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May 20, 2024

Now that President Trump’s son Barron has had his high school graduation and Judge Juan Merchan’s Manhattan court is back in session, it looks as though things are only going to get worse for the prosecution.  It’s really too bad for “our democracy” (using the term facetiously) that this embarrassing travesty of justice isn’t being televised for all to see.

Possible defense witness Bob Costello, who served as a legal advisor to prosecution “star witness” Michael Cohen, has made it clear he’s ready to testify this week about Cohen’s dishonesty.  Cohen, a convicted, serial perjurer and compulsive liar, has already been caught in at least one lie on the witness stand.  Really, District Attorney Alvin Bragg, is this the best you can do?

Answer:  Yes.  Yes, America, it is, or he would have done better.  Bragg had wisely decided not to bring the case in the first place but was later pressured into it.  He should’ve stuck to his initial instincts and let the case die a natural death rather than allow it to survive to humiliate him.  He has to know that this case will go down in history as nothing to “brag” about.

Even Hollywood filmmaker Oliver Stone said in an interview with VARIETY that President Trump has been victimized by lawfare, which he likened to warfare.  While discussing his documentary about new Brazilian President Lula da Silva --- a socialist who’s looked upon with favor by American “progressive” politicians --- he compared Lula’s legal travails, in which Lula was investigated and jailed, with Trump’s current ones.

By the way, Lula has also prosecuted HIS predecessor.  And predictably, Stone just had to equate Trump’s and Biden’s alleged corruption, saying the allegations against both were “pretty wild.”  Stone, in making his point that politics is corrupt regardless of political affiliation, seemed to be forgetting that in America, the big-time corruption of our institutions does seem to be coming from the leftists who are running them.  Still...

“...All over the world, you’re seeing this kind of behavior,” Stone said.  “[Trump’s] got four trials and some of these charges, whether you’re for him or against him, they’re pretty minor.”

This is from OLIVER STONE.

Law professor Jonathan Turley said Friday that jurors might be thinking by now that they’ve been played for suckers (which, of course, they have).  You know, the biggest sucker of all might be Cohen, whose distant relationship with the truth and deep desire for revenge when Trump didn’t hire him led him to be used in this phony trial, to his eternal detriment.  The prosecution sees them all as collateral damage.  Turley quoted a line from the movie QUIZ SHOW, about the rigging of a 1950s game show.  Father Mark Van Doren tells his corrupted son, who had gone along with pressure to cheat, that “if you look around the table and you can’t tell who the sucker is, it’s you.”

“Jurors may also suspect that there is more to meet the eye about the players themselves,” Turley wrote in his column for the NEW YORK POST.  While the jurors likely are unaware of these facts, everyone ‘around the table’ [the prosecutors, this particular judge, and the star witness] has controversial connections.”  Turley spelled these out --- not bothering with Stormy Daniels, perhaps because her testimony wasn’t even pertinent.  He was struck by how little has been done in this case to avoid an appearance of conflicts of interest, let alone established conflicts, “no concern over the obvious appearance of a politically motivated and stacked criminal case.”

“What will be interesting is how the jury will react when, after casting its verdict, the members learn of these undisclosed associations,” Turley wrote.  It’s easy to see, that would be especially true if they convict.  After learning they’d been duped into a conviction, would they perhaps even help with the appeal to get that conviction overturned?  Can jurors DO that?  (This is us asking.  Turley would surely know the answer to that question.)

As you know, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan of Ohio has been looking into Bragg’s politically-motivated prosecution, and last week he demanded documents from New York Attorney General Letitia James relating to the employment of Matthew Colangelo, who ended up in Bragg’s office after being the #3 in U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland’s office (!).  Jordan said Colangelo’s “recent employment history demonstrates his obsession with a person rather than prosecuting a crime.”

Indeed; a look at this guy’s resume will show that he’s made a career leap-frogging from Trump case to Trump case.  Chasing Trump must mean more to him than money, as his top-level federal job surely paid more than his current one.

