Michael Cohen claims Trump told him to pay off Stormy Daniels in key testimony that hinges on ex-con’s credibility

Michael Cohen testified Monday that Donald Trump ordered him to repay porn star Stormy Daniels earlier than the 2016 election to silence a intercourse scandal — in key testimony for the prosecution that hinges on whether or not jurors will consider the convicted felon.

“He stated, ‘Completely. Do it. Handle it.’’ Cohen, 57, recalled Trump telling him after studying that Daniels was purchasing her story round about an alleged tryst with the actual property mogul inside a Lake Tahoe resort room in 2006.

Talking slowly and clearly and sporting a darkish blue go well with and pink tie, the salt-and-pepper haired disbarred lawyer testified in Manhattan Supreme Courtroom that the hush cash payouts to each Daniels and Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal have been performed at Trump’s behest.

Michael Cohen testified that Donald Trump ordered him to repay porn star Stormy Daniels earlier than the 2016 election to silence a intercourse scandal. REUTERS

“What I used to be doing, I used to be doing on the path and for the advantage of Mr. Trump,” he testified about his function within the $150,000 payout in the summertime of 2016 to McDougal, who says she had an affair with Trump for a yr whereas he was married to his spouse Melania.

“Every part required Mr. Trump’s log out,” he testified, including that he let Trump know upfront concerning the Daniels fee as a result of “I wished the cash again.”

After Cohen agreed to pay Daniels $130,000 for the “unique” rights to her story, Trump later allegedly tried to stiff the porn star by stalling the payout till after the 2016 election, Cohen instructed jurors.

However when Daniels and her lawyer threatened to renege on the deal and publish the story elsewhere, a panicked Cohen reached out to his boss once more — and Trump ordered him to pay Daniels, Cohen testified.

“Simply do it,” Cohen recalled his boss saying.

It stays to be seen whether or not jurors will purchase what Cohen is promoting, because the protection will doubtless level out throughout cross-examination later this week that he’s a twice-convicted felon who beforehand admitted mendacity to Congress, in addition to a vocal Trump critic.

“Every part required Mr. Trump’s log out,” he testified, including that he let Trump know upfront concerning the Daniels fee as a result of “I wished the cash again.” AP

Cohen additionally testified Monday that he lied on the outline of the shell firm he set as much as wire the funds to Daniels’ lawyer.

“I’m unsure if they might’ve opened it if it said ‘to repay an grownup movie star for a nondisclosure settlement.’” he quipped.

Sitting simply 20 ft away inside a packed courtroom in decrease Manhattan was Trump, 77, who slouched deep into his chair on the protection desk.

Trump closed his eyes for near an hour straight throughout Cohen’s testimony, along with his eyes staying closed even when he jolted his head ahead a few instances.

He perked up nevertheless simply earlier than listening to himself on a secret recording that Cohen made of Trump discussing the $150,000 McDougal payoff.

The tape in query was first printed in 2018. Such recordings should not unlawful to make in New York as a result of the state solely requires one occasion to a communication to “consent” to a tape.

“So, what will we received to pay for this? One-fifty?” Trump can heard saying on the almost three-minute tape from the Sept. 6, 2016, conversation, performed in court docket by Assistant District Legal professional Susan Hoffinger.

Trump smirked in Cohen’s path and shook his head as his ex-fixer stated the recording was meant to provide assurances to then-Nationwide Enquirer writer David Pecker that Trump would reimburse him for making the McDougal payoff, which he didn’t.

Cohen additionally testified that Trump — in a gathering that befell shortly earlier than his arrival on the White Home — personally permitted his firm’s plan to pay him again for Daniels payoff by paying him a complete of $420,000. That sum, which was paid out over a yr, coated the hush cash payoff, $50,000 for know-how companies, a $60,000 bonus, plus some additional to cowl taxes, paid out over a yr.

Trump later allegedly tried to stiff the porn star by stalling the payout till after the 2016 election, Cohen instructed jurors. POOL/AFP through Getty Photographs

Sure,” Cohen testified, referring to Trump. “He permitted it.”

Trump then turned to Cohen, and stated, “That is going to be one wild heck of a journey in DC,” Cohen testified.

Cohen earlier testified that Trump instructed him that Daniels’ story about Trump dishonest on his spouse Melania could be a “complete catastrophe” if it got here out.

“Ladies will hate me,” Trump admitted, per Cohen.

“Guys might imagine that is cool, however that is going to be a catastrophe for the marketing campaign,” Trump added, based on Cohen.

The presumptive 2024 GOP presidential nominee has pleaded not guilty to 34 counts of falsifying enterprise information for allegedly falsely logging the reimbursements to Cohen for the payoffs as authorized bills on Trump Group information.

Cohen — who shall be again on the stand Tuesday — individually testified towards his former boss at Trump’s New York civil fraud trial, the place the ex-president’s legal professionals took goal at Cohen’s standing as a convicted felon who did jail time partly for a marketing campaign finance crimes responsible plea associated to the Daniels payoff.

He was sentenced in 2018 to three years behind bars however was launched to house confinement after simply over a yr in Might 2020 in an effort to scale back the unfold of COVID in prisons.

Cohen additionally testified that Trump personally permitted his firm’s plan to pay him again for Daniels payoff by paying him a complete of $420,000. REUTERS
Cohen added that Trump instructed him that Daniels’ story about Trump dishonest on his spouse Melania could be a “complete catastrophe” if it got here out. REUTERS

The onetime Trump loyalist additionally testified Monday concerning the good instances working for the actual property mogul, describing his decade-plus stint as Trump’s private lawyer as “superb.”

However Cohen was then requested, “Did you lie for him?”

“I did,” he stated from the stand. “It was what was wanted as a way to accomplish a process.”

“Did you bully individuals for him?” the prosecutor requested.

“All I wished was to make the boss pleased,” Cohen replied.

Further reporting by Priscilla DeGregory


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