TURLEY: Even CNN & MSNBC's Anchors are Criticizing Trump's Accusers – and the 'Star Witness'

A former high-ranking Biden Justice Dept. Official & DNC consultant is leading the prosecution, while the Judge's daughter is a high-ranking Democrat political operative

By Jonathan Turley

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Texas Insider Report) — As the end of the Trump trial in Manhattan approaches – and after Thursday's dramatic implosion of "Star Witness" Michael Cohen exposed yet another alleged lie he told under oath – even hosts and commentators from CNN and MSNBC are criticizing Donald Trump's accusers, and doubting the basis for any form of conviction.


After Cohen’s testimony on the stand, CNN anchor Anderson Cooper admitted he would “absolutely” have doubts.

CNN’s legal analyst Elie Honig declared:

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a star cooperating witness get his knees chopped out quite as clearly and dramatically.”

If legal experts, including on CNN and MSNBC, are admitting that they did not get the legal theory of the prosecution – or understand the still mysterious crime that was being concealed by the alleged book-keeping errors – the question then is whether the jury itself is realizing that they are being played by the prosecution.

As the trial of former President Donald Trump careens toward its conclusion, one has to wonder if the jurors are wondering: “If you look around the table and you can’t tell who the sucker is, it’s you.”

For any discerning juror, the trial has been conspicuously lacking any clear statement from the prosecutors of what crime Trump was attempting to commit by allegedly mischaracterizing payments as “legal expenses.” 

There is also the failure of the prosecutors to establish that Trump even knew of how payments were denoted – or that these denotations were actually fraudulent in categorizing payments to a lawyer as legal expenses. The judge has allowed this dangerously undefined case to proceed without demanding greater clarity from the prosecution.

Jurors may also suspect there's more to meet the eye about the players themselves. Everyone “around the table” has controversial connections. Indeed, for many, the judge, the prosecutors, and the witnesses seem as random or coincidental as the cast from "Ocean's Eleven."

Let’s look at three key things.

1. The Prosecutors

First, there are the prosecutors. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg originally (as did his predecessor,) rejected this ridiculous legal theory, and further stated that he could not imagine ever bringing a case where he would call former Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen, let alone make him the entirety of a prosecution.

Bragg’s suspension of the case led prosecutor Mark F. Pomerantz to resign. Pomerantz also met with Cohen in pushing the case.

Pomerantz then wrote a book on the prosecution – despite his colleagues objecting that he was undermining their work. Many of us viewed the book as unethical and unprofessional, but it worked.

But the pressure campaign forced Bragg to green-light the prosecution.

Bragg then selected Matthew Colangelo to lead the case.

Colangelo was 3rd in command of the Justice Department – and gave up that plum position to lead the case against Trump.

Colangelo was also paid by the Democrat National Committee... for“political consulting.”

So a former high-ranking official in the Biden Justice Department, and a past consultant to the DNC, is leading the prosecution.

2. The Judge

Judge Juan Merchan has been criticized – not only because he is a political donor to President Biden – but because his daughter is a high-ranking Democrat political operative who has raised millions in campaigns against Trump and the GOP.

Merchan, however, was not randomly selected. He was specifically selected for the case due to his handling of an earlier Trump-related case.

3. The Star Witness

Michael Cohen’s checkered history as a convicted, disbarred serial perjurer is well known.

Now, Rep. Dan Goldman (D-NY,) is under fire after disclosing “I have met with [Cohen] a number of times to prepare him.”

Goldman, in turn, paid Merchan’s daughter, Loren Merchan, more than $157,000 dollars for political consulting.

While Democrats would be outraged if the situation were flipped in a prosecution of Biden, the cross-pollination between the DOJ, DNC, and Democratic operatives is dismissed as irrelevant by many in the media.

Moreover, there is little outrage in New York that, in a presidential campaign where the weaponization of the legal system is a major issue, Trump is not allowed to discuss Cohen, Colangelo, or these conflicts. A New York Supreme Court judge is literally controlling what Trump can say in a presidential campaign about the alleged lawfare being waged against him.

The most striking aspect of these controversial associations is how little was done to avoid even the appearance of conflicts of interests.

There were many judges available who were not donors or have children with such prominent political interests in the case.

Bragg could have selected someone who was not imported by the Biden administration or someone who had not been paid by the DNC.

There was no concern over the obvious appearance of a politically motivated and stacked criminal case.

Whether or not these figures are conflicted or compromised, no effort was taken to assure citizens that any such controversies are avoided in the selection of the key players in this case.

What will be interesting is how the jury will react when, after casting its verdict, the members learn of these undisclosed associations. This entire production was constructed for their benefit to get them to convict Trump despite the absence of a clear crime or direct evidence.

They were the marks, and like any good grift, the prosecutors were hoping that their desire for a Trump conviction would blind them to the con.

Bragg, Colangelo and others may be wrong. Putting aside the chance that Judge Merchan could summon up the courage to end this case before it goes to the jury, the grift may have been a bit too obvious.

New Yorkers are a curious breed. Yes, they overwhelmingly hate Trump, but they also universally hate being treated like chumps.

When they get this case, they just might look around the courtroom and decide that they are the suckers in a crooked game.

A professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University Law SchoolJonathan Turley is a nationally recognized legal scholar who has written extensively in areas ranging from Constitutional Law to Legal Theory & Tort Law. He is often asked to testify before Congressional proceedings about complex Constitutional & Statutory Issues, including multiple impeachment hearings and removal trials such as the impeachments of Presidents Bill Clinton & Donald Trump. He appears regularly as a legal expert on all of the major television networks, as well as in national publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal.