Fidelity is the most valued virtue in the circle of lawyers, businessmen, advisors and politicians who surround Donald Trump. “Betrayal” turns you into a “liar”, an “obsessed”, a “vengeful” and a “rat” who “only seeks the money and fame” of the tycoon. Michael Cohen – the target of all these epithets – was in the first boat for ten years, but jumped to the second in 2018, when he confessed that he had managed a scheme of secret payments to models, actresses and even the doorman of Trump Tower to cover up the tycoon’s infidelities and that they did not harm him in the electoral campaign with which he made the leap into politics.

The second man in Joe Biden’s line of succession, House Speaker Mike Johnson, never abandoned the ship of devotion. And this morning he accompanied Trump for the first time at his criminal trial in New York, the first of a former president in the history of the United States. Before entering, he has said that the court is “corrupt”, that it is carrying out a “political” trial and that it constitutes “electoral interference”.

It is not surprising that the man who led the legal efforts to reverse the results of the 2020 elections speaks out in the same conspiratorial terms as Trump, but this fierce attack by a politician of his rank on the American judicial system is unprecedented. Also present in the criminal room were some of the names that strongly sound like possible running mates for the tycoon, such as Congressman Byron Donalds, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum or businessman and former Republican candidate Vivek Ramaswamy.

Inside, the second day of testimony was taking place by Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer and henchman – and the prosecution’s star witness in this case – who has continued to detail the $130.00 bribe he paid to porn actress Stormy Daniels in the 2016 to buy his silence about a relationship he had had with the Republican a decade earlier. A year later, Trump reimbursed him through monthly checks of $35,000, which he recorded under the concept of legal services provided by Cohen to the Trump Organization.

With this, he incurred a document falsification scheme, according to the prosecution’s accusation, which is aggravated because it served the commission of another crime against New York’s campaign finance laws. In total, Cohen has claimed that the bribe cost Trump about $420,000, including the money Daniels received, tax expense coverage and a bonus. For this reason, he is accused of 34 serious crimes, one for each of the documents involved: 11 checks, 11 invoices and 12 accounting records.

Cohen has described in court the meeting he had with Trump at the White House in February 2017, a month after his inauguration, in which the president guaranteed him that he would return the money advanced and tried to reassure him about the fact. of having committed an illegality: “Don’t worry, I’m the president of the United States,” Trump said, as Cohen has recalled. The lawyer paid his loyalty to the Republican with a three-year prison sentence, after confessing in 2018 to his management of bribery – with which he violated campaign finance laws – and six years later he returns to the stand to hold accountable his former boss, converted into his greatest public enemy.

After the questions from the prosecution, the battery of questions from the lawyer leading Trump’s defense, Todd Blanche, has begun. In the same vein as his interrogation of actress Daniels last week, he has gone on the attack with the intention of caricaturing him as a vengeful man who seeks to benefit from Trump. The objective is to ensure that the twelve members of the jury, who must reach a verdict in the coming weeks, reduce the credibility of the prosecution’s main witness.

In her questions to the lawyer, Blanche has cited his anti-Trump comments in two published books, podcasts, television interviews and a series of recent TikTok posts. “Has she appeared in more than 20 television interviews talking about Trump?” she asked. “Maybe,” Cohen responded. “Do you want President Trump to be convicted in this case?” “Clear”. This has been the tone of almost all of Cohen’s responses to the defense attorney, with vague statements such as: “that’s right,” “I think so,” or “it’s not true.”

This Tuesday’s witness was the last of the twenty that the prosecution has called to testify. Defense testimonies begin on Thursday, in a trial that is moving faster than expected, and that could reach a verdict at the end of this month. If convicted, the US would enter an unprecedented situation, with a former president and candidate facing prison sentences.