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the oval office meeting pivotal to new yorks case against trump
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The Oval Office meeting pivotal to New York’s case against Trump

Cohen’s invoices for these $35,000 monthly cheques were marked as “services rendered”. But speaking in front of a courthouse packed with media and members of the public, Mr Cohen said the invoices were false. He testified they were really to reimburse him for the hush money, with extra dollars added in to cover potential taxes. These documents – 11 cheques, 11 invoices and 12 entries in an accounts ledger – make up the 34 felony counts charged against Mr Trump of falsifying business records. Former Manhattan prosecutor Rebecca Roiphe told BBC News that the Oval Office meeting could be a key moment of the trial, but it depends on how credible the jury finds Mr Cohen, who has pleaded guilty to federal crimes, including campaign finance violations and lying to Congress. “The prosecution could have established its case without Michael Cohen’s testimony about the in-person meeting in the Oval Office, but it certainly helps connect the dots,” Ms Roiphe said. “If the jury believes this part of Cohen’s testimony, it would completely undermine one of the key defences – that Trump had nothing to do with these payments.” But Mr Cohen’s history of lying to Congress, and his time in prison, in part related to paying hush money, are significant factors the jury will have to weigh up. During two hours of cross-examination of Cohen on Tuesday, Trump’s legal team did not touch on his assertions that Trump knew of the hush-money payment and the alleged reimbursement plan. Instead, they worked to dismantle his credibility. Ms Roiphe said the defence may keep up that line of attack in trying to counter the Oval Office claims when they resume questioning Cohen on Thursday. “The defence has sought to portray Cohen as a spurned underling who was obsessed with Trump and would stop at nothing to exact revenge,” Ms Roiphe said. ” It can draw on this theme to try to make it seem as if this uncorroborated testimony is made up.” And indeed that is exactly how this trial began, when Mr Trump’s lawyer Todd Blanche’s opening statement said this of Mr Cohen: “He’s a convicted felon and a convicted perjurer – he’s an admitted liar”.

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