Michael Cohen Begins Testifying Against Donald Trump In Hush Money Trial

Former President Trump's Civil Fraud Trial Continues In New York City

Photo: Spencer Platt / Getty Images News / Getty Images

Michael Cohen, former personal attorney to Donald Trump, testified on Monday (May 13) in the ongoing hush money trial against the former president. Cohen detailed his role in negotiating payments to two women who claimed to have had affairs with Trump, aiming to keep them silent during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Cohen also discussed using the National Enquirer to publish positive stories about Trump and negative ones about his opponents. 

"What was discussed was the power of the National Enquirer being at the cash register of so many supermarkets and bodegas, that if we could place positive stories about Trump, that would be beneficial, and if we could place negative stories about some of the other candidates, that could be beneficial," Cohen said.

He also revealed that he recorded a conversation with Trump in September 2016, discussing the payment plans. This recording was played to the jury during the trial.

"It was so I could show it to David Pecker, and that way he would hear the conversation, that he would know that we're going to be paid, Mr. Trump is going to be paying him back," Cohen said.

Cohen also spoke about Stormy Daniels and how Trump was worried her claims that she had an affair with him would hurt his image with women during the campaign.

"(Trump) said to me, ‘This is a disaster, a total disaster, women are going to hate me. This is really a disaster. Women will hate me. Guys, they think it’s cool. But this is going to be a disaster for the campaign,’" Cohen testified.

He then contradicted Trump's repeated claims that he wanted to keep his wife, Melania, from finding out about the alleged affair.

Cohen said that Trump told him, "I want you to just push it out as long as you can just get past the election. Because if I win it will have no relevance because I'm president. And if I lose, I don't even care."

“He wasn't even thinking about Melania, this was all about the campaign," Cohen added.

Cohen said that he created an LLC to pay for Stormy Daniels and admitted that he lied on the forms when he created it. He said he lied because he didn't think the bank would approve its creation if they knew it was being used to make a hush money payment.

Cohen's testimony is expected to be a key component of the prosecution's case against Trump. The former president faces 34 felony counts alleging that he falsified New York business records to conceal damaging information to influence the 2016 presidential election. Trump has pleaded not guilty and claims the trial is interfering with his potential 2024 presidential bid.

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