On Thursday, May 30, 2024, CNN reported that former President Donald Trump had posted again on social media complaining about Judge Juan Merchan’s refusal to allow a particular defense strategy in the hush money trial.

In messages shared on his Truth Social platform, Trump maintained his argument that the judge was improperly preventing him from employing a “reliance on counsel” defense, also sometimes referred to as an “advice of counsel” defense. Trump said the case represented “THE GREATEST” example of when this defense should apply.

However, as CNN pointed out in a fact check, Trump failed to provide important context regarding why Judge Merchan will not permit this line of argument during the trial proceedings. Namely, Trump’s own lawyers had previously told Merchan that they would not be invoking an official “advice of counsel” defense.

Typically, advice of counsel defense involves waiving attorney-client privilege. But Trump’s legal team informed the judge they instead wanted to suggest the involvement of attorneys in relevant events without waiving privilege or formally labeling it as such a defense. Merchan rejected this proposal back in March, stating it would confuse and mislead the jury.

Last month, when discussing jury instructions, Merchan also denied another effort by the defense to reference the “involvement of counsel.” He noted his stance on the matter had been made clear already. By omitting these crucial details about his own lawyers’ statements and the judge’s prior rulings, observers argued Trump presented a misleading characterization of the situation to his social media followers.



Source: CNN