Tue. Jun 18th, 2024

Longtime Trump fixer Michael Cohen testifies. What you missed on Day 16.

By 37ci3 May13,2024

Donald Trump’s longtime advocate and lawyer, Michael Cohen, testified Monday he was acting on Trump’s orders when he made the silent payments Stormy Daniels Before the 2016 presidential elections.

For weeks in New York’s Manhattan criminal trial, Trump’s defense attorneys have tried to undermine Cohen’s credibility before the jury, with even witnesses describing him as hot-headed, self-interested and unreliable.

“I didn’t know that Michael was a particularly philanthropic or selfless person,” former Trump communications aide Hope Hicks said on the stand. Cohen’s former banker said he was appointed because of his “ability to work with difficult individuals.”

But for the first time on the stand, Cohen presented himself as cool, recalling how he worked at Trump’s behest to suppress threatening stories, negotiated with tabloid publisher David Packer and eventually received $130,000 of his own money. porn star – with the promise of compensation.

“You are a billionaire. Just pay,” Cohen told Trump’s friends. “And he told me, ‘Just do it.’ Meet Allen Weisselberg and find out.’”

Cohen and prosecutors have made no secret that they are working hard to prepare him for his testimony — but the real test may come Tuesday when cross-examination by Trump’s attorney is expected to begin.

But first, here’s what you missed on Monday:

Trump v. Cohen

Cohen’s testimony has long been regarded as a major event — a former Trump confidante, closer to him than almost any other ally, has gone above and beyond Trump’s frequent term and agreed to testify against him.

The prosecution spent much of its preparation building up Cohen’s credibility, using documents and reluctant witnesses and some individuals in Trump’s good graces as corroborators.

This was done to make Cohen’s voice more believable.

“What I did was at the direction and for the benefit of Mr. Trump,” Cohen said on the stand. (Trump has been accused of falsifying 34 case documents related to Cohen’s payments. He has denied all charges.)

Trump’s shoulders slumped and his eyes closed as Cohen detailed how he worked hand-in-hand with Packer to “catch and kill” stories and testified about his private conversations with Trump, including the one Cohen mentioned. court.

Cohen offers some sentiments about his time working for Trump

Cohen cut a small figure as he entered the room. As he walked behind the defense table and toward the stand, a court official stood over him. He was looking thinner, his hair was graying and his voice was getting stronger day by day.

Like other witnesses, Cohen’s early career blossomed after he began working for Trump. He was working at a “sleepy” law firm before Trump roped him in for some work on the Chapter 11 reorganization of Trump Entertainment Resorts. When Cohen approached him about a bill for his services, Trump offered him the job and he accepted. The bill was never paid.

Cohen said he enjoys working with a “big family” at the Trump Organization. She said she felt obligated and sometimes lied for him. “All I could think about was completing the task to make him happy,” he said.

Damage control

In early October 2016, after learning Stormi Daniels wanted to sell her story, Cohen said she feared it would have a “disastrous” effect on Trump’s campaign.

The campaign dealt with the aftermath of the attack “Access Hollywood” tape and fear of increased electoral consequences. Cohen said Trump told him it was Trump’s wife Melania’s idea to dismiss the tape as “locker room talk.”

Cohen described the growing concern as a deal to suppress that Daniels’ story was beginning to fall apart.

Trump pushed Cohen to take the deal and then delay the payment until after the election — winning or losing, it doesn’t matter if the story comes out later, as long as he stays quiet during election day. payment.

“Because if I win, it won’t matter and if I lose, I won’t care,” Cohen said Trump told him.

Cohen pays – and then gets angry about his bonus

A recurring theme at the heart of Cohen’s first day of testimony — something prosecutors have so far been unable to show — was that Trump was personally aware of every move paid to both Daniels and former Playboy playmate Karen McDougal.

Cohen said he met with Weisselberg, the Trump Organization’s chief financial officer, to see if they could pay Daniels or the National Enquirer without Trump’s fingerprints on the payment. Weisselberg uncovered various mechanisms to finance the payment, such as golf memberships, but he said the payment needed to be separated from Trump’s, so he devised a plan for Cohen to use his own money to form an outside company and pay for it, Cohen said.

Cohen testified that months later, when he received his annual bonus — a check that had been consistently large over the years — he was shocked to find it was two-thirds less than in previous years.

Add to that the fact that he paid more out of his own pocket to silence Daniels but still hasn’t gotten paid, and Cohen says he’s frustrated.

“I was really insulted, personally hurt,” he said. “After the campaigns at the Trump Organization, as well as $130,000 on his behalf to protect him — showed gratitude. What came back to me was a two-thirds cut of the bonus.

“I should’ve actually done a double take.”

Trump wasn’t worried about hurting his wife

While trying to anticipate the defense’s argument, Cohen was asked if Melania Trump was motivated by the hush money payments.

Cohen testified that he asked Trump about him, “How are things going?”

“Don’t worry,” Trump replied. “How long do you think I’ll be on the market? Not long ago.”

Anticipating women’s stories

Cohen recalled in front of the jury that Trump told him that after he started his campaign, he put women at risk who came out of the woodwork to sell stories about him.

“You know, whenever this comes out,” Trump told her of the presidential announcement, “a lot of women are going to come forward,” Cohen said.

That led to a meeting with Packer at Trump Tower in 2015, Cohen said — an agreement that the Enquirer could make Trump look good as he ran for president.

“It would be helpful if we could post positive stories about Mr. Trump,” Cohen said. “If we can post negative stories about some of the other candidates, that would also be helpful.”

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