National News from ABC

Hush money case against Trump is a ‘deluded fantasy,’ his attorneys say

Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

(NEW YORK) — Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is pursuing a “deluded fantasy” case against former President Donald Trump by tying a hush payment to an attempt to influence the 2016 presidential election, defense attorneys wrote in a court filing Wednesday.

“The People must attempt to try the case they charged, not the case the District Attorney fantasized about when he was on the campaign trial,” Trump’s lawyers said.

Trump last April pleaded not guilty to a 34-count indictment charging him with falsifying business records in connection with a hush money payment his then-attorney Michael Cohen made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels to buy her silence about a long-denied affair just days before the 2016 presidential election. The former president has denied all wrongdoing.

Trump’s attorneys have accused the district attorney’s office of trying to “bolster a fanciful and elaborate narrative that does not exist.”

The trial is scheduled to get underway on March 25.

In Wednesday’s filing, Trump’s lawyers also tempered their longstanding argument regarding selective prosecution — that Trump was targeted by Bragg for political reasons — and acknowledged their plans not to ask the jury for an acquittal based on that argument.

“While we disagree with the Court’s ruling, we acknowledge that the constitutional question presented is not one for the jury,” defense lawyers wrote.

Defense lawyers repeated their request that the jury should not see Trump’s infamous “Access Hollywood” tape because it would be “unduly prejudicial and confusing to the jury.” Prosecutors argue that the tape is admissible because it provided the “catalyst” for buying Daniels’ silence.

The defense also repeated its request to cross-examine Cohen about his admitted acts of perjury — including multiple instances identified by the Department of Justice — in order to discredit his testimony.

“Cohen’s lies to federal authorities are probative of bias and motivation to curry favor with New York authorities — including, but not limited, to the District Attorney — by fabricating stories regarding President Trump,” the filing argued.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

On Air Now

Now Playing On X101

Download The X101 App