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MSNBC legal analyst breaks down how ‘rare’ it was for judge to object on behalf of Trump defense


Daily Caller News Foundation

MSNBC legal analyst Danny Cevallos explained how unprecedented it was for Judge Juan Merchan to object on behalf of former President Donald Trump’s defense during his trial.

Merchan objected when porn star Stormy Daniels testified that Trump told her she would be trapped residing in a trailer park ahead of their alleged affair in 2006 as he believed it was not relevant information, CNN reported. Cevallos said it is rare for a judge to interject as he did, suggesting that if a jury convicts Trump it will be the top issue the former president will bring up on appeal.

“The prosecution’s been asking a lot of leading questions,” Cevallos said. “These are, I mean, loosely defined, although it’s not precise to call it that, but it’s basically a question with a yes or no answer. It’s objectionable, but you make a decision, am I going to make all these ticky-tack objections? They may get sustained and I feel victorious for a moment, but does the jury see this as being afraid, I’m hiding something, I don’t want the question to be asked? It seems to me the defense has taken a very, very deliberate tack to not object frequently. They barely object at all.”



“And maybe, arguably, because you had a sua sponte, the judge objected on his own, which really rarely happens,” Cevallos added. “It is very rare. How often does a judge interject to object for the defense? It really doesn’t happen very often. So, for Justice Merchan to even say it, to me, signals that if there is a conviction, that has to be the lead appealable issue for the defense. And, by the way, if they didn’t object, they may have waived it. It’s a risk. You can either object too much and be perceived as somebody who’s a pain or you can object not at all and maybe, poof, waive some of your appellate issues.”

Merchan denied Trump’s defense attorney Todd Blanche’s first motion for a mistrial following Daniels’ testimony about his client, referring to her testimony as “unduly prejudicial” and saying he does not believe there is a way to mitigate the impact of what she said. Blanche alleged Daniels discussed irrelevant details to the case, which is about an alleged $130,000 payment from Trump to the porn star, with Merchan signaling he will instruct the jury only to take into account a restricted portion of her testimony.

The judge noted many of the details Daniels testified about would have been better left “unsaid.” Merchan denied a second motion for a mistrial, as well, each time questioning the Trump defense about why it did not raise more objections during the testimony.

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Republished with permission from Daily Caller News Foundation

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