Any relief former President Donald Trump may have felt as a Manhattan grand jury closed out its session without a bill of indictment against the former president may be short-lived as another lawsuit comes back to life that could lead to perjury charges.
According to a report from the Daily Beast's Jose Pagliery and Lachlan Cartwright, the lawsuit stems from accusations that Trump, before he became president, ordered security at Trump Tower to assault demonstrators and that a key witness in the case is Trump's former attorney Michael Cohen.
As the report notes, the case hinges on whether the former president lied during a videotaped deposition.
The lawsuit had been in suspended animation while Trump served as president, and is expected to head back to court in a few weeks with Trump just now discovering Cohen will be called to explain what he knows about what happened that day.
According to the Beast's report, the Trump Organization hid the fact that Cohen was in the room.
In a court filing last Tuesday, attorney Benjamin N. Dictor wrote, "The Trump Organization 'would have been aware that Mr. Cohen had relevant information and was a potential witness for nearly seven years before he came forward to [us] on his own'," adding, the company "failed to disclose this or identify Mr. Cohen as a person with relevant information at any point.”
The report states that both sides will have a chance to question Cohen in the next few weeks and that he has refused to comment on what he has to offer, with the Beast report stating, "Cohen remembers being in Trump’s office in his New York City office skyscraper on Sept. 3, 2015 when Schiller let him know that angry protesters had gathered downstairs on Fifth Avenue. They were calling attention to the racist remarks Trump made when he announced his ultimately successful presidential campaign that summer—the speech where he infamously described Mexican migrants like this: 'They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people'."
According to Dictor, Cohen revealed that Trump told his head of security to "get rid" of them, which the former president subsequently denied when asked under oath in 2021, "At any time on September 3, 2015, did you direct Keith Schiller to use any force against any of the protesters outside Trump Tower?” to which he replied, "No, I didn't."
Pressed, "At any time on September 3, 2015, did you direct Keith Schiller to do anything?” Trump replied, "No."
The Beast report adds, "Lying during a sworn deposition would normally expose someone to potential perjury criminal charges. But former prosecutors told The Daily Beast that would be tricky in New York, where Penal Law § 210.50 says 'falsity of a statement may not be established by the uncorroborated testimony of a single witness."
That roadblock could be surmounted by prosecutors if they can convince Schiller to confirm Cohen's account by offering him immunity in the suit --laying the blame for the attack back on Trump.
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