Trump spreads more lies in all caps screed at bitter end of hush money trial

Hours before a jury begins deliberations in his hush money trial, Donald Trump falsely claimed that the judge presiding over the case prevented him from mounting a legal strategy that pins responsibility for allegedly criminal acts on the advice of his attorneys.

In an all-caps post on his Truth Social on Wednesday, he called the proceedings a “BIDEN PUSHED WITCH HUNT”, blasted the “KANGAROO COURT” and “CORRUPT” Justice Juan Merchan’s refusal to accept his “reliance on counsel” defense.

The advice-of-counsel defense can be invoked when a defendant believes they should not be held responsible for actions they took based on reasonable reliance on the advice of their counsel.

But the former president’s lawyers previously said they didn’t want to raise a “formal” advice-of-counsel defense in an apparent attempt to avoid having to turn over communications and waive attorney-client privelege, as required.

Donald Trump awaits the start of proceedings in his criminal trial at Manhattan Criminal Court (POOL/AFP via Getty)
Donald Trump awaits the start of proceedings in his criminal trial at Manhattan Criminal Court (POOL/AFP via Getty)

And last week, his team tried to once again raise that defense after calling it a “presence of counsel,” which Judge Merchan said he had never heard of. “There was no such thing,” he said on 21 May.

“This is an issue that’s been going on for a very, very long time,” he added.

He called Mr Trump’s attempts “disingenuous”.

“I heard it the first time, and I heard it the second time,” Judge Merchan said. “What I’m saying is, this is an argument you’ve been advancing for many, many months... It’s denied. It’s not going to happen. Please don’t raise it.”

Yet the former president still raged about the “defense of counsel defense” on his social media platform on Wednesday,

Mr Trump faces 34 counts of falsifying business records in connection with a hush money scheme to silence adult film star Stormy Daniels from speaking about having sex with Mr Trump.

Mr Trump is accused of directing his former attorney, Michael Cohen, to pay her $130,000 weeks before Election Day in 2016. Then-President Trump reimbursed Cohen through a series of checks in 2017, in what prosecutors have described as an effort to conceal a conspiracy to influence the election.

Prosecutors will need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr Trump had a hand in falsifying those records to hide a conspiracy to influence the election for jurors to convict him.