Scott, Vance and other Republican­s attack Cohen and judge in Trump’s trial

- Sudiksha Kochi, Bart Jansen and Aysha Bagchi Contributi­ng: David Jackson, Kinsey Crowley

A bevy of former President Donald Trump’s high-profile allies have flocked to the Manhattan courthouse where he is on trial on accusation­s of falsifying business records to cover up a hush money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels.

The Republican heavyweigh­ts, including several possible running mates for the presumptiv­e presidenti­al nominee, have vocally defended Trump outside the courtroom including by saying things he himself is barred from saying by a gag order.

Last week, after explosive testimony from Daniels on her alleged sexual encounter with Trump, Sen. Rick Scott, RFla., told reporters outside the courthouse that what the former president is going through is “despicable.”

“It’s a crime in this country to use the court system to go after your political opponents,” Scott said. “What is happening in this courtroom is clearly criminal.”

This week, as former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen took the stand to describe how Trump allegedly authorized the hush money , Sen. J.D. Vance, ROhio, called the trial a “threat to American democracy.”

“I just want to live in a reasonable country where we try to persuade voters in our politics. We don’t try to throw our political opponents in jail. This is a disgrace and I wanted to show some support for my friend,” he said.

But with Trump facing a gag order to prevent possible intimidati­on of witnesses and jurors, his Republican allies have also gone after key witnesses and the judge’s relatives on Trump’s behalf.

What is the gag order imposed by Judge Juan Merchan?

Judge Juan Merchan imposed a gag order against Trump in March, prohibitin­g him from publicly commenting on the participat­ion of potential witnesses or jurors in the trial.

The order also barred Trump from publicly commenting on court staff and prosecutio­n lawyers − other than Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg − if the comments are meant to significan­tly interfere with their work in the case.

Merchan extended that protection to the family members of staff and lawyers as well, and he blocked Trump from making any public comments about prospectiv­e and actual jurors after Trump attacked Merchan’s daughter for consulting for Democratic campaigns.

This month, Merchan ruled Trump violated the gag order 10 times with comments on witnesses such as calling Cohen and Daniels “sleazebags” and fined him $10,000 – and threatened him with jail for future violations.

Trump’s allies attack witnesses, judge’s daughter at courthouse

With the gag order in place, Trump’s allies have attacked key witnesses.

“Does any reasonable, sensible person believe anything that Michael Cohen says?” Vance asked reporters outside the courtroom Monday.

“I don’t think that they should. I actually think his testimony is going to hurt with any reasonable juror, and hopefully we have a few of those.”

House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., questioned Cohen’s credibilit­y after attending the trial Tuesday.

“This is a man who is clearly on a mission for personal revenge and who is widely known as a witness who has trouble with the truth,” Johnson said. “He has a history of perjury and is well known for it.

“No one should believe a word he says today.”

Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala, who attended the trial with Vance, said Cohen is “giving an acting scene” in the courtroom.

“How can you be convinced by somebody that is a serial liar? There should be no reason anybody should listen to this guy,” he said.

Rep. Cory Mills, R-Fla., also criticized Cohen as a convicted liar on Tuesday. Cohen has been convicted of several felonies, including lying to Congress in an effort to protect Trump.

“Michael Cohen has no credibilit­y, no integrity,” Mills said outside the courthouse. “This is weaponizat­ion against our president.”

Republican­s also attacked the judge’s daughter, who is the head of a digital marketing agency that works with Democratic candidates and nonprofits. The New York State Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics cleared Merchan to preside over the trial.

“The judge inside, his daughter is making millions of dollars running against Donald Trump, raising money for Donald Trump’s political opponents,” Vance said Monday.

“It’s so corrupt and everyone knows it,” Johnson said Tuesday, referring to the judge’s daughter working for Democrats.

Vivek Ramaswamy, a businessma­n who ran against Trump in the Republican presidenti­al primary and now supports him, said Tuesday: “This is some third-rate banana republic.”

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