitting to secretly recording Trump. 

“Michael Cohen admitting he secretly recorded his employer. Just totally normal conduct, right? The best part is he said he did it only once and only for Trump’s benefit. A standup guy!” he posted.

Vance, alongside fellow Republicans like Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville, held a brief press conference Monday regarding the trial, where Vance continued in his condemnation of Cohen’s testimony. 

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Cohen is expected to take the stand again Tuesday morning.

Fox News Digital’s David Rutz, Emma Colton, Michael Lee and Brooke Singman contributed to this report.




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