‘If Lightning Doesn’t Strike the Courthouse, I Will Be Very Surprised’: Turley on Cohen Testifying

We are well into the third week of the Manhattan criminal trial against former President Donald Trump. Readers will recall this is the case brought by District Attorney Alvin Bragg in New York state court alleging that Trump falsified business records reflecting payments made to his former attorney, Michael Cohen. 


The heart of the prosecution’s claim is that, rather than payments for legal services, those payments were actually reimbursement to Cohen for monies he expended securing a non-disclosure agreement from Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 presidential election. As such, Cohen’s testimony will be critical to the prosecution’s case against the former president. 

One problem with that: Michael Cohen. The disgraced former personal attorney for Trump has convictions for fraud and perjury on his resume — bona fides most attorneys look to avoid like the plague in any witnesses they intend to call to the stand. Given his history, attempting to weigh the credibility of Cohen’s testimony under oath will approximate nailing Jell-O to the wall. 

Even so, the prosecution is intent on (and reliant upon) Cohen’s testimony. Several noted legal experts have weighed in on the myriad issues with this. Let’s start with the least likely advocate: Michael Avenatti. Creepy Porn Lawyer, currently housed at the Federal Correctional Institution, Terminal Island in California, and scheduled for release in August of 2035 for his own struggles with truth and law-abiding behavior, isn’t normally the person I’d run to for legal assessments. That said, given his well-documented antipathy toward Trump, statements he makes that tend to favor his former nemesis may carry some weight. (Emphasis on the may. Avenatti may also simply see an opportunity to have his name front and center again, and the man is nothing if not ego-driven.) 


In either case, here’s what Avenatti has to say about Cohen’s adventures in TikToking and spouting off regarding the trial:

Michael Avenatti, the one-time “most dangerous enemy” of Donald Trump who liberals hoped would bring down his presidency, believes Cohen might botch the whole case. 

“Michael Cohen through his narcissism and his ego may have just torpedoed the case against Trump,” Avenatti told Fox News Digital from federal prison.

“Never underestimate this guy’s ability to screw something up due to his ignorance and arrogance. He’s dumber than a box of rocks. The state can’t win the case without him and because of his conduct in reviewing trial testimony in violation of the court’s order, which just admitted to when speaking with ABC, the court must strike him as a witness, declare a mistrial, or both,” Avenatti continued. “He had no business commenting on other witnesses’ testimony.”

Avenatti said Cohen is “not even supposed to be hearing or learning of that testimony before he testifies” himself. 

“Alvin Bragg and his team have a lot of explaining to do in my view,” Avenatti said.

Even if we take Avenatti’s observations with less than a grain of salt, other respected legal experts have weighed in on Cohen’s antics. 


“It is a major problem for prosecutors. It is not a problem for Cohen’s credibility because he has none — he is a convicted perjurer and fraudster whose current ‘defense’ of his fraud convictions is that he wasn’t telling the truth when he pled guilty,” former Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew McCarthy told Fox News Digital

And McCarthy is joined in that assessment by George Washington Law professor Jonathan Turley, who observed:

This is an individual that was just recently hit by a judge saying that he is a serial perjurer, that he is gaming the system. This has been the long story of Michael Cohen, which is a story of a legal trainwreck. I was a critic of his when he was still representing Trump. And his practice has always been thuggish, and he has often had a serious problem with telling the truth … how could you put that individual on the stand and take the oath is going to be really something to watch. If lightning doesn’t strike the courthouse, I will be very surprised.

That’s some dramatic — yet oddly fitting — imagery to invoke. I have visions of “Ghostbusters” meets “And Justice for All,” overlaid by the audible “Law and Order” dun-dun swimming through my head now. As strange as this entire episode has been, can we truly rule out the possibility? 


The trial has been moving along fairly quickly — jury selection took just the first week, and the prosecution is on its sixth witness. So Cohen’s number is likely to be called sometime soon. Be sure to keep your eyes on the skies over New York. Or, at a minimum, here at RedState, where we’ll continue to bring you coverage of the whole fiasco. 


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