Trump tried to ‘hoodwink voters’ – as his lawyers slam key witness as ‘greatest liar of all time’


Donald Trump was accused of trying to “hoodwink” voters during the 2016 election, while his lawyers labelled a key prosecution witness in his hush money trial as the “greatest liar of all time”.

The jury could begin deliberating as early as Wednesday afternoon UK time, with Mr Trump facing 34 counts of falsifying business documents to cover up a $130,000 (£102,000) payment to porn star Stormy Daniels.

The former president, accused of trying to hide an alleged sexual encounter with Ms Daniels, denies all the charges and says he never had sex with the adult film star.

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As the first criminal trial of a US president nears a conclusion, the prosecution and defence offered significantly contrasting styles in their closing arguments.

Todd Blanche, representing the former president, spent much of his time trying to discredit witnesses put forward by the prosecution, mainly Michael Cohen.

Michael Cohen. Pic Reuters

Mr Cohen has testified he paid Ms Daniels out of his own pocket and worked out a plan with Mr Trump to be reimbursed through payments disguised as legal fees.

“Michael Cohen is the GLOAT,” Mr Blanche said, explaining this to stand for the greatest liar of all time.

“He has lied to every single branch of Congress. He has lied to the Department of Justice.”

He added the jury “cannot rely” on Mr Cohen – who has a long track record of lying – although the prosecution countered his dishonesty was a reflection of Mr Trump’s malign influence.

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“You cannot send someone to prison based on the words of Michael Cohen,” Mr Blanche added, words that landed him in trouble with Judge Merchan, as the jury decides only guilt or innocence – not the sentence.

Prosecutor Joshua Steinglass argued Mr Cohen is a credible witness, but added it doesn’t matter as others in the trial have said the same thing as him.

Mr Steinglass instead focused on the paper trail, going through documents in painstaking detail in a bid to prove to the jury Mr Trump was involved throughout.

He turned to several witness testimonies to build a picture that false records were intended to cover up an election conspiracy.

“We’ll never know if this effort to hoodwink the American voter impacted the election, but that’s something we don’t need to prove,” he said.

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If found guilty, Mr Trump faces up to four years in prison, although imprisonment is unlikely for a first-time criminal convicted of such offences.

A conviction will not prevent Mr Trump from trying to take back the White House from President Joe Biden in the 5 November election, nor will it prevent him from taking office if he wins.

Opinion polls show the two men locked in a tight race.

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