At Donald Trump’s trial, his ex-lawyer turned sworn enemy, Michael Cohen, admits to having lied for him

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Michael Cohen, former lawyer for Donald Trump, leaves his home in Manhattan to testify in the criminal trial of the former President of the United States, in New York, United States, May 13, 2024. MIKE SEGAR / REUTERS

He was the faithful lieutenant but he swore his downfall: Donald Trump’s ex-lawyer, Michael Cohen, claimed Monday, May 13, to have lied and intimidated on behalf of the former President of the United States, in a face-to-face -tense face-to-face at the trial for hidden payments to a porn star.

After the crude account delivered last week by pornographic film star Stormy Daniels about a sexual relationship in 2006 with Donald Trump (which the billionaire denies) this testimony which began around 9:30 a.m. (3:30 p.m. French time) is the another crucial moment in this historic trial with heavy political stakes.

Called to the stand, Michael Cohen, 57, looking nervous, is questioned by a prosecutor to find out if he has already “lied” And “intimidated” people, the witness answered clearly twice ” Yes “. “This is what needed to be done to accomplish the tasks”the former lawyer said under oath.

Mr. Cohen also admitted to pressuring journalists. If ” they (the journalists) said something that made him angry, I would contact the press and let them know the need to shorten or retract the article, or we would take action against them “.

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During the testimony of his ex-collaborator, Donald Trump kept his eyes closed, and remained without any reaction, according to the media CNN. Mr. Cohen, faithful among the faithful at the time, nicknamed the “pitbull” of Donald Trump, paid $130,000 to the actress to buy her silence about this sexual relationship, at the end of the presidential campaign in 2016.

According to the prosecution, when Michael Cohen was reimbursed in 2017 by the then US president, these expenses were disguised as “legal costs” in the accounts of the Trump Organization holding company, to hide that the money had been used to cover up a scandal.

A stubborn hatred

When the affair was revealed by the Wall Street Journal in 2018, Michael Cohen first claimed to have paid Stormy Daniels on his own initiative, without informing his boss. Caught up by justice, the one who once prided himself on being ready “to take a bullet for Donald Trump” turned against the latter, claiming to have acted under his orders.

Michael Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to tax evasion, making false statements to the US Congress and violating campaign finance laws, the latter offense being directly linked to the payment to Stormy Daniels. Sentenced to three years in prison, he spent about a year behind bars.

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Michael Cohen and Donald Trump now have a tenacious hatred for each other. On Friday, Donald Trump’s lawyers again deplored videos on TikTok where Michael Cohen appears wearing a t-shirt on which the former president is standing behind bars. Judge Juan Merchan asked the witness to stop such attacks, Donald Trump himself being prohibited from speaking about witnesses or jurors.

Since the start of the debates, the jurors have been treated by several witnesses to an unflattering portrait of Michael Cohen, capable of abusing or cajoling his interlocutors to get what he wanted.

They were also able to hear an audio recording of a private conversation where Michael Cohen discusses with Donald Trump a payment to obtain the silence of another woman, the model Karen McDougal, who also claimed to have had a relationship with the billionaire. At 77, the Republican candidate for the White House risks the first criminal conviction of a former president in the history of the United States.

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The World with AFP

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