We were aware an ethics complaint about Judge Merchan in this case had been dismissed, but thanks to Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch, we now know he was “cautioned” by the Judicial Conduct Commission on Judicial Conduct in a letter he has not made public, over “his donations to the Biden campaign and other Democratic causes.”

Fitton wrote, “This official ethics finding, which can be used against Merchan in any future ethics proceedings, serves to confirm Trump’s concerns about Judge Merchan’s bias and ethics.  This black mark against Judge Merchan for his improper political donations again demonstrates how the abusive trial of Trump is corrupted by politics.”

No kidding.  But if it was that serious, the Commission should have gone all the way and removed him from Trump’s case when he wouldn’t recuse.  This judge, who had NOT been randomly assigned but chosen specifically for it, was the absolute wrong choice.  Makes one wonder who else might be corrupted by politics.

One name that’s been coming up more often is that of Allen Weisselberg, who was jailed for perjury in another New York case against Trump, the ridiculous civil case about overvaluing his real estate holdings.  Although he was at a meeting with Cohen and Trump about the payments made to Cohen, the prosecution chose not to call him.  Instead, Bragg introduced the former CFO’s separation agreement with the Trump Organization into evidence, as if to convey to the jury this was why he couldn’t testify.  That is untrue.  Andrew C. McCarthy called it “one of the sleaziest moves I’ve seen in a long time.”

Prosecutors obviously don’t want Weisselberg on the stand.  So, could the defense call him?  Another possible defense witness is former Federal Elections Commission Chairman Brad Smith, to explain why the payments to Cohen were not campaign expenses.  (Merchan previously struck him from the witness list.)  More detail here, in Victoria Taft’s excellent summary leading into Monday’s testimony.  At this link, you’ll also find her “The Adult in the Room” podcast with helpful commentary from Mike Davis of the Article III Project.

And then there’s Bob Costello.  Taft’s summary will catch you up on his role, and he’s done multiple TV interviews over the past several days.

One good thing about the FOX NEWS show LIFE, LIBERTY & LEVIN is that host Mark Levin is able to take some time with his guests, not just do short segments.  So Costello’s interview on Levin’s Saturday edition (recorded Thursday) is probably the most enlightening.  It should give a good idea of what he’ll say on the stand if he’s called as a defense witness this week.

He related a particular story we hadn’t known in detail:  Costello was the last witness to testify before the Bragg grand jury in this case, after his former client Cohen waived attorney-client privilege.  And as he told Levin, he was not allowed to testify freely, being “repeatedly interrupted” as they tried to shut him down.

There were eight assistant DAs in the room, something he’d never seen before.  He had brought for the grand jury about three hundred emails between him and Cohen that demonstrated material lies, documents with which the prosecutors would’ve been familiar.  (Translation:  they would’ve known Cohen was lying, yet later put him on the stand.  This, friends, is called suborning perjury.)  These prosecutors would introduce only eight of the emails.  They said there was a “legal problem” with them, that they were “hearsay.”

Um, hearsay is admissible before grand juries.  And if the hearsay rule had applied, these emails were also business records, which are an exception to that rule.  Costello held his packet up in front of the grand jury and actually said, “You people should demand these, and then ask yourselves, why are they keeping these from you?”

This is a must-see video.  Please, oh please, Trump attorneys, put Costello on the stand.

RELATED READING:  In more dirty-prosecutor news, Special Counsel Jack Smith has been called on the carpet by Florida Judge Aileen Cannon for his inconsistent, unreasonable demands regarding redactions and keeping discovery material sealed.  “The court is disappointed,” she wrote, and denied in part his motion for redactions.

She did authorize the suggested secrecy of certain material, “subject to potential further review.”  As you know, Judge Cannon has “indefinitely postponed” Smith’s classified documents trial against Trump, when it became known that prosecutors had misled the court about the order of classified documents within the boxes.  Best to wait on Smith’s cases, anyway, because the Supreme Court is expected to come out with a ruling on presidential immunity in criminal cases later this month.

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