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Michael Cohen hush-money trial testimony: day two at a glance Michael Cohen testimony: Trump’s hush-money trial day 18
(2 days later)
Catch up on latest news out of Donald Trump’s criminal trial for hush-money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels Trump’s former fixer will return to stand to be cross-examined by ex-president’s lawyers in his historic criminal trial
Donald Trump is the first US president to be tried on criminal charges – and could face prison if convicted. Trump allegedly falsified the financial transaction behind the $130,000 hush-money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels. He denies 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in spring 2023.Donald Trump is the first US president to be tried on criminal charges – and could face prison if convicted. Trump allegedly falsified the financial transaction behind the $130,000 hush-money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels. He denies 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in spring 2023.
Here’s what you need to know about the case and what’s happening today:Here’s what you need to know about the case and what’s happening today:
14 May: what happened today 16 May: what’s happening today
Donald Trump’s ex-lawyer Michael Cohen returned to the stand on Tuesday as the prosecution’s star witness in the former president’s hush-money criminal trial. Michael Cohen, once one of Donald Trump’s most loyal lieutenants and enforcers, will return to the stand this morning to be cross-examined by the former president’s lawyers in his historic criminal trial. He is the the star witness in the case against Trump.
Trump was joined by a coterie of supporters on Tuesday, including the Republican House speaker, Mike Johnson, despite the House being in session with vital business to complete. Johnson said he was making the appearance “on my own, to support President Trump”, who he said “is innocent of these charges”. Earlier in the week, Cohen testified that Trump instructed him just weeks before the 2016 presidential election to bury Stormy Daniels’s account of an alleged sexual liaison, demanding that he “just take care of it”.
Also there were the Republican governor of North Dakota, Doug Burgum, Florida congressmen Byron Donalds and Cory Mills, and Vivek Ramaswamy, a biotech entrepreneur who ran for the Republican presidential nomination. Cohen is core to the case against Trump, because prosecutors allege that the former president cast reimbursement for a $130,000 hush-money payment to Daniels as legal expenses for Cohen, constituting falsification of business records.
Cohen testified that he submitted phoney invoices for legal services to cover up reimbursements for a $130,000 hush-money payment to the adult film actor Stormy Daniels on Trump’s behalf. Cohen and Trump’s relationship soured after Trump won the US presidential election in 2016 and did not offer Cohen a role in his administration.
Cohen repeatedly identified Trump as the driver of the Daniels payoff scheme and said he did it to protect Trump from losing the 2016 election. Cohen said he got the money to Daniels “to ensure that the story would not affect Mr Trump’s chances of becoming president”. The entire hush-money case is likely to succeed or fail on whether jurors believe Cohen’s account, or the defense claims that he is an “admitted liar” motivated by publicity and attention.
Cohen said repayments began shortly after an 8 February 2017 meeting with Trump in the Oval Office, where he said Trump “asked me if I needed money” and told him “just make sure you deal with Allen” Weisselberg, then the Trump Organization’s CFO, who was recently jailed for lying at his former boss’s civil fraud trial. Court is scheduled to begin at 9.30am ET and end at 4pm today.
Cohen testified that invoices for $35,000 each month to the then Trump Organization controller, Jeffrey McConney, were false records and not for legal services. Cohen said it was for “the reimbursement, to me, of the hush-money fee along with [another expense] and the bonus”. Michael Cohen, once one of Donald Trump’s most loyal lieutenants and enforcers, will return to the stand this morning to be cross-examined by the former president’s lawyers in his historic criminal trial. He is the the star witness in the case against Trump.
Cohen said descriptions in emails, invoices and pay documents were all false. Cohen’s testimony appeared to make clear that the invoices were not for legal services, either as Trump’s personal counsel, or for Trump’s wife, Melania. Earlier in the week, Cohen testified that Trump instructed him just weeks before the 2016 presidential election to bury Stormy Daniels’s account of an alleged sexual liaison, demanding that he “just take care of it”.
Cohen detailed how he tried to mislead federal investigators about the Daniels payment in the wake of news articles detailing the transaction and his public admission that he, not Trump, did the deal. He said it was designed “in order to protect Mr Trump, to stay on message, in order to demonstrate loyalty”. Cohen is core to the case against Trump, because prosecutors allege that the former president cast reimbursement for a $130,000 hush-money payment to Daniels as legal expenses for Cohen, constituting falsification of business records.
