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

Michael Cohen testified Monday that Donald Trump ordered him to pay off 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 said, ‘Absolutely. Do it. Take care of it.’’ Cohen, 57, recalled Trump telling him after learning that Daniels was shopping her story around about an alleged tryst with the real estate mogul inside a Lake Tahoe hotel room in 2006.

Speaking slowly and clearly and wearing a dark blue suit and pink tie, the salt-and-pepper haired disbarred attorney testified in Manhattan Supreme Court that the hush money payouts to both Daniels and Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal were done at Trump’s behest.

Michael Cohen testified Monday that Donald Trump
Michael Cohen testified that Donald Trump ordered him to pay off porn star Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election to silence a sex scandal. REUTERS

“What I was doing, I was doing at the direction and for the benefit of Mr. Trump,” he testified about his position in the $150,000 payout in the summer time of 2016 to McDougal, who says she had an affair with Trump for a 12 months whereas he was married to his spouse Melania.

“Everything required Mr. Trump’s sign off,” he testified, including that he let Trump know in advance in regards to the Daniels cost as a result of “I wanted the money back.”

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

But 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.

“Just 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 possible 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.

Michael Cohen
“Everything required Mr. Trump’s sign off,” he testified, including that he let Trump know in advance in regards to the Daniels cost as a result of “I wanted the money back.” AP

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

“I’m not sure if they would’ve opened it if it stated ‘to pay off an adult film star for a nondisclosure agreement.’” he quipped.

Sitting simply 20 toes 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 shut to 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 nonetheless simply earlier than listening to himself on a secret recording that Cohen fabricated from Trump discussing the $150,000 McDougal payoff.

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

“So, what do we got to pay for this? One-fifty?” Trump can heard saying on the practically three-minute tape from the Sept. 6, 2016, dialog, performed in court docket by Assistant District Attorney Susan Hoffinger.

Trump smirked in Cohen’s path and shook his head as his ex-fixer stated the recording was meant to give assurances to then-National 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 occurred shortly earlier than his arrival on the White House — 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 12 months, 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 12 months.

DONALD TRUMP
Trump later allegedly tried to stiff the porn star by stalling the payout till after the 2016 election, Cohen told jurors. POOL/AFP by way of Getty Images

Yes,” Cohen testified, referring to Trump. “He approved it.”

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

Cohen earlier testified that Trump told him that Daniels’ story about Trump dishonest on his spouse Melania can be a “total disaster” if it got here out.

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

“Guys may think this is cool, but this is going to be a disaster for the campaign,” Trump added, in accordance to Cohen.

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

Cohen — who will probably 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 purpose at Cohen’s standing as a convicted felon who did jail time in half 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 residence confinement after simply over a 12 months in May 2020 in an effort to scale back the unfold of COVID in prisons.

Michael Cohen
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
Michael Cohen
Cohen added that Trump told him that Daniels’ story about Trump dishonest on his spouse Melania can be a “total disaster” if it got here out. REUTERS

The onetime Trump loyalist additionally testified Monday in regards to the good instances working for the actual property mogul, describing his decade-plus stint as Trump’s private legal professional as “amazing.”

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

“I did,” he stated from the stand. “It was what was needed in order to accomplish a task.”

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

“All I wanted was to make the boss happy,” Cohen replied.

Additional reporting by Priscilla DeGregory

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