Fox & Friends hosts attack star witness Michael Cohen as they echo Trump’s claim that hush money trial is ‘political’

‘I can’t imagine any objective juror believing anything he has to say,’ a Fox News legal analyst said about Michael Cohen’s credibility

Kelly Rissman
Monday 15 April 2024 13:44 BST
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Co-hosts of Fox & Friends parroted Donald Trump’s rhetoric about the hush money trial, throwing doubt on the criminal justice process and questioning the credibility of Michael Cohen, the prosecution’s star witness, hours ahead of the historic criminal trial of the former president.

As the first-ever criminal trial of a sitting or former president is set to begin on Monday morning in New York City, conservative anchors on Fox News jumped to Mr Trump’s defence.

The show tried to cut into Mr Trump’s ex-lawyer Michael Cohen’s credibility, showing side-by-side clips of Trump’s former fixer contradicting himself over the years.

Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to a number of violations, including making false statements, prompting the former president to turn on Cohen, branding him a “liar”.

Fox News legal analyst Gregg Jarrett played into Mr Trump’s accusations. “Cohen was never much of a lawyer,” he said, adding that he believed Cohen was good at “lying prodigiously”.

“I can’t imagine any objective juror believing anything he has to say,” Jarrett added.

He also took issue with the criminal trial as a whole, calling the hush money case an example of “unequal justice and selective prosecution”. He added, “if your name is Trump, then the [criminal justice] process is completely different and turned on its head”.

“This is all obviously political,” another host chimed in.

“This is taking him off the campaign trail,” Fox & Friends co-host Ainsley Earhardt groaned. “They could have done this seven years ago? Why do they wait till now? Questionable… right before the election.”

A guest on the show, Alabama Republican Senator Katie Britt, also commented on how she thought the New York criminal trial was politicised: “This is the left continuing to meltdown over Donald Trump. They are obsessed.” She added, “People are sick of this two-tiered system of justice.”

The show also addressed alleged “jury bias” just ahead of Monday’s jury selection.

Guest Ken Belkin, a New York criminal defence attorney and registered Democrat, said that the defence attorneys should ask potential jurors “if they live in New York City,” saying most people in Mr Trump’s hometown are anti-Trump.

“There is a common sentiment in New York City that he is already a criminal,” despite the fact that he has never been convicted of anything, Mr Belkin said.

The attorney also called the charges brought against Mr Trump “bogus”, before suggesting that the statute of limitations had passed, echoing the argument of Trump’s legal team.

Bright and early on the morning of the trial, Mr Trump made this point, writing: “As virtually every legal scholar has powerfully stated, the Biden Manhattan Witch Hunt Case is, among other things, BARRED by the Statute of Limitations.”

Mr Belkin added that, “any normal grandfather of 77 years old facing a felony would be given a plea deal. But he is facing the possibility of a maximum sentence of four years” in prison.

Despite the mention of his age, Earhardt later pointed out that Mr Trump and President Joe Biden, 81, were walking differently, pairing the statement with a poll showing how many Americans believed Mr Biden was too old to serve as president again. Mr Trump and his supporters have tried to emphasise the three-year age gap between the two leading 2024 candidates.

By contrast, Jason Chaffetz, a Fox News contributor, described Mr Trump as being like “the Energizer Bunny”.

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