Speculation is building that the Manhattan district attorney’s case against President Donald Trump could unravel before it begins, at least according to one CNN analyst who questioned the strength of a star witness set to testify against the former president.
Speaking this morning, Elliot Williams, a former federal prosecutor in the Obama administration, suggested that District Attorney Alvin Briggs could be relying too heavily on Trump’s former attorney and fixer Michael Cohen who has “credibility issues” and has been convicted of previous crimes.
— Trump War Room (@TrumpWarRoom) March 19, 2023
On Saturday President Trump messaged his followers on Truth Social to predict that prosecutors would be filing charges against him on Tuesday in a case involving hush-money paid to a porn star to settle an extramarital affair. Cohen, as the prosecution’s star witness, would likely explain his role in making the $130,000 payment at the direction of Trump.
In an ironic twist, New York state prosecutors will be relying on a disbarred attorney who was convicted in 2018 on federal charges of tax evasion and campaign finance misreporting. Federal authorities previously declined to bring charges against President Trump, clearing the way for DA Briggs to levy state-level charges against the president with help from Cohen.
Williams, the Obama-era prosecutor, also suggested that Briggs may struggle to win his office’s case based on outdated evidence associated with the hush-money transaction. Two deputy US attorneys resigned last year to protest Briggs’ previous decision to not charge Trump, fearing the charges wouldn’t stick and it would reflect poorly on his office. It is unclear why Briggs now believes he has a stronger case.
Should charges be filed, analysts have also questioned how or if Trump would be brought before a state court to enter a plea. While it remains possible that the president’s legal team could request all processing and casework be done remotely, state courts currently require defendants to be present for at least some of the proceedings.