Trump reads back to media their own trial reporting: ‘No smoking gun’

Former President Trump greeted the media Tuesday morning holding a sheet of paper detailing news reports that there’s  “no smoking gun” in the unprecedented Manhattan trial. 

“NBC ‘Today’ show: ‘The challenge is that there is no smoking gun, no email or tape to prove the president’s intent. They don’t have a way to prove that.’ That’s NBC ‘Today’ show,” Trump said Tuesday morning. 

Trump rattled off a series of media reports and expert commentary, including from “fake news CNN,” “Good Morning America” and Fox News, arguing the prosecution team is failing to prove Trump is guilty of falsifying business records with an intent to commit or conceal a second crime. 

“On ‘Good Morning America,’ they said, ‘We heard that expense payments to lawyers are legal expenses.’ You pay a lawyer expenses payments. We didn’t put it down as construction costs, the purchase of sheet rock, the electrical cost. The legal expense that we paid was put down as legal expense. There’s nothing else you could say. You don’t have to put down anything, I guess. But we put down legal expense.”

LIVE UPDATES: NY V. TRUMP TRIAL RESUMES WITH WITNESS TESTIMONY AFTER JUDGE MERCHAN THREATENS TRUMP WITH JAIL TIME

Donald Trump speaks to the media outside of the courtroom.

Former President Trump speaks to the media, as his criminal trial continues, in New York City, May 7, 2024. (Reuters/David Dee Delgado/Pool)

The case focuses on Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, paying former pornographic actor Stormy Daniels $130,000 to allegedly quiet her claims of an alleged extramarital affair she had with the then-real estate tycoon in 2006. Trump has denied having an affair with Daniels.

Prosecutors allege that the Trump Organization reimbursed Cohen and fraudulently logged the payments as legal expenses. Prosecutors are working to prove that Trump falsified records with the intent to commit or conceal a second crime, which is a felony.

TRUMP SAYS JAIL TIME TO DEFEND FREE SPEECH IS ‘SACRIFICE’ HE’S WILLING TO MAKE

The court heard from its 10th witness Monday, former Trump Organization controller Jeffrey McConney, who testified that Trump did not direct him to set up repayments to Cohen. 

“Michael Cohen was a lawyer?” defense attorney Emil Bove asked former Trump Organization controller Jeffrey McConney on Monday at the start of the fourth week of the trial.

“Sure, yes,” McConney responded. 

“And payments to lawyers by the Trump Organization are legal expenses, right?” asked Bove.

“Yes,” said McConney.

“President Trump did not ask you to do any of the things you just described… correct?” Bove asked.

“He did not,” McConney replied.

NY V TRUMP: DA’S WITNESS TESTIFIES TRUMP DID NOT DIRECT HIM ON COHEN REPAYMENTS

Donald Trump in courthouse hallway in orange tie

Former President Trump walks in New York City as his criminal trial continues, May 7, 2024. (Reuters/David Dee Delgado/Pool)

Trump said Tuesday that “with all this going on, they have no case.” 

NY V TRUMP TO RESUME MONDAY AFTER EVENTFUL 3RD WEEK OF TESTIMONY, THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS OF GAG ORDER FINES

“Every single legal scholar that I see, I mean, maybe there’s somebody out there, some whack job. But for virtually… everyone that I’ve seen, has said there’s absolutely no case. It’s a case that shouldn’t have been brought. The previous D.A. wouldn’t bring it. Bragg didn’t want to bring it. And then he brought it because I’m running and in number one place,” Trump continued Tuesday. 

Amid the trial, Trump has been placed under a gag order that prevents him from making or directing others to make public statements about witnesses and their potential participation or remarks about court staff, DA staff or family members of staff. Trump has railed against the order as “unconstitutional” and trampling on his free speech rights. 

On Monday, presiding Judge Juan Merchan said he would consider a jail sentence for Trump if he continues to violate the gag order. 

Judge Merchan in white shirt, blue tie in chambers

Judge Juan Merchan in his chambers, March 14, 2024, in New York. (AP Photos)

The DA’s office argued that Trump violated the order more than a dozen times, with the judge ruling last week that Trump violated the order nine times, resulting in a combined $9,000 fine. Merchan fined the former president another $1,000 for an additional violation on Monday, arguing that it’s “clear” the $1,000 fines for each violation are not effective.

NY V TRUMP: WITNESS SAYS COHEN DREAMED OF WHITE HOUSE JOB DESPITE DENYING AMBITIONS IN HOUSE TESTIMONY

“The last thing I want to consider is jail,” Merchan said. “You are [the] former president and possibly the next president.”

Trump said Monday afternoon that potential time in jail to protect the Constitution is a “sacrifice” he’s willing to make. 

Donald Trump in courtroom sketch

A court sketch depicts the second day of former President Trump’s trial in Manhattan Criminal Court on Tuesday, April 16, 2024. (Christine Cornell)

“I have to watch every word I tell you people. You ask me a question, a simple question I’d like to give it, but I can’t talk about it because this judge has given me a gag order and [says] you’ll go to jail if you violate it,” Trump said in remarks outside the Manhattan courtroom Monday afternoon.  

JUDGE DOUBLES DOWN ON NOT SHOWING TRUMP ‘ACCESS HOLLYWOOD’ TAPE TO JURORS

“And frankly, you know what? Our Constitution is much more important than jail. It’s not even close. I’ll do that sacrifice any day.”

Trump continued in his comments Tuesday morning that the case is promoted by the Biden administration in the lead-up to the presidential election. 

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“This all comes out of the White House and Crooked Joe Biden. This comes from the White House. And it’s all Biden because it’s an attack on his political opponent. That hasn’t happened in this country. It does happen in third world countries, but it hasn’t happened in this country. And it’s a shame. And the trial is a very unfair trial. It’s a very, very unfair trial. The good news is they have nothing,” he said. 

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