Lies, loyalty and a gag order upheld: Tuesday’s Trump hush money trial takeaways

NEW YORK — Donald Trump’s attorneys started grilling prosecutors’ star witness in his hush money trial Tuesday, portraying former attorney Michael Cohen as a media-obsessed liar who’s determined to see the former president behind bars.

Cohen endured intense questioning by defense attorney Todd Blanche after providing pivotal testimony tying the presumptive Republican presidential nominee directly to the hush money scheme at the heart of the case.

Trump’s former fixer will return to the witness stand Thursday for more cross-examination before prosecutors rest their case alleging a scheme to illegally influence the 2016 election by silencing women who alleged sexual encounters with him. Trump denies that he had sex with the women and denies wrongdoing in the case.

Here are some key takeaways from Tuesday’s proceedings:

Prosecutors confronted Cohen’s history of falsehoods head-on in an attempt to get ahead of an issue Trump lawyers are seizing on to attack the now-disbarred lawyer’s credibility. Prosecutors also sought to paint Cohen as a devoted Trump loyalist, whose crimes were committed on the former president’s behalf.

Under questioning from prosecutor Susan Hoffinger, Cohen admitted that he lied to Congress during an investigation into potential ties between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign. Cohen pleaded guilty

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