Michael Cohen testimony continues as star witness in Trump’s hush-money case

Good morning. 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.

Cohen, the star witness in the case against Trump, testified earlier this week that his former boss 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 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.

The entire 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.

We’re at the courthouse again today. Stay with us.

Trump’s criminal hush-money trial: what to know

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Key events

Victoria Bekiempis

Victoria Bekiempis

Michael Cohen, testifying on Monday, talked about how controlling media narratives about Donald Trump was among his key duties: he described helping catch and kill negative press that could have tanked his then boss’s chances in the 2016 election.

This came to include fronting $130,000 of his own money to pay off the adult film actor Stormy Daniels – who, weeks before election day, had been trying to peddle a story that she and Trump had a sexual encounter in 2006. This came just shortly after a Washington Post story of a hot mic recording in which Trump boasted that he could grab women “by the pussy” without consent.

Cohen described Trump as “really angry” when he learned that Daniels’s story was in effect up for grabs. He recalled Trump saying:

I thought you had this under control. I thought you took care of this.

Cohen said Trump told him to “just take care of it”, adding that “This was a disaster, a fucking disaster.” Cohen said Trump wanted him to take care of the Daniels matter, but also told him to “push it out as long as you can, past the election, because if I win, I’ll be president, and if I lose, I won’t really care.”

“He wasn’t thinking about Melania,” Cohen said. “This was all about the campaign.”

Michael Cohen testimony continues as star witness in Trump’s hush-money case

Good morning. 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.

Cohen, the star witness in the case against Trump, testified earlier this week that his former boss 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 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.

The entire 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.

We’re at the courthouse again today. Stay with us.

Trump’s criminal hush-money trial: what to know

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