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Former President Donald Trump’s attorney rejected claims by the prosecution in his criminal hush money case that payments to pornstar Stormy Daniels were made to help him win the 2016 election.

Trump’s lawyer Todd Blanche also made the case that Trump, being a ‘frugal’ penny pincher, would never have overpaid his ‘obsessed’ personal attorney Michael Cohen and attempted to discredit Daniels, saying she fabricated their affair.

The former president has pleaded not guilty of concealing an alleged scheme to buy the silence of porn star Stormy Daniels with an illegal $130,000 payment immediately before the 2016 election. 

Opening statements kicked off Monday morning in the bombshell case that’s sure to expose Trump’s secrets. 

In his opening plea to the 12-person jury, Blanche insisted that Trump is ‘innocent’ and never committed any crimes in a case that should never have been brought in the first place. 

Blanche said that Trump was somebody who was ‘larger than life’ who was likely known to the jury who had seen him on television.

‘But he’s also here in this courtroom doing what any of us would do, defending himself,’ Blanche said.

Blanche said he was going to refer to Trump as ‘President Trump’ as it was ‘title he has earned because he was our 45th president.’

Trump’s attorney rejects claims hush payments were made to help win the 2016 election, blasts ‘obsessed’ Michael Cohen and claims Stormy Daniels made up the affair: ‘It’s called democracy’

Former President Donald Trump’s attorney rejected claims by the prosecution in his criminal hush money case that payments to pornstar Stormy Daniels were made to help him win the 2015 election

Former President Donald Trump awaits the start of proceedings in his criminal trial at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York on Monday, April 22

Former President Donald Trump awaits the start of proceedings in his criminal trial at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York on Monday, April 22

Trump's lawyer Todd Blanche also made the case that Trump, being a 'frugal' penny pincher, would never have overpaid his 'obsessed' personal attorney Michael Cohen and attempted to discredit Daniels, saying she fabricated their affair

Trump’s lawyer Todd Blanche also made the case that Trump, being a ‘frugal’ penny pincher, would never have overpaid his ‘obsessed’ personal attorney Michael Cohen and attempted to discredit Daniels, saying she fabricated their affair

‘But he’s not just our former president, he’s not just Donald Trump that you’ve seen on TV and read about and seen photos of. He’s also a man, he’s a husband, he’s a father,’ he said to a focused jury.

Turning to the allegations, Blanche said: ‘What the people just did is presented to you what appeared to be a very clean, nice story.

‘It is not. It is not simple…the story you’ve heard is not true and at the end of this trial there will plenty of reasonable doubt.’

Blanche dismissed the 34 counts as ’34 pieces of paper’ and said that ‘none of this was a crime’.

He claimed that the $35,000 paid to Cohen each month was because he was working as his personal lawyer while he was in office.

Blanche tried to turn the prosecution argument about Trump being stingy on its head.

He said: ‘President Trump did not pay Mr Cohen back $130,000. President Trump paid Michael Cohen $420,000.’

‘In the same breath the people told you he is known as a frugal businessman.’

‘Ask yourself: would a frugal businessman, would a man who pinches pennies repay a $130,000 debt to the tune of $420,000?’

According to Blanche, Trump had ‘nothing to do’ with the invoices being processed, the checks being generated or the entries on the ledger, all of which were done by Trump employees

There was a ‘complete lack of knowledge or intent’ from Trump, Blanche said.

Trump's lawyer attempted to discredit Stormy Daniels, saying she fabricated their affair

Trump’s lawyer attempted to discredit Stormy Daniels, saying she fabricated their affair

'Michael Cohen paying Stormy Daniels $130,000 for her agreeing not to publicly spread false claims about President Trump is not illegal,' said Trump's attorney

‘Michael Cohen paying Stormy Daniels $130,000 for her agreeing not to publicly spread false claims about President Trump is not illegal,’ said Trump’s attorney

‘There’s nothing wrong with trying to influence an election. It’s called democracy. They put something sinister on this idea as if it’s a crime.

‘It’s not,’ he continued.

‘Michael Cohen paying Stormy Daniels $130,000 for her agreeing not to publicly spread false claims about President Trump is not illegal.’

When her claims emerged to ’embarrass President Trump and embarrass his family’ he ‘fought back to protect his family, his reputation and his brand, which is not a crime’, Blanche said.

Turning to Cohen, Blanche said that he tried to ‘blame President Trump for virtually all of his problems’

Cohen is ‘obsessed with President Trump, even to this day’, Blanche said, noting Cohen has written books and runs two podcasts about Trump.

Only last night Cohen appeared online saying he wanted to see Trump in an ‘orange jumpsuit,’ Blanche said.

Cohen ‘cannot be trusted’ because ‘his entire financial livelihood depends on President Trump’s destruction, he went on.

Meanwhile, prosecutors used their opening arguments to describe a hand-in-glove relationship between the former president and ex-National Enquirer publisher David Pecker while the paper unleashed attacks on Trump’s 2016 opponents. 

Cohen is 'obsessed with President Trump, even to this day', Blanche said, noting Cohen has written books and runs two podcasts about Trump

Cohen is ‘obsessed with President Trump, even to this day’, Blanche said, noting Cohen has written books and runs two podcasts about Trump

Only last night Cohen appeared online saying he wanted to see Trump in an 'orange jumpsuit,' Blanche said

Only last night Cohen appeared online saying he wanted to see Trump in an ‘orange jumpsuit,’ Blanche said

Cohen served time after pleading guilty to campaign finance crimes and lying to Congress

Cohen served time after pleading guilty to campaign finance crimes and lying to Congress

It was a partnership that shaped bombshell tabloid stories from the 2016 campaign, including an Enquirer piece claiming Ted Cruz had five mistresses and another thinly sourced story linking his dad Rafael to Lee Harvey Oswald and the John F. Kennedy assassination.

Prosecutor Matthew Colangelo described the activities of Pecker during remarks that that sketched out an alleged ‘criminal conspiracy and a cover-up’ involving Trump, former fixer Michael Cohen, and Pecker, the former AMI media exec.

Prosecutors described a scheme to 'cover up' damaging stories about Trump while suppressing stories about his political rivals, before calling former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker to the stand

Prosecutors described a scheme to ‘cover up’ damaging stories about Trump while suppressing stories about his political rivals, before calling former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker to the stand

2016 stories including one accusing Cruz of having multiple affairs and another accusing his father Rafael of having links to the JFK assasination

2016 stories including one accusing Cruz of having multiple affairs and another accusing his father Rafael of having links to the JFK assasination

'Donald, you're a sniveling coward, and leave Heidi the hell alone,' Cruz said in 2016

‘Donald, you’re a sniveling coward, and leave Heidi the hell alone,’ Cruz said in 2016

Pecker had conversations with Trump fixer Michael Cohen about damaging stories

Pecker had conversations with Trump fixer Michael Cohen about damaging stories

It was a relationship consisting of two key elements: Efforts to ‘catch and kill’ stories that could harm Trump, while blasting out headlines that could hurt his opponents, prosecutors said. 

Colangelo told a packed Manhattan courtroom: ‘This case is about a criminal conspiracy and a cover-up. The defendant, Donald Trump, orchestrated a criminal scheme to corrupt the 2016 presidential election.

‘Then he covered up that criminal conspiracy by lying in his New York business records over and over and over again.’

He added: ‘It was election fraud, pure and simple.’



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