Stormy Daniels case: former FEC commissioner alleges judge so restricted his testimony that Trump defense won't ultimately call him

Brad Smith indicated that Merchan would not allow him to explain complex election law while he let Cohen and other witnesses taint the jury with inaccuracies.

One of the witnesses for the defense of former President Donald Trump in the Stormy Daniels case claimedthat the restrictions imposed by Judge Juan Merchán on his testimony led the former president's lawyers to dismiss his presence in court. In a post on X, former Federal Election Commission commissioner Brad Smith claimed that he was prevented from participating to clarify aspects of election law while Cohen and someone else were allowed to confuse jurors with legal vagueness.

"Farces like this trial" against Trump

Smith he harshly criticized the judge, whom he called "partisan," and blasted Biden and the Department of Justice (DOJ) for instrumentalizing institutions for partisan purposes and taking out his main rival for November: "Why do pluralities of Americans see Biden as a greater threat to democracy than Trump? It’s in part because of farces like this trial." According to the expert:

So you’ve got a judge who contributed to Trump’s opponent presiding over a trial by a prosecutor who was elected on a vow to get Trump, for something DOJ and FEC chose not to prosecute, on a far-fetched legal theory I which the prosecution has been allowed to repeatedly misstate the law or elicit incorrect statements of law from witnesses (and unlike Cohen’s, my testimony would not have gone to the ultimate legal issue). The judge’s bias is very evident..

Brad Smith accuses judge and prosecution of having an interest in keeping the jury from knowing what they are judging

The former FEC commissioner further emphasized the importance of jurors knowing something about what they are judging, noting that it is something that does not suit the judge or the prosecutors, who took advantage of the complexity of the rule to spin some of their main accusations: " For example, part of the state’s case is that they wrongly reported what they knew to be a campaign expenditure in order to hide the payment until after the election."

According to Smith, Cohen claimed that Trump's team "just wanted to get past the election." when he allegedly paid Stormy Daniels for her silence. However, if "we were going to go over the reporting schedules, showing that even if they thought it was a campaign expenditure to be reported, an expenditure made on October 27 (when $$ sent to Daniels atty) would not, under law, be reported until Dec. 8, a full 30 days after election," the expert explained.

But the Federal Election Campaign Act is very complex. Even Antonin Scalia—a pretty smart guy, even you hate him—once said “this [campaign finance] law is so intricate that I can’t figure it out. Picture a jury in a product liability case trying to figure out if a complex machine was negligently designed, based only on a boilerplate recitation of the general definition of “negligence.” They’d be lost without knowing technology & industry norms. Someone has to bring that knowledge to the jury. That—not the law—was my intended testimony.