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Trump trial: Cohen faces Trump team grilling over past lies, recollections

The defense questioned Trump's former lawyer on Day 18 of the hush money trial.

Former President Donald Trump is on trial in New York City, where he is facing felony charges related to a 2016 hush money payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels. It marks the first time in history that a former U.S. president has been tried on criminal charges.

Trump last April pleaded not guilty to a 34-count indictment charging him with falsifying business records in connection with a hush money payment his then-attorney Michael Cohen made to Daniels in order to boost his electoral prospects in the 2016 presidential election.


What to know about the hush money case

READ MORE: Here's what you need to know about the historic case.


Trump doesn't address if he will testify

Departing court, former President Trump did not respond to questions from reporters about whether he plans to testify in his own defense.

"I think it was a very interesting day. Fascinating day," Trump said about today's proceedings.

He also commented on the pace of the trial, saying he believes it's being rushed.

"They're trying to rush to get it done before the election, so that they can harm me, so they can hurt their political opponent," Trump claimed. "These trials take forever, but this one, they're rushing it. We're here early in the morning, and we leave in the evening ... it's terrible."

Court will not be in session tomorrow so Trump can attend his son Barron's high school graduation.

-ABC News' Kelsey Walsh and Mike Pappano


No decision yet about Trump testifying

Defense attorney Todd Blanche, asked by Judge Merchan about his schedule, said he expects to be finished with Michael Cohen's cross-examination "before the morning break" when court resumes on Monday.

Prosecutor Susan Hoffinger indicated she has "under an hour" of redirect examination of Cohen.

She also said there would be no additional prosecution witnesses.

The defense said it will know "very soon," possibly today, about the status of the defense case -- including whether Trump himself will take the stand.

If not, the defense case could conclude on Monday, they said.

If Trump does not testify, summations could possibly be scheduled for Tuesday, Judge Merchan said.

“Please be prepared to begin summations on Tuesday,” the judge told the parties.

The proceedings were then ended for the day. Court will not be in session tomorrow, or on Wednesday and Friday next week.


Judge will wait to rule on defense's expert witness

After the jury was dismissed for the day, Judge Merchan heard arguments from the two sides on whether the defense should be allowed to call an expert witness to explain to the jury how to interpret nuances in election law, particularly the phrase "for the purpose of influencing an election."

"We don't think this jury here should be evaluating a FICA violation," defense attorney Emil Bove argued.

Prosecutors objected, saying only the judge should inform the jury what the law is.

There is a "general and widely followed prohibition" against having testimony from witnesses about the law, prosecutor Matthew Colangelo argued, adding that Bove's request "flies directly in the face" of an earlier order issued by Merchan.

"The jury has to be provided instructions one way or another ... about how to apply these principles," Bove argued back.

Merchan said he would think about it over the weekend, but told the defense, "Until you hear differently from me, my ruling has not changed" that their requested testimony would not be permitted.



Defense argues Cohen's lack of retainer agreement was not an issue

After affirming he worked on "The Apprentice" and did personal work for Trump and members of his family, Michael Cohen confirmed he has never had a retainer agreement with Trump or his company.

"In the whole time you worked for the Trump Organization, you never had a retainer agreement?" defense attorney Todd Blanche asked.

"I never had a retainer agreement," Cohen said.

"And you never had a retainer agreement with any of those individuals, did you?" Blanche asked.

"Correct, Cohen answered.

"And the reason why you didn't have a retainer agreement is because you didn't need one?" Blanche asked. "You knew you were going to get paid?"

"Yes," Cohen said.

"You didn't have to worry when you did personal work for Donald Trump Jr. about the retainer agreement because you were getting paid by the Trump Organization, correct?" Blanche said.

"Correct," Cohen replied.

Blanche suggested there was "nothing wrong" with Cohen never having retainer agreement -- including when Cohen submitted invoices for legal work in 2017. At that time in 2017, Cohen was working as a private lawyer for Trump, separate from the Trump Organization.

Prosecutors have argued that Trump falsified records when he paid Cohen for legal services pursuant to a retainer agreement in 2017.

Blanche subsequently concluded his questioning for the day, with Cohen's cross-examination scheduled to continue on Monday.

Cohen did not look at Trump when he exited the courtroom.