You Know You Are In Trouble When Your Own Attorney Gives Evidence Against You.

Photo: YouTube. Michael Cohen, Donald Trump's former lawyer, is now giving evidence against his former client.
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Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s former attorney, has taken the witness stand to testify against his former boss in Trump’s criminal trial for financial irregularities.

He is expected to fill in the details in the prosecutors’ case that Trump faked business records to pay off Stormy Daniels, the porno film perfomer, with whom the former president is alleged to have had an (unwanted, according to Daniels) sexual encounter in a hotel room in Lake Tahoe.

Trump faces 34 felony counts alleging that he falsified New York business records to conceal this information which might have affeced his chances in the presidential election had it been known to the public.

Trump, who pleaded not guilty, claims the trial itself is “election interference” because of how it is disrupting his 2024 bid for president. He must be present in court every day unless excused by the judge, and so he is unable to campaign while he is in court.

This is the second trial that Cohen, who has himself served prison time for his role in handling Trump’s finances,  has given sworn testimony against Trump in front of Trump. Last fall he testified in a civil fraud trial, alleging that Trump inflated the value of his assets to land better business deals.

While on the witness stand on today, Cohen spoke of the deal brokered between Trump, Cohen and the leadership at American Media Inc., (owner of the National Enquirer) to publish only positive stories about then-candidate Trump and to prevent hostile stories from ever  being published.

He also testified to first hearing about two allegations about Trump — an unsubstantiated allegation that Trump had fathered an illegitimate child and an allegation that he had an affair with former Playboy model Karen McDougal.

“We needed to acquire the story,” Cohen testified about McDougal’s story, meaning to acquire exclusive rights to the story and then not publish it at all.

Jurors viewed text messages between Cohen and leadership at the National Enquirer tabloid, and phone call records, and Cohen testified he spoke to Trump about “the Karen McDougal matter.”

Cohen’s testimony comes just days after Stormy Daniels, the other woman who received a payment, gave evidence in the same trial.

Daniels, also known as Stephanie Clifford, is one of two women the prosecution is alleging Trump paid off with large amounts of money to protect his public reputation the first time he ran for election to the presidency.

In 2019, Cohen told Congress that he discussed “reimbursements” for the hush money, with Trump, early in his presidency, at the White House.

“And he says to me something to the effect of, ‘Don’t worry, Michael. Your January and February reimbursement checks are coming,'” Cohen told Congress. “They were FedEx’d from New York. And it takes a while for that to get through the White House system.'”

Jurors have been presented with a photo, a meeting memo, copies of FedEx receipts. The prosecution and the defense this week will present different points of view as to whether Cohen is an unrepentant liar, as Trump claims, or whether he has lied before, but in this case is actually telling the truth.

Cohen’s once said he’d “take a bullet” for Trump, but it now appears that any such claim was hyperbole and not to be taken seriously.

In late 2018, Cohen pleaded guilty to a number of federal charges, including campaign finance violations related to hush-money payouts to two women in exchange for their public silence about their personal (sexual) relationships with Trump. He said he did that “at the direction” of Trump.

In February 2019, Cohen testified before the House Oversight Committee.

“Mr. Trump is a cheat,” Cohen told lawmakers at the time. “It was my experience that Mr. Trump inflated his total assets when it served his purposes, such as trying to be listed amongst the wealthiest people in Forbes, and deflated his assets to reduce his real estate taxes.”

Trump has long argued that he has done no wrong and has repeatedly cast Cohen as untrustworthy and a liar.

The outcome of the present court case will depend a great deal on whether the jury members believe Cohen or not.

Sources: NPR, BBC, The Guardian.
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