Judge Orders Trump Witness to Leave Courtroom


New York Judge Juan Merchan, who is overseeing former President Donald Trump’s business records trial, exploded at a witness over his behavior on Monday and called for the courtroom to be cleared.

Robert Costello, the former lawyer for Michael Cohen, was called to the witness stand by Trump’s defense team and repeatedly became frustrated due to Merchan sustaining several objections from prosecutors, according to Newsweek.

After Merchan had sustained several objections, Costello reportedly was reprimanded, to which he exclaimed, “ridiculous” and “jeez,” under his breath.

Costello reportedly began blowing “raspberries” after several more objections were sustained, according to the outlet.

Prior to Merchan calling for the courtroom to be cleared, he reportedly instructed Costello that he should not say “jeez” in the courtroom or call for it to be struck.

“You don’t say ‘jeez,’ and you don’t say ‘strike it,’ because I’m the only one who can strike … you don’t roll your eyes, do you understand that?” Merchan asked. “Do you understand that? Are you staring me down right now. Clear the courtroom please!”

Newsweek reported that after the courtroom had been cleared, Merchan took the time to “discuss proper decorum”:

“Mr. Costello … I’d like to discuss proper decorum in my courtroom. As a witness on the stand, if you don’t like my ruling, you don’t say ‘jeez!’ and then you don’t say, ‘strike it’ because I’m the only one who can strike testimony in the court. If you don’t like my ruling, you don’t give my side eye or roll your eyes,” Merchan warned the witness.

On May 15, Costello testified before the House Weaponization Committee that Cohen had lied under oath and claimed that Cohen had paid adult entertainment star Stormy Daniels payments that Trump was not involved in.

The Associated Press

Michael Cohen leaves his apartment building on his way to Manhattan criminal court, May 13, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson, File)

Costello said in a written testimony that he advised Cohen to share any “truthful information that would implicate Donald Trump,” so that he could help get him out of “his legal troubles.”

During the trial, Trump’s attorney, Emil Bove, called for Costello to be allowed to provide counter testimony to Cohen’s from the previous week. Cohen had previously testified that Costello had attempted to bribe him with a pardon in order to not incriminate Trump, according to the Washington Examiner.

While Merchan allowed Costello to provide testimony, the testimony was limited.

Elizabeth Weibel
Elizabeth Weibel
Maryland raised. Virginia based.

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