Fixer-turned-foe Michael Cohen testifies against Trump in hush money case

Donald Trump's fixer-turned-foe, Michael Cohen, directly implicated the former president in a hush money scheme Monday, telling jurors that his celebrity client approved hefty payouts to stifle stories about sex that he feared could be harmful to his 2016 White House campaign.

“You handle it,” Cohen quoted Trump as telling him after learning that a doorman had come forward with a claim that Trump had fathered a child out-of-wedlock. The Trump Tower doorman was paid $30,000 to keep the story “off the market” even though the claim was ultimately deemed unfounded.

A similar episode occurred after Cohen alerted Trump that a Playboy model was alleging that she and Trump had an extramarital affair. Again, the order was clear: “Make sure it doesn't get released,” Cohen said Trump told him. The woman, Karen McDougal, was paid $150,000 in a hush money arrangement that was made after Trump was given a “complete and total update on everything that transpired.”

“What I was doing was at the direction of and benefit of Mr. Trump,” Cohen testified.

Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer and personal fixer, is by far the Manhattan district attorney’s most important witness in the case, and his much-awaited appearance on the stand signaled that the first criminal trial of a former American president is entering its final stretch.

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