Donald Trump’s hush money trial depends on the credibility of the key witness. The ex-president’s defense is now trying to destroy it. Some answers, however, cause amusement.

In the hush money trial against former US President Donald Trump, the defense is trying to portray star witness Michael Cohen as an untrustworthy and vengeful liar. The cross-examination on Tuesday turned into a confrontational exchange of blows. “Mr. Cohen, my name is Todd Blanche,” Trump’s lawyer began the questioning, adding: “You called me a crying little bastard on Tiktok right before this trial began?” Cohen replied: “Sounds like something I say Cohen later admitted that he wanted to see Trump behind bars, as journalists present in the New York court unanimously reported.

During his previous questioning by the prosecution, the key witness made a direct connection between Trump and a payment to porn star Stormy Daniels that the Republican is said to have illegally recorded. Prosecutors accuse Trump of trying to improve his chances of winning the 2016 presidential election by paying the porn actress $130,000. The transaction itself, which was not disputed by either party, was not illegal. However, the now 77-year-old is said to have manipulated documents when refunding the amount provided by Cohen in order to hide the true reason for the payment. From the perspective of the prosecution, it was therefore illegal campaign financing.

Blanche repeatedly confronted Cohen with his sharp attacks on Trump. He painted a picture of a man obsessed with revenge against his former boss ever since he dumped him. In response to Blanche’s questions about the fact that the prosecution had asked Cohen in several conversations not to comment on the case on TV shows, Cohen replied that he could not remember several conversations on the subject. Blanche took this alleged memory lapse as an opportunity to question Cohen’s detailed memories of phone calls with Trump eight years ago. The cross-examination is scheduled to continue on Thursday and the trial will take a break on Wednesday.

This is the first criminal trial against a former president in the history of the United States. Trump faces a prison sentence of several years, which could also be suspended, or a fine. The proceedings could also have an impact on the election campaign in the USA. Trump, who wants to be re-elected US president in November, has pleaded not guilty.

Some US commentators were of the opinion that lawyer Blanche failed to discredit Cohen’s allegations, at least in the first part of the cross-examination. At times during the interview he jumped from one topic to the next so quickly that it was not easy to follow him. Cohen’s sometimes very blunt answers, who replied “Sounds like something I would say” several times, would have seemed amusing. The New York Times noted that the jury was obviously amused.

Cohen is considered a problematic witness because of repeated lies in his past. He became known as Trump’s “cleaner” with a close relationship and direct access to his boss, for whom he sorted out legal troubles. Cohen once said he would even take a bullet for Trump.

The hush money payments to Daniels have been a concern for the US justice system for years. Cohen was found guilty in this context in 2018 and served a prison sentence for, among other things, making false statements. At the time, Trump was still president and was not prosecuted by prosecutors. The current trial opened in April.

Trump appeared in court on Tuesday wearing a dark blue suit and yellow tie. He was remarkably passive during cross-examination. Instead of watching his lawyer try to undermine his opponent’s credibility, he often closed his eyes and remained calm – as he had done during Cohen’s previous questioning by the prosecutor.

Trump also brought a large entourage of supporters with him to the trial. In addition to his son Eric Trump and his wife Lara, the Republican leader in the House of Representatives, Mike Johnson, and the right-wing populist Republican Vivek Ramaswamy were also there. He is considered a possible candidate for vice president at Trump’s side in the November election.

Important witness David Pecker initially testified at the trial in New York. The former editor of the pro-Trump tabloid National Enquirer confirmed the prosecution’s claim that he and Cohen were ordered by Trump to suppress negative reporting before the 2016 US election by buying the rights to publish the respective stories. Last week, porn star Daniels himself took the stand and made an unflattering and very detailed statement about alleged sexual intercourse with Trump. Cohen finally linked the hush money payments directly to the former president.

The prosecution announced that Cohen was their last witness. Trump’s lawyers could finish cross-examining him as early as Thursday. It would then be up to the defense to call exonerating witnesses before closing arguments. The twelve jurors must then make a unanimous decision. Judge Juan Merchan would determine the sentence if convicted.