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Trump Called Out For Accidentally Admitting To Major Part Of Hush Money Scheme

During a rant outside the courtroom about the Stormy Daniels NDA, Donald Trump may have accidentally admitted to a major claim of the prosecution.

Donald Trump and attorney Todd Blanche outside courtroom
Steven Hirsch-Pool/Getty Images

Former President Donald Trump was called out after he appeared to accidentally admit to a major part of the hush money scheme at the center of his ongoing election interference trial.

The criminal trial in New York revolves around accusations that Trump falsified business records in an attempt to conceal hush money payments made to adult film performer Stormy Daniels in exchange for a non-disclosure agreement to silence her ahead of the 2016 general election.

During a rant outside the courtroom, Trump pointed to recent remarks made by legal analyst Jonathan Turley and an article by Andrew McCarthy, a former prosecutor in the Southern District of New York, concluding that NDAs are legal for everyone—except Trump himself.

Turley claimed that the cross-examination of Daniels "shattered her laughable claim that she had not really been seeking money in shaking Trump down for a non-disclosure agreement." And in asserting that "NDAs are legal and common," McCarthy said the trial is "the most farcical episode of lawfare, the effort to chain one presidential candidate to courtrooms while his opponent campaigns to his heart’s content."

With this in mind, Trump said:

"From Jonathan Turley and Andrew McCarthy: 'NDAs are legal and common, yet Trump's is illegal.'"
"I have the only illegal NDA."

You can hear what Trump said in the video below.

It was that last line, delivered sarcastically, that has raised eyebrows.

Though Trump has often branded Daniels a liar and called the case against him a "witch hunt," his actions and the evidence nonetheless demonstrate that he was at the center of the scheme, including the NDA with Daniels.

The name "David Dennison" was used as a pseudonym for Trump by Cohen in the NDA with Daniels, who was identified in the NDA as "Peggy Peterson." Daniels' lawyer, Keith Davidson, testified that he drafted the agreement in which Daniels is referred to as Peggy Peterson, using "P" for Plaintiff, and Trump is referred to as David Dennison, using "D" for Defendant.

Additionally, in a prior case in California where Daniels successfully sued to be released from her non-disclosure agreement with Trump, he admitted to reimbursing the hush money payments used to cover up the affair. Trump submitted a brief in that case acknowledging that he had reimbursed Michael Cohen for these payments.

But he has never publicly acknowledged his connection to Daniels' NDA. Until Thursday.

His latest admission exposed him to significant criticism from people who said he'd blown up his own defense.

During Cohen's cross-examination by Trump's legal team Thursday, attorney Todd Blanche repeatedly accused Cohen of lying on the stand.

Blanche spent hours grilling Cohen, focusing both on Cohen's past misdeeds and the specific allegations of the case, attempting to undermine Cohen’s pivotal testimony against Trump.

The prosecution is widely seen to have presented such a tight substantive case, it's questionable whether Blanche's dramatic gambit on Thursday will be effective at undermining the case against Trump in jurors' minds. But without a compelling counter-narrative to explain Trump's fingerprints all over the illegal scheme, Blanche has little choice but to try to tear the prosecution's star witness down.

Court is adjourned until Monday at which point Michael Cohen is expected to go back on the stand for final cross-examination and possibly a redirect by the prosecution. Judge Merchan told counsel to prepare closing arguments for Tuesday.