Donald ‘Von S****InPantz’ has now formally been entered into the public record at Trump’s hush-money trial

Donald Trump’s defense attorneys read aloud Michael Cohen’s X rants about the former president in court as he sits listening to himself being called ‘Von S****InPantz’

Amelia Neath,Kelly Rissman
Friday 03 May 2024 13:56 BST
Trump and Cohen discuss hush money ‘catch and kill’ plot

A rather vulgar nickname for Donald Trump has now been formally entered into the public record at the former president’s hush-money trial, after his own defence attorney read out the moniker to the court.

“Von S****InPantz” debuted in court on Thursday after Mr Trump’s legal team complained to New York Justice Juan Merchan that the gag order against their client was unfair.

“Everybody can say anything they want, except for President Trump,” his attorney Todd Blanche explained to the judge.

Mr Blanche then continued to show a series of posts by Michael Cohen, Mr Trump’s former personal attorney, to the courtroom that mocked the former president and labelled him with insulting names.

The attorney read aloud a particular post by Cohen, while Mr Trump sat and listened to the crude mockery of himself at the defence table.

“This one says, oh my, S****InPantz,” Mr Blanche said as he showed a screenshot of the post from 24 April into the court record.

“Keep whining, crying and violating the gag order you petulant defendant,” Mr Blanche continued, quoting Cohen’s X post.

Another of Cohen’s posts on 22 April was shown to the judge, which again recited the same moniker.

Donald Trump and Michael Cohen during a campaign stop in Ohio, 2016
Donald Trump and Michael Cohen during a campaign stop in Ohio, 2016 (Reuters)

The post read: Hey Von S****InPantz…Your attacks of me stink of desperation. We are all hoping that you take the stand in your defense."

Cohen has previously used that nickname to lash out at his former client on his podcast.

The former president’s legal team attempted to defend Mr Trump over his gag order violations, with Mr Blanche accusing Cohen of “inviting and almost daring Trump to respond to everything he’s saying”.

Earlier this week, Judge Juan Merchan fined him $9,000 for repeated violations of the order, which bars him from talking about foreseeable witnesses or staff of the judge or DA’s office.

Hours after Cohen posted a “VonS****InPantz” insult, the lawyer wrote on X that he would stop talking about Mr Trump on the platform or his podcast until after his testimony in the trial is over “out of respect for Judge Merchan and the prosecutors”.

In response to Mr Blanche on Thursday, Judge Merchan said that he did not have the authority to extend a gag order to people like Cohen, as they are not defendants in the case.

However, the judge does have the authority to lift a portion of the gag order removing Cohen from protection.

Former president Donald Trump arrives at Manhattan criminal court before his trial in New York on Thursday
Former president Donald Trump arrives at Manhattan criminal court before his trial in New York on Thursday (AFP or licensors)

Mr Blanche also dished out another defence against his client on Thursday to the judge after President Joe Biden quipped that his election opponent was facing some “stormy weather” at the annual White House Correspondents’ dinner on Saturday night.

However, Judge Merchan wasn’t so convinced.

“You’re saying he can’t respond to what President Biden said?” the judge replied. “There’s nothing in the gag order that says he can’t.”

Cohen is considered a star witness in this historic case – the first in US history to have a former president stand trial.

Mr Trump has pleaded not guilty to 34 counts of falsifying business records related to so-called hush money payments given to adult film star Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 election to cover up her alleged affair with the then-presidential candidate. The payments were labelled as legal fees.

Cohen has previously claimed that he gave Ms Daniels the $130,000 “at the direction” of Mr Trump and was then reimbursed by him.

Although Mr Trump has denied the affair and any wrongdoing, the former president has previously admitted to reimbursing Cohen for the payment.

The former “fixer” pleaded guilty in 2018 to federal charges related to the hush money scheme. He was sentenced to three years in prison – most of which he spent in home confinement. Cohen sought an early end to his supervised release, but last month, a judge rejected it, suggesting that the former attorney had committed perjury. His supervised release is set to end in November.

Alex Woodward contributed reporting from inside Manhattan criminal court

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