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December 12, 2018

Michael Cohen Sentenced to Three Years

A lawyer on Twitter, Robert Barnes I think, commented that if Cohen had important testimony about Trump, he wouldn't have been sentenced to jail. He would have gotten immunity.

There's a lot of hopeful chatter by leftists and their kissing cousins the NeverTrumpers that Cohen has "tapes" of Trump stating, in the sort of way that no one ever directly says, "These payments are for the purpose of influencing a federal election."

Now, if those tapes exist, they have to be authenticated. You can't just introduce a document or tape or picture into court. You need to present a living witness who can authenticate the exhibit and say, "This picture accurately reflects Wilson Street on the day Johnny The Shark was murdered" or whatever. They never do this on tv shows-- the prosecutor just gives the thing to the judge and he accepts it -- but in real court, such documentary evidence need a living witness to testify about how the document was made, why it was made, etc., and most importantly of all, state that the document accurately reflects what was said or what was seen.

You need to lay a foundation that demonstrates that the evidence is what you claim it to be.

Otherwise, a rando could just hand a photoshopped picture to a judge.

My point here is: If there are tapes, the prosecutor still needs Michael Cohen to say, "These tapes fairly and accurately record the conversations I had Trump in [X time frame] and have not been edited or altered."

It's not as if having the tapes means you don't need Cohen.

So if there are tapes -- why is Cohen going to jail?

Do they intend to call their key witness out of prison to have him testify? Will Cohen be willing to testify? (He could invoke the Fifth, remember.) Won't it complicate things to have a key witness authenticating a key audio recording -- the lynchpin of the case, actually -- who's just come from prison for lying and self-dealing?

This just all seems very strange to me, if Cohen has "the goods" on Trump, if he has "the tapes" that will prove Trump's perfidity.

Squeeze Play? A friend comments that it's possible, or even likely, that the prosecutors are hoping the sentence causes Michael Cohen to re-remember things in a way more helpful to their cause, and that he'll admit more, or make up more.

But even if that's true -- that makes the existence of tapes that prove Donald Trump violated a (usually minor) section of the election finance law very doubtful. If tapes of the type the Loonies exist, then Michael Cohen is an absolutely essentially authenticating witness. A star witness.

Yet they say he hasn't provided enough and are still trying to squeeze him with jail time?

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posted by Ace of Spades at 01:02 PM

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