Trump's Bootlicker Platoon, Led By A Meth-Brewing Hell's Angel

Trump's Bootlicker Platoon, Led By A Meth-Brewing Hell's Angel

Former Hell's Angel Chuck Zito, left, and Trump legal adviser Alan Dershowitz

Photo by Sarah Yenesel/pool via REUTERS

In the Manhattan trial of defendant Donald Trump, the prosecution rested on Monday. The defense rested on Tuesday. Judge Juan Merchan has given the 12 jurors and four alternates the rest of the week off, until the day after Memorial Day next week, when closing arguments will begin.

The final witness for the defense, a New York lawyer by the name of Robert Costello, was called as a witness by Donald Trump himself. How else can you explain what a disaster he was for the defendant’s case? Yesterday, after the judge sustained an objection by the prosecution, Judge Merchan called Costello out for giving him “side eye” and “staring me down.” Merchan scolded Costello for his behavior, telling him, “When there is a witness on the stand, if you don’t like my ruling, you don’t say ‘jeez,’ okay? And then don’t say ‘strike it,’ because I am the only one who can strike testimony in the courtroom.”

Costello then stared at the judge as he continued his testimony, and Merchan erupted: “If you don’t like my rulings, then you don’t give me side-eye and you don’t roll your eyes,” and ordered the courtroom cleared. The jury was present for those exchanges, and for Merchan’s order to clear the court.

Out of the hearing of the jury and the public, Merchan continued to dress down the witness, according to a transcript released yesterday. “I’m putting you on notice that your conduct is contemptuous. If you try to stare me down one more time, I will remove you from the stand.” Merchan then threatened Trump’s attorneys that he would have Costello’s complete testimony stricken from the record if their witness continued to misbehave in court.

Costello faced cross-examination by the prosecution on Tuesday. It did not go well for the defense, which called Costello as a witness pretty much to call Michael Cohen a liar. Cohen, who had already admitted to telling lies several times in his own testimony, could hardly be considered a meaningful target for an allegation by Costello that he had lied. The Trump team had also sought to use Costello to claim he had been Cohen’s attorney, and that Cohen had told him that Trump didn’t have anything to do with the Stormy Daniels payoff. That didn’t go well, either.

Under cross-examination, Costello was confronted with emails he wrote that indicated his real goal was to represent the interests of “the most powerful man on the planet” in his dealings with Cohen back in 2018, around the time Cohen’s apartment, office, and hotel room were searched by the FBI, and he faced charges that he had broken the law in paying money to Stormy Daniels to keep her quiet. One email from Costello to another lawyer said their goal was to keep “Cohen on the right page without giving him the appearance that we are following instructions from Giuliani or the president. In my opinion, this is the clear & correct strategy.”

Costello must have really been happy to hear the name “Giuliani” uttered in court quoting an email he had written. Costello, who has also represented Giuliani and a coterie of Trump-linked scoundrels that includes Steve Bannon, has sued Giuliani for $1.3 million in unpaid legal fees.

The prosecution was happy to use Costello’s own emails to show that he had been part of a Trump strategy to keep Cohen under control after he was indicted in the Stormy Daniels payoff. Costello asserted that Cohen had retained him as a lawyer, but Prosecutor Susan Hoffinger asked Costello directly if Cohen had ever signed the retainer agreement. “No,” answered Costello. “No further questions,” said Hoffinger.

From the defense table, Trump lawyer Todd Blanche called out, “The defense rests.”

Outside the court was a murderer’s row of Trump supporters seeking to be asked questions by the press so they could execute the mandatory bootlicking they were there for. After news emerged that Trump is considering Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to be his potential Attorney General if he is elected, Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick joined the crowd today, along with Boris Epshteyn, who showed up carrying a metal brief case with an “apparent” White House seal on it, according to the New YorkTimes. Also among the bootlicking platoon was former Saturday Night Live comedian Joe Piscopo, former South Carolina Congressman Trey Gowdy, and former Trump White House pill-man Dr. Ronny Jackson.

Also among today’s entourage was a former New York Hells Angel called Chuck Zito, who was convicted of manufacturing and selling methamphetamine, along with his five Hells Angels co-defendants, whose nicknames were “Jerry the Cowboy, Cochise, Anthony Good Humor, Flash, and One Eyed Bert.” Zito served seven years in prison. According to his sentencing memorandum, Zito fulfilled the Hells Angels membership requirement that he “kill or attempt to kill” an enemy of the Hells Angel chapter. “Zito fulfilled this requirement by planting a bomb underneath the automobile of one Robert Giangarra. The bomb exploded, but fortunately Giangarra escaped serious injury. Giangarra was selected by the chapter as Zito’s victim because Giangarra had previously shot and injured a Hells Angels Motorcycle Club member.”

Trump was just lettin’ the MAGA crowd know who his friends are, you understand.

Lucian K. Truscott IV, a graduate of West Point, has had a 50-year career as a journalist, novelist, and screenwriter. He has covered Watergate, the Stonewall riots, and wars in Lebanon, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He is also the author of five bestselling novels. You can subscribe to his daily columns at and follow him on Twitter @LucianKTruscott and on Facebook at Lucian K. Truscott IV.

Please consider subscribing to Lucian Truscott Newsletter, from which this is reprinted with permission.

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