Cohen also admitted lying to Congress during an investigation into potential ties between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign. “I was staying on Mr Trump’s message that there was no Russia, Russia, Russia,” he told the jury. Cohen and Trump’s relationship soured after Trump won the US presidential election in 2016 and did not offer Cohen a role in his administration.
Cohen expressed regret for the “lying, bullying” that he had done on Trump’s behalf, adding that he had “violated my moral compass”. He said his family persuaded him to stop protecting Trump. The entire hush-money case is likely to succeed or fail on whether jurors believe Cohen’s account, or the defense claims that he is an “admitted liar” motivated by publicity and attention.
Under cross-examination, Cohen’s credibility was attacked as Trump’s attorney Todd Blanche, who brought up his many social media comments bashing the former president, as well as attempting to show Cohen is motivated by publicity. Court is scheduled to begin at 9.30am ET and end at 4pm today.
Cohen admitted he would like to see Trump convicted. “It sounds like something I would say,” he responded to Trump attorney Blanche.
Court will resume on Thursday.
Donald Trump’s ex-lawyer Michael Cohen returned to the stand on Tuesday as the prosecution’s star witness in the former president’s hush-money criminal trial.
Trump was joined by a coterie of supporters on Tuesday, including the Republican House speaker, Mike Johnson, despite the House being in session with vital business to complete. Johnson said he was making the appearance “on my own, to support President Trump”, who he said “is innocent of these charges”.
Also there were the Republican governor of North Dakota, Doug Burgum, Florida congressmen Byron Donalds and Cory Mills, and Vivek Ramaswamy, a biotech entrepreneur who ran for the Republican presidential nomination.
Cohen testified that he submitted phoney invoices for legal services to cover up reimbursements for a $130,000 hush-money payment to the adult film actor Stormy Daniels on Trump’s behalf.
Cohen repeatedly identified Trump as the driver of the Daniels payoff scheme – and said he did it to protect Trump from losing the 2016 election. Cohen said he got the money to Daniels “to ensure that the story … would not affect Mr Trump’s chances of becoming president”.
Cohen said repayments began shortly after an 8 February 2017 meeting with Trump in the Oval Office, where he said Trump “asked me if I needed money” and told him “just make sure you deal with Allen” Weisselberg, then the Trump Organization’s CFO, who was recently jailed for lying at his former boss’s civil fraud trial.
Cohen testified that invoices for $35,000 each month to the then Trump Organization controller, Jeffrey McConney, were false records and not for legal services. Cohen said it was for “the reimbursement, to me, of the hush-money fee along with [another expense] and the bonus”.
Cohen said descriptions in emails, invoices and pay documents were all false. Cohen’s testimony appeared to make clear that the invoices were not for legal services, either as Trump’s personal counsel, or for Trump’s wife, Melania.
Cohen detailed how he tried to mislead federal investigators about the Daniels payment in the wake of news articles detailing the transaction – and his public admission that he, not Trump, did the deal. He said it was designed “in order to protect Mr Trump, to stay on message, in order to demonstrate loyalty”.
Cohen also admitted lying to Congress during an investigation into potential ties between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign. “I was staying on Mr Trump’s message that there was no Russia, Russia, Russia,” he told the jury.
Cohen expressed regret for the “lying, bullying” that he had done on Trump’s behalf, adding that he had “violated my moral compass”. He said his family persuaded him to stop protecting Trump.
Under cross-examination, Cohen’s credibility was attacked as Trump’s attorney Todd Blanche, who brought up his many social media comments bashing the former president, as well as attempting to show Cohen is motivated by publicity.
Cohen admitted he would like to see Trump convicted. “It sounds like something I would say,” he responded to Trump attorney Blanche.
Court will resume on Thursday.
Key characters and factsKey characters and facts
Trump hush-money trial status: Trump pleaded not guilty; the trial began on 15 April 2024.Trump hush-money trial status: Trump pleaded not guilty; the trial began on 15 April 2024.
