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Dysfunctions Last Updated: May 4, 2022 - 1:16:50 PM

Trump Organization Accused of Hiding Witness Who Knew if Trump Lied
By Jose Pagliery, Daily Beast, 2/5/22
May 3, 2022 - 1:29:52 PM

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There’s a new witness in a civil case against the Trump Organization. And this witness could help show that Trump was lying.

Of all Donald Trump’s legal problems, the lawsuit over the way his company’s security guards beat up protesters in 2015 seems relatively minor. But lawyers in that case now believe Trump’s former fixer, Michael Cohen, was in the room when Trump allegedly ordered guards to attack the demonstrators.

It’s a crucial detail in an ongoing lawsuit in New York City. And, if true, it would mean the former president lied during sworn videotaped testimony behind closed doors in October last year.

It also would indicate that Trump’s former director of security, Keith Schiller, also lied when he was similarly deposed in 2016 by lawyers representing beat-up protesters.

The lawsuit had essentially been on hold while Trump was shielded by the power of the presidency in the White House. But in the past month or so—with a trial just weeks away—lawyers for the aggrieved protesters discovered that Cohen was a key witness to Trump’s personal involvement in the attack.

The Trump Organization “would have been aware that Mr. Cohen had relevant information and was a potential witness for nearly seven years before he came forward to [us] on his own,” Benjamin N. Dictor wrote in a court filing on Tuesday. (Dictor also happens to represent The Daily Beast’s News Guild.)

The company “failed to disclose this or identify Mr. Cohen as a person with relevant information at any point,” Dictor explained.

On Friday, the attorney representing Trump, Schiller, and the company filed documents in court that cast it as a totally different story. The attorney, Alina Habba, claimed the defense was “ambushed” by the sudden appearance of Cohen as a prospective witness. And Habba used the opportunity to sling mud at Cohen himself, noting he is “a disgraced attorney and convicted felon.” She is already dismissing whatever testimony he might deliver, calling Cohen “a convicted perjurer” with a “well-documented vendetta” against Trump.

Both sides are now gearing up to officially question Cohen himself in the coming weeks, and his testimony could prove decisive at trial. Cohen declined to comment about the matter for the time being, citing his upcoming deposition. However, court filings already explain what he’s expected to say.

According to Dictor’s filing, Cohen remembers being in Trump’s office in his New York City office skyscraper on Sept. 3, 2015 when Schiller let him know that angry protesters had gathered downstairs on Fifth Avenue. They were calling attention to the racist remarks Trump made when he announced his ultimately successful presidential campaign that summer—the speech where he infamously described Mexican migrants like this: “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

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Cohen recalls that Trump told Schiller to “get rid” of them, according to the court filing by the protesters’ lawyer. The security guard and Cohen then went downstairs, where Schiller assaulted the protesters and ripped away one of their signs. They went back upstairs together and brought the torn-up sign to Trump’s office.

“Mr. Cohen’s description of the events that he observed on September 3, 2015 is not only additional direct proof of Trump’s control and management of his security personnel, it also directly contradicts and would therefore serve as rebuttal to the testimony of Defendants Trump and Schiller,” Dictor wrote in his affidavit.

At Trump’s Oct. 18, 2021 deposition at the very same building, the Trump Organization’s own lawyer posed the question to the former president.

“At any time on September 3, 2015, did you direct Keith Schiller to use any force against any of the protesters outside Trump Tower?” defense attorney Lawrence Rosen asked.

“No, I didn't,” Trump responded.

“At any time on September 3, 2015, did you direct Keith Schiller to do anything?” Rosen clarified.

“No,” Trump said.

The company’s former head of security maintained the same version of events when he was asked about it at Dictor’s law firm back in 2016.

Dictor asked Schiller if Trump in any way directed him to do anything with regard to those demonstrations. Schiller said no.

Lying during a sworn deposition would normally expose someone to potential perjury criminal charges. But former prosecutors told The Daily Beast that would be tricky in New York, where Penal Law § 210.50 says “falsity of a statement may not be established by the uncorroborated testimony of a single witness.”

One former prosecutor at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office said this incident—like so many others that it’s hard to keep count—could lead to criminal charges against Trump. He raised the possibility of putting Schiller before a grand jury and asking him about the office meeting, which would grant him total immunity—and further pressure him to tell the truth.

But it’s unclear if the Manhattan DA has the appetite for that sort of thing, given that the long-running criminal investigation into Trump appears to be fizzling out.

The entire ordeal would be an otherwise forgettable incident of rage-fueled security goons, were it not for the fact that this court case has now opened up Trump to potential criminal charges.

Earlier this week, The Daily Beast revealed that in his deposition, Trump repeatedly admitted to overseeing compensation for an executive whose untaxed corporate perks are currently under investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.

In her court papers on Friday, Habba blasted the other side for making Trump’s embarrassing deposition public in the first place. She called it a “blatant attempt to garner unwarranted media attention and to irreparably taint the potential jury pool.” She’s now asking the judge to financially penalize the beaten protesters and sanction their attorneys.

Source:Ocnus.net 2022

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