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Key takeaways as Cohen faces further questioning on day 17 of Trump trial | Donald Trump News

Key takeaways as Cohen faces further questioning on day 17 of Trump trial |  Donald Trump News
Key takeaways as Cohen faces further questioning on day 17 of Trump trial |  Donald Trump News


Donald Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen faced a tough cross-examination as he testified for a second day at the former US president's secret trial in New York.

Cohen is the prosecution's star witness, and his testimony marks the climax of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Braggs' case against the former president.

On Tuesday, prosecutors also announced that Cohen would be the last witness they plan to call, as the first criminal trial against a U.S. president nears its conclusion.

Returning to the witness stand Tuesday, Cohen sought to demonstrate that Trump, his former boss, orchestrated a hush-money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels, then covered it up by filing the charges as legal fees.

The former Republican president, who is seeking re-election in November, faces 34 counts of falsifying business records in the case.

Cohen described a meeting with Trump at the White House in 2017 in which the two men allegedly discussed a repayment plan to reimburse Cohen for the secret payment.

The former lawyer argued he made the $130,000 payment at Trump's request to stop Daniels from going public with a sexual relationship she says she had with the former president. Trump has denied that such a meeting took place.

Trump has also called the case a politically motivated witch hunt, and his legal team on Tuesday sought to portray Cohen as a liar who cannot be trusted.

But prosecutors believe Trump tried to influence the outcome of the 2016 vote by engaging in a catch-and-kill scheme to stifle media coverage that could have harmed his campaign for the White House.

Here are the key takeaways from Day 17 of the trial:

Cohen details Oval Office meeting

Early Tuesday, Cohen recounted an Oval Office meeting with Trump in February 2017, during which the newly inaugurated president reportedly said Cohen would soon receive the first two payments of a bonus.

That package, Cohen said, included reimbursement of Daniels' payment.

I was sitting with President Trump and he asked me if I was OK, Cohen told jurors. He asked me if I needed money and I said, “Fine, because I can get a check.”

Cohen testified that Trump then told him: OK, make sure you deal with Allen, a reference to Allen Weisselberg, the chief financial officer of the Trump Organization at the time.

Prosecutor Susan Hoffinger also walked Cohen through a series of invoices and checks, including some signed by Trump himself, that Cohen said were falsely marked as paying for fee services.

There was no professional service contract, was there? » asked Hoffinger.

No, ma'am, Cohen replied.

In the courtroom, Trump reacted at various points in Cohen's testimony, leaning over to speak with his lawyer Emil Bove, seated to his left.

Trump sits at the defendant's table during his criminal trial in New York on May 14 [Justin Lane/Pool via Reuters]
Cohen says he lied to protect Trump

The 57-year-old former lawyer also said Tuesday that a statement he released in February 2018 about the secret payment was deliberately misleading.

The statement stated: Neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump Campaign were parties to the transaction.

Cohen explained that the statement was misleading because neither the Trump Organization nor the campaign were part of the transaction. It was Mr. Donald J. Trump himself, Cohen said.

He added that he made the statement to protect Mr. Trump and stay on message.

Cohen also told jurors that he helped write two statements purportedly from Daniels, the adult film star, denying her affair with Trump.

The first came after the Wall Street Journal reported in 2018 that he had arranged the secret payment of $130,000 to Daniels. The second was written after Cohen said he heard that Daniels was planning to appear on comedian Jimmy Kimmel's late-night TV show.

Cohen explained that he contacted Keith Davidson, the lawyer who represented the adult film star in the hush money deal, to draft the statement that Daniels released the day of his appearance. He reiterated that she was not given any hush money to deny his request.

Cohen testified that he knew the statements were false because he had a hand in making them and that he knew the payment was made because he paid for it.

He also said he regrets lying and bullying people during his many years working for Trump.

To stay loyal and do the things he asked me to do, I violated my moral compass. And I suffered the punishment, as did my family, Cohen said.

Defense insists on Cohen's credibility

Trump's defense team pressured Cohen during cross-examination Tuesday afternoon, seeking to poke holes in his testimony and portray him to the jury as a serial liar seeking revenge on a former boss .

Cohen served time in federal prison for various crimes, including some related to paying hush money, and admitted to lying under oath. He has also expressed antipathy toward Trump, with whom he has publicly fallen out.

Under aggressive questioning from Trump lawyer Todd Blanche, Cohen admitted to calling the former president an asshole dictator on the social media platform TikTok.

The defense also showed jurors photos of Trump-themed products for sale on Cohen's website, including shirts with an illustration of the former president behind bars. Blanche also highlighted statements Cohen made on his podcast, indicating that the former lawyer would like to see Trump convicted.

At one of several moments when Blanche asked Cohen if he wanted Trump convicted, the former lawyer responded: I'd like to see accountability. It's not for me. It's for the jury and this court.

Blanche pressed him: I'm just asking you, yes or no: do you want to see President Trump convicted in this case?

Of course, Cohen replied.

Cohen's shorter answers on cross-examination contrasted with his more voluble testimony to prosecutors, and court observers noted that he carefully avoided many of his responses, using ambiguous language to skirt the team's questions. defense.

Republicans show support; the court of appeal confirms the silence

Mike Johnson, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, drove to court Tuesday with Trump in his motorcade in a show of support.

They were joined by other right-wing figures, including North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and Vivek Ramaswamy, both candidates for the Republican nomination in this year's presidential election against Trump.

The appearances come as Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, maintains a firm grip on the party despite his legal troubles.

Speaking to reporters outside the courtroom, Johnson weighed in on the case. Trump is innocent of these accusations, he said.

This case, he added, is not about justice. It's all about politics, and everyone can see that.

The House speaker also criticized Trump's silence order, which prevents him from speaking out publicly against witnesses, jurors and family members of court officials.

The former president has been fined several times and held in contempt of court for violating the order since the trial began last month.

Separately, on Tuesday, a New York appeals court rejected an attempt by Trump's legal team to have the gag order lifted.

Judge Juan Merchan, who issued the warrant of silence, correctly weighed Trump's free speech rights against the courts' historic commitment to ensuring the fair administration of justice in criminal cases, and the right of persons linked or indirectly linked to criminal proceedings to be free from threats. , intimidation, harassment and harm, the appeal court ruled.




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