Charges: 34 felony charges of falsifying business records.Charges: 34 felony charges of falsifying business records.
Hush-money case summary: The case involves a hush-money scheme during the 2016 presidential election. Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen paid $130,000 to the adult film star Stormy Daniels to quash her story about having an extramarital affair with the former president. Trump has denied the affair took place. Prosecutors accuse the former president of illegally reimbursing Cohen for the hush-money payment by falsely classifying the transaction, executed by the Trump Organization, as legal expenses.Hush-money case summary: The case involves a hush-money scheme during the 2016 presidential election. Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen paid $130,000 to the adult film star Stormy Daniels to quash her story about having an extramarital affair with the former president. Trump has denied the affair took place. Prosecutors accuse the former president of illegally reimbursing Cohen for the hush-money payment by falsely classifying the transaction, executed by the Trump Organization, as legal expenses.
Verdict before election? Likely.Verdict before election? Likely.
Sign up to Trump on TrialSign up to Trump on Trial
Stay up to date on all of Donald Trump’s trials. Guardian staff will send weekly updates each Wednesday – as well as bonus editions on major trial days.Stay up to date on all of Donald Trump’s trials. Guardian staff will send weekly updates each Wednesday – as well as bonus editions on major trial days.
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Key moments in the trial so farKey moments in the trial so far
14 May: Michael Cohen, the star witness in hush-money trial walked through key elements of the case as defense lawyers sought to undermine his credibility.
13 May: Michael Cohen testifies that Trump was intimately involved in hush-money deal and received real-time updates on Stormy Daniels.13 May: Michael Cohen testifies that Trump was intimately involved in hush-money deal and received real-time updates on Stormy Daniels.
10 May: Trump appeared frustrated in court while possible Cohen testimony looms.10 May: Trump appeared frustrated in court while possible Cohen testimony looms.
9 May: Trump attorneys sought to cast doubt on the account of alleged tryst – but Stormy Daniels refused to concede any inconsistencies.9 May: Trump attorneys sought to cast doubt on the account of alleged tryst – but Stormy Daniels refused to concede any inconsistencies.
7 May: Stormy Daniels undercut some of Trump’s defenses as his lawyer suggested Daniels has a propensity to embellish.7 May: Stormy Daniels undercut some of Trump’s defenses as his lawyer suggested Daniels has a propensity to embellish.
6 May: prosecutors moved on to the alleged falsification of business records to cover up hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels, after previously calling witnesses who described a conspiracy to kill the story.6 May: prosecutors moved on to the alleged falsification of business records to cover up hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels, after previously calling witnesses who described a conspiracy to kill the story.
3 May: Hope Hicks took the stand, describing 2016 Trump campaign staffers’ panic when a recording emerged in which Trump bragged about groping women and the former president’s complete control over the campaign.3 May: Hope Hicks took the stand, describing 2016 Trump campaign staffers’ panic when a recording emerged in which Trump bragged about groping women and the former president’s complete control over the campaign.
2 May: Keith Davidson, a lawyer who negotiated payments, testified.2 May: Keith Davidson, a lawyer who negotiated payments, testified.
30 April: Trump fined $9,000 over gag order violations as judge warns of jail time.30 April: Trump fined $9,000 over gag order violations as judge warns of jail time.
26 April: Pecker’s testimony presented a granular look into a hush-money scheme that prosecutors allege was meant to sway the 2016 election in the real estate mogul’s favor.26 April: Pecker’s testimony presented a granular look into a hush-money scheme that prosecutors allege was meant to sway the 2016 election in the real estate mogul’s favor.
25 April: Pecker testified about his role in buying a story from the model Karen McDougal about an alleged affair with Trump.25 April: Pecker testified about his role in buying a story from the model Karen McDougal about an alleged affair with Trump.
23 April: David Pecker, the National Enquirer publisher, said he was Trump’s “eyes and ears” during the 2016 election campaign.23 April: David Pecker, the National Enquirer publisher, said he was Trump’s “eyes and ears” during the 2016 election campaign.
