Michael Cohen, former attorney and fixer of former President Donald Trump, took the stand on Monday in New York to testify against Trump in his hush money trial.

Expected to testify for several days, Cohen explained his involvement in paying for Stormy Daniels‘s silence about her sexual affair allegations with the former president and a similar hush money deal between David Pecker, publisher of The National Enquirer, and Playboy model Karen McDougal.

Cohen told jurors that upon Trump’s announcement for the presidential bid, Trump warned Cohen to “just be prepared; there’s going to be a lot of women coming forward.”

Cohen explained that Pecker initially warned him about Daniels’s plans to go to the Daily Mail with her story, which Cohen told Trump posed a “catastrophic” threat to his 2016 presidential campaign.

Subscribe to our free weekly newsletter!

A week of political news in your in-box.
We find the news you need to know, so you don't have to.

In response, Cohen testified that Trump said, “Just take care of it. This is a total disaster, a total disaster. Women will hate me. Guys will think it’s cool, but this is going to be a disaster for the campaign.”

Daniels’ allegations emerged during a period where Cohen stated Trump “was polling very poorly with women,” referencing the infamous Access Hollywood tape that showed Trump boasting about groping women.

In response to Daniels’ allegations, which Trump has repeatedly denied, Cohen testified that he paid her the hush money using a home equity line of credit and how Allen Weisselberg, the then chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, told him, “I’ll make sure you get paid back.”

Cohen testified, “I was doing everything that I could and more to protect my boss, which was something I had done for a long time,” but he added that he was expected to be repaid.

With Trump’s hush money trial centering around these payments he made back to Cohen, who was accused of falsifying the records to disguise them as ordinary legal expenses, Cohen serves as the key witness in Trump’s trial.

Cohen also told jurors about conspiring with Trump and tabloid publisher Pecker, using “catch-and-kill deals” which involve buying the rights to stories and withholding them from publication.

Cohen said that Pecker offered to alert Trump about any potentially damaging stories about him so that he could halt their publication. Cohen explained how Pecker paid McDougal to stay silent about the 10-month affair she allegedly had with the former president.

Jurors were played a recording that Cohen had taken of a conversation between himself and Trump about reimbursing Pecker in exchange for McDougal’s story.

Cohen explained that he took the recording “so that I could show it to David Pecker, and that way he would hear the conversation, that he was going to be paying him back.” Cohen added, “I also wanted him to remain loyal to Mr. Trump.”

Pecker additionally ran several negative stories about candidates running against Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign.

In the following days, Trump’s defense attorney, Todd Blanche, will take over Cohen’s questioning, which is expected to highlight Cohen’s admitted history of lying and his previous criminal records.


Read more about:

Get the free uPolitics mobile app for the latest political news and videos

iPhone Android

Leave a comment