Key Witness Again Describes Trump’s Deceit Before Being Attacked by Defense Attorneys

May 14, 2024 by Tom Ramstack
Key Witness Again Describes Trump’s Deceit Before Being Attacked by Defense Attorneys
Michael Cohen leaves his apartment building on his way to Manhattan criminal court in New York, Tuesday, May 14, 2024. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

NEW YORK — The prosecution’s key witness continued to chip away Tuesday in a New York court at former President Donald Trump’s claims of innocence from allegations he paid hush money to two women and falsified business documents to cover it up.

Michael Cohen later remained calm as Trump’s lead defense attorney launched into a tough cross-examination intended to undercut his credibility.

Cohen was Trump’s personal attorney when he said the former president asked him to orchestrate behind-the-scenes payments to two women who say they had sex with Trump.

He discussed during his testimony his phone calls and meetings with Trump to arrange the payoffs and cover-up. 

“I was sitting with President Trump and he asked if I was okay,” Cohen said about one meeting in the White House Oval Office. “He asked me if I needed money.”

Cohen said he received monthly fees of $35,000, part of which he used to pay off former adult film actress Stormy Daniels.

Trump listed the fees as “legal expenses” in business ledgers but omitted information indicating they were used for hush money.

Both Daniels and a second female accuser, Playboy model Karen McDougal, signed nondisclosure agreements arranged by Cohen. Daniels said she and her attorney were paid $130,000 in exchange. McDougal was allegedly paid $150,000.

Trump denies sexual relations with the women, hush money payments or a cover-up. He has pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records.

Cohen said he hid the nature of the payments by submitting invoices for $35,000 a month to the former president’s business enterprise, called the Trump Organization.

He backed up his allegations with copies of two checks for $35,000 made out to him and signed by Trump.

Trump’s attorneys have tried to show he sometimes signed checks for his multi-billion dollar real estate enterprise without carefully examining them. They might have included the $35,000 monthly fees to Cohen, according to a Trump Organization clerical worker who testified previously.

Cohen and other business associates of Trump described him as a micro-manager who rarely overlooked how his corporate enterprises were managed or funded.

Cohen said he was paid a total of $420,000 through the monthly checks from Trump for about a year. After paying off Daniels, Cohen said he kept the remaining funds.

He said he further hid the payments by depositing the checks in his personal bank account then transferring the hush money to the attorney for Daniels on checks he signed.

When asked about the payment scheme during a congressional investigation, as well as about Trump’s secretive business deals in Russia, Cohen admitted that he lied to advance the cover-up. Asked by a prosecutor why he lied, he said, “in order to protect Mr. Trump.”

He also admitted lying to the news media, a banker and on his tax returns.

He pleaded guilty in 2018 to campaign finance violations, lying to Congress, tax evasion and other crimes. He now is disbarred as an attorney.

He was sentenced to three years but was freed early from prison in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He remains on supervised release.

Cohen’s admissions of lying and anger toward Trump appeared to be cornerstones of the defense team’s cross-examination.

He confirmed that some of his statements to Congress about Trump were “deceptive.”

“Yes, the information that I gave was not accurate,” Cohen said.

Defense attorney Todd Blanche pointed out social media posts by Cohen intended to show his personal animosity toward Trump.

“You referred to President Trump as a dictator douche bag, didn’t you?” Blanche asked.

“Sounds like something I said,” Cohen answered.

Blanche asked Cohen if he posted that Trump belongs in a “little cage … like a f—— animal.”

“I recall saying that,” Cohen said.

Cohen said in response to a question from Blanche that he would like to see Trump convicted.

Trump still is required to abstain from criticizing witnesses, jurors or court staff under a gag order Judge Juan Merchan issued in March. He lost an appeal of the gag order’s restrictions Tuesday before the New York Court of Appeals.

As he left the court Tuesday afternoon, he said, “I think it was a very good day.”

He added, “All over the world they’re watching this trial and they’re seeing what a disgrace this is.”

You can reach us at [email protected] and follow us on Facebook and X.

A+
a-
  • cross-examination
  • Donald Trump
  • hush money
  • Michael Cohen
  • In The News

    Health

    Voting

    Law

    May 17, 2024
    by Tom Ramstack
    Justice Dept. Plans Reclassification of Cannabis to Less Dangerous Drug

    WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Thursday announced a recommendation for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to relax restrictions on... Read More

    WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Thursday announced a recommendation for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to relax restrictions on cannabis. "This is monumental," Biden said in a video announcement. "Today, my administration took a major step to reclassify [cannabis] from a Schedule 1 drug to... Read More

    May 16, 2024
    by Dan McCue
    Justices Hold Consumer Protection Agency’s Funding Is Constitutional

    WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a constitutional challenge to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, ruling the mechanism... Read More

    WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a constitutional challenge to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, ruling the mechanism used to fund the agency does not violate the appropriations clause. The decision, by a 7-2 vote, ended what many considered the most dangerous legal challenge... Read More

    May 16, 2024
    by Tom Ramstack
    Trump’s Attorneys Portray Star Witness as Liar Trying to Get Revenge

    NEW YORK — Defense attorneys for former President Donald Trump hammered away at the prosecution’s star witness Thursday in a... Read More

    NEW YORK — Defense attorneys for former President Donald Trump hammered away at the prosecution’s star witness Thursday in a New York court by portraying him as a persistent liar. Michael Cohen admitted lying on previous occasions while working as the personal attorney for Trump. He... Read More

    May 15, 2024
    by Tom Ramstack
    Trump Advisor Faces Deadline to Explain Why He Should Avoid Jail

    WASHINGTON — Former Trump administration advisor Steve Bannon has until Thursday to explain to a federal judge in Washington, D.C.,... Read More

    WASHINGTON — Former Trump administration advisor Steve Bannon has until Thursday to explain to a federal judge in Washington, D.C., why he should remain out of jail while he appeals his criminal conviction. Federal prosecutors this week asked U.S. District Court Judge Carl Nichols to compel... Read More

    70 Years Ago, School Integration was a Dream Many Believed Could Actually Happen. It Hasn't.

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Seventy years ago this week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled separating children in schools by race was... Read More

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Seventy years ago this week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled separating children in schools by race was unconstitutional. On paper, that decision — the fabled Brown v. Board of Education, taught in most every American classroom — still stands. But for decades, American schools... Read More

    May 14, 2024
    by Tom Ramstack
    Key Witness Again Describes Trump’s Deceit Before Being Attacked by Defense Attorneys

    NEW YORK — The prosecution’s key witness continued to chip away Tuesday in a New York court at former President... Read More

    NEW YORK — The prosecution’s key witness continued to chip away Tuesday in a New York court at former President Donald Trump’s claims of innocence from allegations he paid hush money to two women and falsified business documents to cover it up. Michael Cohen later remained... Read More

    News From The Well
    scroll top