Trump Lawyer’s Opening Statement Draws Criticisms From Experts In Criminal Trial

Todd Blanche Trump

On the first day of arguments in Donald Trump’s criminal trial, attorney Todd Blanche sparked objections and criticism with his opening statement, characterized by legal analysts as a strategic but controversial move.

Blanche sought to plant seeds of doubt in jurors’ minds by portraying Stormy Daniels as a liar and Michael Cohen as a rogue, prompting objections from prosecutors on multiple occasions.

Judge Juan Merchan sustained objections to several claims made by Blanche, including the assertion that buying someone’s silence is not illegal, leading to sidebar discussions between the judge and lawyers.

Legal experts noted the unusual frequency of objections sustained during an opening statement, with MSNBC legal analyst Lisa Rubin describing it as “weird” considering the brevity of Blanche’s remarks.

Norm Eisen, former House Judiciary Committee counsel, remarked on the high rate of upheld objections, calling it unprecedented in his legal experience.

While Blanche’s strategy may have aimed to sow doubt in the jurors’ minds, it also risked undermining his credibility.

Katie Phang, another legal analyst, suggested that sustained objections could disrupt the flow of Blanche’s argument and signal wrongdoing to the jury.

Former acting U.S. Solicitor General Neil Katyal criticized Blanche’s arguments, labeling them as implausible and potentially damaging to his credibility.

Katyal highlighted inconsistencies in Blanche’s defense, particularly regarding the legitimacy of payments made to Michael Cohen.

“It’s just unthinkable,” he said – and an auspicious way to begin one’s defense of a man facing 34 felony counts. “A really poor way to start. Which is why Trump has always been scared of not just the other trials, but this trial in particular.”

The criticism of Blanche’s opening statement underscores the challenges facing Trump in his trial, with legal experts cautioning against overpromising and undermining credibility at the outset.

As Trump faces 34 felony counts, the scrutiny of his defense strategy is expected to intensify in the coming days.