5 revelations from Michael Cohen’s Trump trial testimony

Michael Cohen, a star witness in the Manhattan district attorney’s hush money criminal case against former President Trump, has given perhaps the most damaging testimony yet against his former client.

Over two days in court, Trump’s ex-fixer and personal attorney has sought to directly tie the then-2016 nominee to documents at the heart of the case and implicate him in the broader election interference conspiracy that prosecutors must convince jurors occurred to win the first conviction of a former U.S. president.

Cohen is expected to retake the stand again Thursday to finish his feisty cross-examination by Trump’s attorneys and potentially close out the state’s case in chief.

Here are five revelations from Cohen’s testimony so far.

New Melania Trump details emerge

Some of Cohen’s most striking comments came when he discussed Melania Trump, the former president’s wife.

Cohen testified that he had two phone calls with Donald Trump the day after the “Access Hollywood” tape emerged, in which he is heard bragging about grabbing women sexually without their permission.

“We needed to put a spin on this, and the spin that [Trump] wanted put on it was that this is locker room talk — something that Melania had recommended, or at least he told me that that’s what Melania had thought it was,” Cohen testified.

The ex-fixer also told jurors that Melania Trump again came up days later, during negotiations to pay porn actor Stormy Daniels $130,000 to stay quiet about an alleged affair with Trump, which he denies. Cohen said he asked Trump “how’s things going to go upstairs,” referring to the future first lady.

“’Don’t worry,’ he goes,” Cohen said of Trump. “He goes: ‘How long do you think I will be on the market for? Not long.’”

The comment bolstered the district attorney’s office’s claim that the payment to Daniels was tied to the campaign — not to concerns that Melania or Trump’s family would be embarrassed, as Trump’s lawyers have suggested.

Because prosecutors charged Trump with the felony version of falsifying business records, they must prove the documents were created with the intent to further another crime. Prosecutors have primarily contended the scheme violated federal and state election laws.

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

‘Pressure campaign’ on Cohen

Prosecutors showed evidence Tuesday of a pressure campaign bent on keeping Cohen loyal as the FBI investigated him in 2018.

Attorney Robert Costello offered to set up a back channel between Cohen and Trump, funneling any communication through himself and former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

After establishing that back channel, Cohen testified that Costello continued to pressure him with “constant calls” and lengthy emails urging him to stay in line as reports that the then-president was distancing himself from his personal attorney emerged.

“This was part of the pressure campaign,” Cohen said.

“Don’t flip. Don’t speak. Don’t cooperate,” he added.

After the FBI raided Cohen’s apartment, hotel room and office as part of its probe, Cohen said he received a phone call from Trump, where Trump told him, “Don’t worry. I’m the president of the United States. There’s nothing here.” It was the last time he spoke directly to Trump, he testified.

“I felt reassured because I had the president of the United States protecting me,” Cohen said.

Cohen’s testimony could sway jurors that Trump and his allies vied to keep Cohen loyal to avoid information about any unlawful activities from being revealed to investigators. Defense attorneys have not yet probed the matter on cross-examination.

Cohen admits he wants Trump convicted

On cross-examination, Trump attorney Todd Blanche goaded Cohen into admitting what any of the ex-Trump fixer’s social media followers already knew.

“Do you want President Trump to get convicted in this case?” Blanche asked.

“Sure,” Cohen replied, after repeatedly refusing to give a direct answer.

Since breaking from Trump, Cohen has become one of Trump’s most vocal critics, throwing punches online and in news media — and monetizing those exchanges.

Defense attorneys are sure to use this admission as evidence that Cohen is not a reliable witness. But prosecutors — who spent much of their case reminding jurors of Cohen’s flaws — are expected to argue that two things can be true at once: Cohen can dislike Trump while also bearing witness truthfully to his alleged crimes.

Cohen’s testimony offered some of the most incriminating evidence against his ex-client yet, including admitting to false records and being paid tens of thousands of dollars monthly for “minimal work.”

District attorney couldn’t get Cohen federal sentence reduction

Prosecutors sought to bolster Cohen’s credibility by highlighting that he still agreed to testify against Trump despite the Manhattan district attorney’s office’s failure to help reduce his federal sentence.

Prosecutor Susan Hoffinger raised that Cohen and his attorneys asked for a letter detailing his cooperation to lower his sentence. The ex-Trump fixer was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to federal campaign finance, criminal tax evasion and other charges.

Despite Cohen’s requests, the Southern District of New York declined to accept such letters, so the district attorney’s office did not provide them.

But defense attorneys attempted to flip the state’s narrative on its head, contending that Cohen’s cooperation stemmed from a desire to reduce his sentence.

Blanche asked a series of questions about a motion that allows criminal defendants to seek reduced sentences for helping prosecute other people. Cohen had cooperated with Robert Mueller’s probe of Trump, in addition to the hush money investigation.

Cohen admitted under Blanche’s questioning that he wanted to be released from prison but staunchly noted that he was not given relief for assisting with various investigations.

Trump and Cohen talked at every turn

Cohen explained that Trump demanded he be kept abreast of developments in the hush money negotiations and other projects.

“When he would task you with something, he would say, ‘Keep me informed. Let me know what’s going on,’” Cohen testified.

“And what he was saying, what everybody did is, as soon as you had a result, an answer, you would go straight back and tell him,” Cohen continued. “Especially if it was a matter that was troubling to him.”

Cohen said he’d meet with his then-boss “every single day and multiple times a day,” either in person or on the phone, describing Trump as having an “open-door policy.”

Cohen detailed various conversations he alleged to have had with Trump about the hush money deals and reimbursement scheme at the center of the case, testimony that could be crucial to support prosecutors’ claim that the former president had personal involvement.

The defense has contended that the records Trump is charged over are truthful, and that even if they weren’t, he wasn’t involved. To persuade the jury, Trump’s lawyers are expected to attempt to continue demolishing Cohen’s credibility when cross-examination resumes Thursday morning.

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