Everyone thinking about Trump and court stuff in October has been concentrating on NY Attorney General Letecia James’ Civil suit. Since it’s a Civil case Trump won’t be required to be there. Hell, he and even more so his lawyers shudder at the thought of how a jury will react to Trump at the defense table! However, news broke earlier that Trump will in fact be required to show up in person for a court proceeding after all. A judge has ruled the come October 3, Trump will have to appear at a place of Cohen’s choosing and sit for up to nine hours of deposition.
Wherever Trump is, the walls are (again!) dripping ketchup tonight. As we know Trump loves threatening lawsuits. Sometimes he actually goes ahead and does it despite the fact he doesn’t tend to do so well in Civil Court. (We can hope his luck, or lack of it continues on the criminal side) In any case Michael Cohen is one of those folks who’ve been living rent free in Trump’s head, and in Cohen’s case for quite a while now. At one time Cohen was all-in for Trump but once the scales fell from his eyes he became all-out/against Trump and with a vengeance. Cohen did wind up getting convicted and going to prison, for lying to protect Trump! That’s a point Cohen used with some effect when GOPers attacked him as a “convicted felon” but Cohen has accepted he was stupid and deserved to be punished.
I think however where Cohen might simply have been someone who’d pop up now and then to take shots at Trump, his early release from prison during Covid (something granted to lots of non-violent first offenders) was something Trump couldn’t abide. So Trump had his pet (at least then) AG Billirubin Barr put Cohen back in prison! Cohen went to court and quickly won but I think that had an effect. Cohen went from Trump critic who wanted to atone into a sworn blood enemy. One who knew where a lot of skeletons were hidden away, and also able to give firsthand accounts that confirmed so much of what those of us with clear eyes and common sense have seen/sensed about Trump.
On a regular basis, Cohen is there. Talking about Trump’s sins and his (Cohen’s) once having taken active part in helping Trump commit and get away with them. Finally Trump couldn’t take it anymore, this continual stuff of Cohen getting on TV or writing opinion pieces and decided to shut Cohen up by SUING him. And, as I said unlike in most instances where Trump makes the threats this time he followed through and as this CNN story reports filed a 500 million lawsuit against Cohen. I’ll bet Trump felt so good about his “Take THAT Cohen!” move he had three scoops of ice-cream that night instead of only two.
However, there’s a reason why Trump’s threats to sue people usually remain threats. HE can be deposed and we all know Trump does not do well in depositions. In fact, he tends to cripple his chances of prevailing. Before I continue a quick legal lesson: You of course know that in a criminal trial the 5th Amendment affords someone the right not to answer a question(s) because it might incriminate them. “Might.” That’s an important word that gets overlooked. More importantly, judges instruct juries that someone including and especially a defendant that takes the stand cannot have invoking the 5th count against them in jury deliberations.
I’ll resist the urge to get into an example to prove why this is so important but will say that most jurors, as I’m sure our own Murfster who has firsthand experience on a jury will attest take their duties seriously. They make a real effort not to hold invoking the 5th against a defendant. However, while the 5th isn’t a common thing in Civil cases it is sometimes used. However, the rules are quite different. Basically, a judge or a jury CAN in some circumstances use someone’s refusal to answer a question(s) by invoking the fifth against them in deliberations.
That brings us back to where we started. As this article from Meidas Touch Network notes earlier this week Cohen wanted to depose Trump who predictably has tried to keep from happening. So, Cohen filed a motion seeking to have Trump choose a date/place to be deposed. Trump refused. Judges, particular federal ones have become much less inclined to put up with Trump’s delay antics and once again Trump has gotten a legal hammer dropped on his fluffy combover:
The federal judge overseeing Donald Trump’s frivolous $500 million civil lawsuit against his former attorney Michael Cohen ordered that the disgraced ex-president must show up to be deposed on October 3rd at the time and location of Cohen’s choosing.
As I said earlier the judge has given Cohen/his lawyers up to NINE HOURS to depose Trump. The article notes how on a podcast Cohen spoke of Trump’s short attention span and wondered how he’d ever be able to sit through nine hours of being grilled, noting “the guy has the attention span of a peanut.” More to the point though is that Cohen goes on to say Trump will be using another attorney and plans to invoke the 5th Amendment. I’m not sure how Cohen knows that but I doubt he’d be saying it if his own lawyer hadn’t talked with this new Trump lawyer and been told something to the effect “Even if you do manage to get a deposition expect him to either plead the fifth or say he doesn’t remember to anything you ask.” It’s one of those rare times when Trump is being truthful I think.
IF Trump does pull such a stunt and invokes the 5th over and over this won’t go well for him. At best he’ll be lucky if the judge simply dismisses the case outright at the appropriate time and it never gets to trial. Losing will be costly not only in his own legal fees, but Trump having to pay Cohen’s expenses. However, Trump having actually filed this case means Cohen has really gotten under his ugly orange skin so who knows? Trump may be delusional enough to, if the judge lets the case proceed take it to trial. After all, the lawyer he’s gotten for this probably isn’t exactly top-level talent. And Trump thinks he knows more than anyone about everything.
Trump may well decide to play with fire in this deposition and if he does he’ll get burned “bigly time.” As the Meidas article notes:
While the Fifth Amendment guarantees that no person “shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself,” taking the Fifth in civil litigation has different implications. A witness’s invocation of the Fifth Amendment in civil litigation may give rise to an adverse inference “when independent evidence exists of the fact to which the party refuses to answer.”
Compared to everything else going on with all Trump’s legal problems this has been under the radar but as I’ve said more than once here it could wind up costing him dearly. However, that’s not the best reason for you to keep an eye out on what happens with this case. Oh no, there’s a much better reason. TRUMP is the plaintiff. HE is the one that started all this and now it seems he can’t back down without losing face. This is Trump being Wile E. Coyote blowing himself up with his Trump version of Acme Lawsuit Kit!
I for one will laugh my butt off when it happens.