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Adam Kaufmann on CNN: Day 1 of Trump Hush Money Trial

April 22, 2024

Adam Kaufmann on CNN

As opening arguments were underway in Donald Trump's criminal "hush money" trial, Adam Kaufmann spoke to Anderson Cooper live on CNN.

On the prosecution's goal for opening arguments: 

"You want to try to put it all in context for the jury, so this isn’t just about writing some false entries in a ledger: it’s really about the election, it’s about a much broader conspiracy. You lay that all out for the jury to get them hooked and attentive."

On the first witness: 

"Having [David] Pecker come out and talk about the relationship and the catch-and-kill, that really sets the table. So we’re not even talking about the false business records at this point, we’re not talking about Cohen, we’re not talking about the payments—we’re talking about the background and the context in which this develops.... Putting all of that in front of the jury at the beginning allows the prosecution to tell the whole story of the false business records in its proper context. I think it’s a great opening move by the prosecution."

On Michael Cohen as a witness:

"In the scheme of prosecution witnesses with checkered pasts, Michael Cohen is a veritable angel. Prosecutors put on drug dealers, murderers, thieves. It’s the nature of the business. And juries listen to them."

On Trump taking the stand:

"Usually defense attorneys want to keep their clients off the stand. Donald Trump has said he wants to testify. You know, he’s a compelling figure. Remember, he doesn’t have to convince 12 people that he’s not guilty. He doesn’t have that burden that the prosecution has. He’s looking for one person. He needs one person to believe in him in order to hang the jury. And he might be able to do that by testifying himself. So I wouldn’t be surprised if he does testify in this case. And then of course there is the political aspect. Part of his calculus has to be, how does this play if I do testify and if I don’t testify?"


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