Court Admits 'Access Hollywood' Tape as Evidence in Trump Case

Key witness set to speak in high-profile trial.

by Zain ul Abedin
Court Admits 'Access Hollywood' Tape as Evidence in Trump Case
© Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

In a pivotal decision surrounding former President Donald Trump's criminal prosecution in New York, the presiding Judge Juan Merchan has reached a verdict regarding the inclusion of evidence that has been a subject of considerable debate.

Despite Trump's legal team's efforts to omit evidence tied to the Access Hollywood tape and testimony from key figures, Judge Merchan has ruled against their motion. However, in a partial concession to the defense, the infamous tape, where Trump is heard making derogatory comments about women, will not be played to jurors directly.

The defense had particularly targeted Michael Cohen, Trump's ex-attorney, arguing his history of dishonesty should preclude his testimony, fearing it might be tantamount to endorsing perjury. However, Judge Merchan, dismissing these concerns, stated, “This Court has found no legal basis that would justify barring a witness on the grounds of previous credibility issues”.

Stormy Daniels Testifies

Additionally, Stormy Daniels, the adult film actress at the heart of the controversy over a $130,000 hush payment, has been greenlit to testify. Judge Merchan underscored the relevance of her testimony, highlighting the significant probative value it brings to the case.

While the "Access Hollywood" tape itself won't be showcased to the jury, its contents are not entirely off-limits. Testimonies regarding the tape, and its potential repercussions on Trump's presidential campaign, are permissible.

This approach aims to underline the defendant's motive behind the alleged hush payment to Daniels, thus shedding light on Trump's intent and possible efforts to obscure the truth. Trump faces 34 felony charges of falsifying business records, following a Manhattan grand jury indictment.

The prosecution accuses Trump of orchestrating a "scheme" to clandestinely enhance his electoral prospects in 2016. This alleged scheme involved undisclosed payments and the manipulation of business records to hide these transactions.

In the wake of the indictment, documents unveiled on April 4 detail allegations of Trump compensating his lawyer for a payment made to silence allegations, thus engaging in purported criminal behavior. Trump has consistently denied any wrongdoing, pleading not guilty to all charges.

As the legal proceedings unfold, the trial, initially slated for the near future, has been postponed until at least mid-April, marking the next chapter in this high-profile case.