- Trump’s lawyer, Joe Tacopina, said there is no evidence Trump falsified business records.
- Cohen’s lawyer, Lanny Davis, said Cohen and other witnesses provided corroborating documents.
- Trump is expected to be arraigned Tuesday, saying ‘loudly and proudly’ he is not guilty.
Lawyers for Donald Trump and his former lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, a key witness in the New York indictment against him, foreshadowed on Sunday each side’s fight for credibility in any eventual trial.
Trump’s lawyer, Joe Tacopina, told CNN’s “State of the Union” that Cohen is a convicted liar who “is constitutionally incapable of telling the same story the same way twice.” Tacopina said there is no documentation of Trump falsifying business records, the central charges anticipated in the indictment, which remains under seal.
“I know there is no such evidence,” Tacopina said. “Michael Cohen is a pathological, convicted liar.”
Cohen’s lawyer, Lanny Davis, told CNN Cohen and other witnesses have provided testimony and documentation. Cohen has already been imprisoned in part because he arranged for $280,000 in hush payments before the 2016 election to silence Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, who each claimed to have had sex with Trump.
“Michael Cohen submitted a lot of documentation,” Davis said. “There are other documents from other people and other testimony from other people.”
Here is where the case stands:
Trump to surrender Tuesday but details not ‘nailed down’
Trump was indicted Thursday by a Manhattan grand jury, but the charges haven’t been unveiled. He is expected to be arraigned Tuesday, when he will be booked, have his mug shot taken and offer his initial plea.
Trump is expected to fly his private plane Monday from Florida to New York, where he will spend the night at Trump Tower. He is expected to be arraigned at 2:15 p.m. Tuesday. Trump announced Sunday he would give remarks at 8:15 p.m. Tuesday from his estate Mar-a-Lago.
Tacopina, who has been involved in hundreds of criminal cases, said details weren’t “nailed down” because the Secret Service will be involved. He said he anticipated authorities would want to “get every ounce of publicity out of this they can get,” but that he hoped it would be “as painless and classy as possible.”
“All of the Tuesday stuff is very much up in the air except that we will very loudly and proudly say not guilty,” Tacopina said. “We’re not doing anything at the arraignment because that would be showmanship and nothing more because we haven’t even seen the indictment.”
What does Trump’s lawyer Joe Tacopina say about the charges?
The charges are expected to be publicly released Tuesday. But legal experts anticipate Trump will be charged with misdemeanors dealing with falsifying business records describing the hush-money payments and perhaps linked to campaign finance violations under the argument they benefited his campaign.
Tacopina denied there are business records describing the payments. He said the payments were personal settlements in civil cases with confidentiality agreements.
And Tacopina argued there was no campaign finance violation Trump used personal funds and would have been vilified for spending campaign funds on the settlements.
“It’s a completely upside-down world,” Tacopina said. “He’s damned if he did and damned if he didn’t.”
What does Cohen’s lawyer Lanny Davis say?
The Justice Department declined to charge Trump when Cohen pleaded guilty in the scheme. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s predecessor, Cyrus Vance Jr., also declined to charge Trump.
But Cohen has testified under oath at a House hearing about how he arranged the payments at Trump’s direction. Prosecutors said in his court records he acted at Trump’s direction. And Cohen said he received monthly checks for a year to reimburse him for arranging the payments, some of which were signed by Trump.
“The credibility between him and the jury in that courtroom is going to be based on corroborating evidence,” Davis said.