Judge Strafes Trump’s Legal Team After Stormy Daniels Testimony Ends

INSIDE: Juan Merchan ... Joe Biden ... Henry Cuellar
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 9: Former U.S. President Donald Trump walks to speak to the press at the end of the day during his trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments at Manhattan Criminal Court on May 9, 20... NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 9: Former U.S. President Donald Trump walks to speak to the press at the end of the day during his trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments at Manhattan Criminal Court on May 9, 2024 in New York City. Former U.S. President Donald Trump faces 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in the first of his criminal cases to go to trial. (Photo by Angela Weiss-Pool/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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Ooof …

After Stormy Daniels completed her testimony and the jury had left the courtroom late yesterday, Judge Juan Merchan heard arguments on another Trump motion for a mistrial in the hush money case.

Trump lost the motion, but the hearing was notable for the way in which Merchan raked Trump’s attorneys for not having done more to keep some of Daniels’ testimony out and prevent the jury from hearing it.

Merchan’s point to the Trump legal team was two-fold: (i) when you raised objections, I usually sustained them; and (ii) you should have objected a whole lot more. Merchan raised again the fact that he himself had sua sponte objected to the some of the Daniels testimony when he didn’t hear one from Trump. Add it all together, Merchan ruled, and Trump offered no basis for a mistrial. Motion dismissed.

One can only imagine the thrashing Trump gave his lawyers after hearing Merchan question their approach to such a key witness who had so much embarrassing testimony to offer.

Quote Of The Day

“Why on earth she wouldn’t object to the mention of a condom, I don’t understand.”

Judge Juan Merchan, on Trump attorney Susan Necheles’ handling of Stormy Daniels’ testimony

TPM’s Coverage

Josh Kovensky liveblogged all of Stormy Daniels testimony here and offered his closing thoughts here:

At times, Necheles strategy seemed to approach an attempt at jury nullification — when members of a jury disregard the case mounted and the evidence of crimes charged and instead acquit because they disagree with the law or the way in which prosecutors applied it. The defense implicitly asked the panel to find that Daniels had acted so outrageously as to compel Trump to do anything to defend himself. It also left the former president in his favored rhetorical pose: that of a victim.

How Did Stormy Daniels Do?

Joyce Vance recaps:

The jury doesn’t have to believe Stormy Daniels to convict Donald Trump. Even if her story was just that—a made up story, as the defense claims—the crime happened when Trump paid her off and concealed the payments with false business records. But Daniels came off as believable. At one point, under pressure from Necheles to concede she’d never had sex with Trump, Daniels fired back that if she was going to tell a story that wasn’t true, she “would’ve written it to be a lot better.”

Trump’s lawyers staked their case on Stormy Daniels’ story being a lie. They promised the jury in their opening statement that none of it was true. But they didn’t deliver. Stormy Daniels did. That means the defense’s credibility with the jury is low as they head into the critical stage of the trial where the government must prove that Trump knew about the whole deal. Because with the motive for the crime established, it’s about time for the People to call Michael Cohen to the witness stand.

Michael Cohen Expected To Testify Next Week

As trial resumes this morning, it’s not clear who prosecutors will call to the stand next. But it doesn’t look likely to be Michael Cohen, who himself said yesterday he doesn’t expect to testify until next week.

A Gag Order Workaround?

Nothing about the gag order against Trump would prevent allies and surrogates from coming to his defense, but I will be curious if Trump plays any role in organizing and coordinating their responses, because that seems to get awfully close to crossing the line into another gag order violation that could lead to his incarceration.

What’s Paul Manafort Been Up To Since Trump Pardon?

The WaPo goes deep on prodigal son Paul Manafort as he returns to the Trump campaign fold.

Returning To The Scene Of The Crime

TPM’s Hunter Walker: How Republicans Went From The Tea Party To ‘Stop The Steal’ To The Next Big Election Conspiracy

Give This A Read

No one is more adept at describing the dynamics of the politics-and-media information economy that my old colleague Brian Beutler, and he’s got a good one today.

Ballot Problem For Biden In Ohio Still Unresolved

The Ohio legislature adjourned without passing a fix to allow President Biden on the November ballot even though the Democratic convention isn’t scheduled to formally nominate him until after the state’s deadline to get on the ballot. Meanwhile, Alabama quietly fixed the same problem last week.

Two Plea Deals Already In The Books In Cuellar Case


Two political operatives close to Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Tex.) agreed to plead guilty this year and cooperate with the Justice Department’s bribery case against the lawmaker, according to newly unsealed court documents.

The records show that Colin Strother and Florencio “Lencho” Rendon struck the plea agreements in March, admitting to their roles in an alleged bribery scheme in which they funneled more than $200,000 to the congressman and his wife, Imelda Cuellar, on behalf of a Mexican bank. Strother and Rendon were each charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering.


Kevin Williams: I Went To China And Drove A Dozen Electric Cars. Western Automakers Are Cooked

Speaking Of Cooked …

The Guardian: “The largest ever recorded leap in the amount of carbon dioxide laden in the world’s atmosphere has just occurred, according to researchers who monitor the relentless accumulation of the primary gas that is heating the planet.”

Solar Storm Incoming

A coronal mass ejection is expected to trigger a severe geomagnetic storm today and overnight into tomorrow, which may make the aurora borealis visible at much more southerly latitudes than normal:

Raskin Goes Schoolhouse Rock On Grothman

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