22 April: In its opening statement, the prosecution said Trump “orchestrated a criminal scheme to corrupt the 2016 presidential election” in his efforts to cover up an alleged affair with the adult film star Stormy Daniels.22 April: In its opening statement, the prosecution said Trump “orchestrated a criminal scheme to corrupt the 2016 presidential election” in his efforts to cover up an alleged affair with the adult film star Stormy Daniels.
19 April: The court finally chose all 18 jurors.19 April: The court finally chose all 18 jurors.
18 April: Twelve jurors were selected for after two seated jurors were removed earlier in the day.18 April: Twelve jurors were selected for after two seated jurors were removed earlier in the day.
15 April: Trump’s hush-money trial begins. He is the country’s first president to face a criminal trial.15 April: Trump’s hush-money trial begins. He is the country’s first president to face a criminal trial.
14 May: Michael Cohen, the star witness in hush-money trial walked through key elements of the case as defense lawyers sought to undermine his credibility.
13 May: Michael Cohen testifies that Trump was intimately involved in hush-money deal and received real-time updates on Stormy Daniels.13 May: Michael Cohen testifies that Trump was intimately involved in hush-money deal and received real-time updates on Stormy Daniels.
10 May: Trump appeared frustrated in court while possible Cohen testimony looms.10 May: Trump appeared frustrated in court while possible Cohen testimony looms.
9 May: Trump attorneys sought to cast doubt on the account of alleged tryst – but Stormy Daniels refused to concede any inconsistencies.9 May: Trump attorneys sought to cast doubt on the account of alleged tryst – but Stormy Daniels refused to concede any inconsistencies.
7 May: Stormy Daniels undercut some of Trump’s defenses as his lawyer suggested Daniels has a propensity to embellish.7 May: Stormy Daniels undercut some of Trump’s defenses as his lawyer suggested Daniels has a propensity to embellish.
6 May: prosecutors moved on to the alleged falsification of business records to cover up hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels, after previously calling witnesses who described a conspiracy to kill the story.6 May: prosecutors moved on to the alleged falsification of business records to cover up hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels, after previously calling witnesses who described a conspiracy to kill the story.
3 May: Hope Hicks took the stand, describing 2016 Trump campaign staffers’ panic when a recording emerged in which Trump bragged about groping women and the former president’s complete control over the campaign.3 May: Hope Hicks took the stand, describing 2016 Trump campaign staffers’ panic when a recording emerged in which Trump bragged about groping women and the former president’s complete control over the campaign.
2 May: Keith Davidson, a lawyer who negotiated payments, testified.2 May: Keith Davidson, a lawyer who negotiated payments, testified.
30 April: Trump fined $9,000 over gag order violations as judge warns of jail time.30 April: Trump fined $9,000 over gag order violations as judge warns of jail time.
26 April: Pecker’s testimony presented a granular look into a hush-money scheme that prosecutors allege was meant to sway the 2016 election in the real estate mogul’s favor.26 April: Pecker’s testimony presented a granular look into a hush-money scheme that prosecutors allege was meant to sway the 2016 election in the real estate mogul’s favor.
25 April: Pecker testified about his role in buying a story from the model Karen McDougal about an alleged affair with Trump.25 April: Pecker testified about his role in buying a story from the model Karen McDougal about an alleged affair with Trump.
23 April: David Pecker, the National Enquirer publisher, said he was Trump’s “eyes and ears” during the 2016 election campaign.23 April: David Pecker, the National Enquirer publisher, said he was Trump’s “eyes and ears” during the 2016 election campaign.
22 April: In its opening statement, the prosecution said Trump “orchestrated a criminal scheme to corrupt the 2016 presidential election” in his efforts to cover up an alleged affair with the adult film star Stormy Daniels.22 April: In its opening statement, the prosecution said Trump “orchestrated a criminal scheme to corrupt the 2016 presidential election” in his efforts to cover up an alleged affair with the adult film star Stormy Daniels.
19 April: The court finally chose all 18 jurors.19 April: The court finally chose all 18 jurors.
18 April: Twelve jurors were selected for after two seated jurors were removed earlier in the day.18 April: Twelve jurors were selected for after two seated jurors were removed earlier in the day.
15 April: Trump’s hush-money trial begins. He is the country’s first president to face a criminal trial.15 April: Trump’s hush-money trial begins. He is the country’s first president to face a criminal trial.