Fri. May 24th, 2024

Another gag order ruling and details on how Michael Cohen was paid

By 37ci3 May7,2024

Two new witnesses took a position In the 12th day of Donald Trump’s silence trial on Monday, the judge overseeing the case again referred to the former president. violates traffic rules applied last month.

Before the court testimony, Judge Juan Merchan found that Trump had violated an order barring him from assaulting witnesses and others involved in the case. Trump was fined $1,000 and warned that he could be jailed “if necessary” for further violations.

When testimony resumed, the former Trump Organization executive and first current employee explained how many of the large sums that went to Michael Cohen for hush money payments came directly from Trump’s bank account.

Trump has been indicted on 34 counts of falsifying business records, which Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said the former president engaged in to hide hush money payments to elderly film actor Stormy Daniels in the final days of the 2016 presidential campaign. Trump pleaded not guilty to all charges. She also denied having a relationship with Daniels.

The judge threatened to arrest Trump

Merchan began the fourth week of the trial by fining Trump, who was fined $9,000 last week for nine previous traffic violations, $1,000.

“It appears that $1,000 fines are not acting as a deterrent,” Merchan said in making the decision.

“The last thing I want to do is throw you in jail. You are the former president of the United States and maybe the next president,” Merchan said. “There are many reasons why incarceration is really a last resort for you.”

The judge acknowledged the scale of Trump’s arrest and how “disruptive it would be.” “But at the end of the day, I have a job to do,” he said. “As much as I don’t want to offer a prison sentence… If necessary, I will.”

Trump sat and listened in silence, showing little of the defiance he showed outside the courtroom, where he was quick to criticize Mercha’s verdict.

“Frankly, our Constitution is more important than prison,” Trump said, adding that he did not intend to remain silent despite the judge’s warnings. “I’ll make that choice any day.”

Trump’s lawyers have argued that the critical statements by Cohen, who is expected to testify in the case, mean Trump can respond. Trump’s lawyer Todd Blanch said that he should be able to defend himself as a presidential candidate.

How the checks got to Cohen

Two witnesses who attended Monday’s meeting explained the mechanism behind the $130,000 payment to Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer and “cleaner,” Daniels.

Jeffrey McConney, a former Trump Organization supervisor, said he had “minimal” contact with Cohen during his time at the company, but that the company’s former chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, asked him to send money to Cohen in early 2017. In previous months, Cohen had taken out a home equity line of credit to buy the story of Daniels, who claimed she had sex with Trump in 2006.

During Trump’s first year as president, Cohen was paid through 11 checks included as part of a “retainer agreement” to Cohen for acting as Trump’s attorney and listed as “legal fees” in Trump Organization records, according to Monday’s testimony. Asked what Cohen’s position at the Trump Organization was, McConney said at one point: “He said he was a lawyer.”

McConney testified that $130,000 would cover the Daniels fee and $50,000 would cover the technology services fee. Records showed Weisselberg wrote that the payment was to be “advanced” to pay New York City taxes.

The charges against Trump relate to three types of records: invoices; checks and check stubs; and ledger entries for Trump’s personal bank account and the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust.

On the stand, McConney confirmed the invoices showing the payments to Cohen and described them as allegedly falsely billed as legal services.

Deborah Tarasoff, an accounts payable supervisor who worked with McConney at the Trump Organization, took the stand after her former colleague and approved every check and check stub as well as the general ledger entry. He then linked them to the corresponding invoice.

The Trump Organization is a “family business,” said Tarasoff, a 24-year veteran of the firm and the first current employee of the Trump Organization.

A check from the alleged scheme was shown in court for the first time: a $70,000 payment to Cohen for January and February 2017. One payment was signed by Eric Trump and the other by Weisselberg. The payments were described as retainers with a March payment and were issued by a Revocable Trust. Later, the payments came from the former president’s personal bank account.

Weisselberg, McConney, Donald Trump and the law department were given the authority to approve the spending. Tarasoff said more than $10,000 was approved by Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr. or Eric Trump.

The check will be attached to the invoice and delivered to Trump’s longtime executive assistant. Rhona GraffFor Trump’s signature.

Tarasoff said only Trump himself can sign off on the payment from his personal account, and his signature is the final and final approval. If Trump didn’t want to sign the check, he didn’t have to. Instead, he would simply write “BLANK” in black Sharpie and send it back, Tarasoff said.

The final amount of the payments to Cohen reached $420,000 and included not only the alleged hush money compensations, but also Cohen’s annual bonus and additional funds to cover taxes on the amounts.

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By 37ci3

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