Donald Trump’s lawyers urge the judge to throw out his hush money case after prosecution rests

Donald Trump’s lawyers on Monday pressed the judge overseeing his hush money trial to stop the case from going to the jury and throw out the charges after prosecutors concluded their presentation of evidence.

Judge Juan M. Merchan did not immediately rule on the defense request, which came at the end of a busy day that included the judge briefly kicking reporters out of the courtroom after admonishing a defense witness for his behavior on the stand.

The trial will resume Tuesday with more testimony from Robert Costello, a former federal prosecutor who Trump’s lawyers called to the stand to attack the credibility of the prosecution’s star witness, Trump attorney-turned-adversary Michael Cohen.

Cohen was the last witness — at least for now — for prosecutors, who are trying to prove that Trump sought to bury unflattering stories about himself and then falsified internal business records to cover it up as part of a scheme to illegally influence the 2016 presidential election.

Over several hours of cross-examination, Trump’s attorneys seized on Cohen’s past lies and criminal history, underscoring the risk of prosecutors’ reliance on the now-disbarred attorney. Cohen testified earlier Monday that he stole tens of thousands of dollars from Trump’s company, an admission defense lawyers hope to use to sow doubt in Cohen’s crucial testimony implicating the former President in the hush money scheme.

After jurors left for the day, defense attorney Todd Blanche told the judge that prosecutors failed to prove their case and that it should be thrown out immediately. Blanche beseeched the judge to “not let this case go to the jury relying on Mr. Cohen’s testimony.”

The judge appeared unmoved by the argument, asking the defense attorney whether he believed that “as a matter of law, this person’s so not worthy of belief that it shouldn’t even be considered by the jury?”

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