Trump secret money trial: Star witness Michael Cohen ready to testify


NEW YORK (AP) – Star prosecution witness Donald Trump's secret wealth trial He is set to present his case on Monday with testimony that could help shape the outcome of the first criminal case against an American president.

michael cohenTrump's former lawyer and personal fixer is the Manhattan District Attorney's most important witness in the case so far, and his expected appearance signals that the trial is entering its final stages. Prosecutors say they could finish presenting evidence by the end of the week.

Cohen is expected to testify about his role in arranging hush money payments, including to porn actor Stormy Daniels, on Trump's behalf during his first presidential campaign. who told jurors last week that the $130,000 he received In 2016 she was asked to stop going public about a sexual encounter she had with Trump in a hotel suite a decade earlier.

What to know about Trump's secret wealth trial:

He also matters because the reimbursements he received form the basis of the charges — 34 felony counts of falsifying business records — against Trump. Prosecutors say the reimbursements were recorded as legal expenses to conceal the true purpose of the payments.

Defense lawyers have begun a tough cross-examination of Cohen, telling jurors during opening statements that fixer-turned-foe Cohen is an “admitted liar” with an “obsession with getting President Trump.”

Former President Donald Trump, accompanied by attorney Todd Blanche, arrives at Manhattan Criminal Court on Friday, May 10, 2024 in New York.  (Timothy A. Clary/Pool Photo via AP)

Former President Donald Trump, accompanied by attorney Todd Blanche, arrives at Manhattan Criminal Court on Friday, May 10, 2024 in New York. (Timothy A. Clary/Pool Photo via AP)

The testimony of a witness with such intimate knowledge of Trump's activities could increase the potential Republican presidential nominee's legal jeopardy if jurors find him sufficiently credible. But politically, prosecutors' reliance on a witness with such a checkered past – Cohen pleads guilty to federal charges related to the payments And lying to Congress — could be a boon for Trump as he raises money for his legal problems and portrays the case as the product of a tainted criminal justice system.

Either way, his role as the star prosecution witness further solidifies the disintegration of a mutually beneficial relationship that was once so close that Cohen famously said he would “take a bullet for Trump.” After Cohen's home and office were raided by the FBI in 2018, Trump showered him with affection on social media, praising him as “a good guy with a wonderful family” and predicting — wrongly — That Cohen would not be “wrong”.

Months later, Cohen did just that, pleading guilty that August to federal campaign-finance charges in which he implicated Trump. By that time, the relationship had completely broken down, with Trump posting on the social media platform then known as Twitter: “If anyone is looking for a good lawyer, I would strongly suggest that you Do not retain the services of Michael Cohen!”

later cohen Admitted lying to Congress about Moscow real estate project which he pushed on Trump's behalf during the summer of the 2016 Republican campaign. He said he lied to conform to Trump's “political message.”

Prosecutors are expected to extract detailed testimony from Cohen about his past crimes to blunt the impact of defense attorneys' questioning and to show that they are not trying to hide his misdeeds. But it's unclear how effective this would be, given how defense lawyers would be willing to exploit all the challenges that come with a witness like Cohen.

In addition to portraying Cohen as untrustworthy, they are also expected to portray him as vindictive, vindictive, and agenda-driven. Since his fall, Cohen has emerged as a tireless and sometimes crude critic of Trump, most recently appearing in a live TikTok last week wearing a shirt featuring a figure resembling Trump. , whose hands were handcuffed, behind bars. The judge on Friday urged prosecutors to ask him to refrain from making any further statements about the case or Trump.

“He has talked at length about his desire to see President Trump go to jail,” Trump's attorney Todd Blanch said during opening statements. “He has spoken at length about his desire to see President Trump's family go to jail. He has talked in detail about convicting President Trump in this case.

No matter how his testimony unfolds, Cohen is unquestionably at the center of the case, as evidenced by the fact that his name was mentioned more than 130 times in the jury's presence during opening statements. – More than any other person.

Other witnesses including former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker And Former Trump advisor Hope Hicks, has testified in detail about Cohen's role in arranging to suppress stories feared to be damaging to Trump's 2016 candidacy. and the jurors heard Audio recording of Trump and Cohen Discussion of a plan to buy the rights to the story of Karen McDougal, a Playboy model who has said she had an affair with Trump.

During a massive rally Saturday in the southern New Jersey resort town of Wildwood, Trump reiterated his criticism of the case, accusing President Joe Biden of wrongly orchestrating the New York charges, and calling the case a “Biden show trial.” Said.

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks during his campaign rally in Wildwood, NJ, on Saturday, May 11, 2024.  (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks during his campaign rally in Wildwood, NJ, on Saturday, May 11, 2024. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

This argument ignores the reality that the hush money case was filed by local prosecutors in Manhattan who do not work for the Justice Department or any other White House office. The Justice Department has said the White House has no involvement in the two criminal cases brought against Trump by special counsel Jack Smith.




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