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Tags: michael cohen | donald trump | stormy daniels | payment | testify

Cohen Testifies Trump Signed Off on Payment to Porn Actor

Monday, 13 May 2024 03:41 PM EDT

Donald Trump's former fixer Michael Cohen told jurors on Monday that the Republican presidential candidate personally signed off on a payment to a porn actor to bury her story about an alleged sexual encounter before it could derail his 2016 campaign.

"Just do it," Cohen said Trump told him, instructing him to figure out the best way of paying adult film actress Stormy Daniels $130,000 to stay quiet about the alleged 2006 encounter.

The payment is at the center of the first trial of a former U.S. president, which has entered its fifth week in New York state criminal court in Manhattan.

Cohen, once one of Trump's most loyal lieutenants and now the prosecution's star witness, said he learned that Daniels was selling her story at a critical moment for Trump's 2016 White House bid. At the time, just weeks before Election Day, the campaign was reeling from the release of an audio recording from the TV show "Access Hollywood" in which Trump bragged about grabbing women's genitals.

"He said to me, 'This is a disaster, a total disaster. Women are going to hate me,' Cohen testified. "'Guys, they think it's cool, but this is going to be a disaster for the campaign.'"

Prosecutors have said Trump paid Cohen back after the election and hid the reimbursement by recording it falsely as a legal retainer fee in his real estate company's records.

Trump faces 34 counts of falsifying business records tied to the reimbursement. Prosecutors say the altered records covered up election-law and tax-law violations – since the money was essentially an unreported contribution to Trump's campaign – that elevate the crimes from misdemeanors to felonies punishable by up to four years in prison.

Trump, who is running against Democrat President Joe Biden in November, has pleaded not guilty and denies having had a sexual encounter with Daniels, who testified last week. He argues the case is a politically motivated attempt to interfere with his campaign to take back the White House.

Trump's defense has suggested the payment to Daniels was meant to protect his family from embarrassment. But Cohen testified that Trump appeared solely concerned with the effect on his campaign.

© 2024 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.


Politics
Donald Trump's former fixer Michael Cohen told jurors on Monday that the Republican presidential candidate personally signed off on a payment to a porn actor to bury her story about an alleged sexual encounter before it could derail his 2016 campaign.
michael cohen, donald trump, stormy daniels, payment, testify
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Monday, 13 May 2024 03:41 PM
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