The hidden side of politics

Michael Cohen says Trump warned him in 2015 to prepare for bad stories from women

Reported by Washington Times:

NEW YORK — Donald Trump, fresh off launching his presidential bid at Trump Tower, allegedly told his lawyer Michael Cohen to be ready, that negative stories from women were about to pour in.

“There’s gonna be a lot of women coming forward,” Mr. Cohen testified that Mr. Trump told him in 2015.

Mr. Cohen recounted the story from a Manhattan courtroom Monday as prosecutors tried to give jurors a firsthand account of hush payments and alleged concealment efforts in the former president’s trial on 34 counts of falsifying business records. Mr. Trump has denied the allegations.

Prosecutors say Mr. Trump used Mr. Cohen to pay $130,000 before the 2016 election to suppress porn star Stormy Daniels’ story about a sexual encounter with Mr. Trump, then covered up the money as legal expenses for Mr. Cohen.

Mr. Cohen is the state’s most important witness in the trial because he had a front-row seat for the alleged crimes. Prosecutors portrayed his relationship with Mr. Trump as a cozy one in which “the boss” wanted constant updates on what Mr. Cohen was doing.

Wearing a dark suit and light necktie, Mr. Cohen said Mr. Trump’s fixation on media coverage resulted in an August 2015 meeting with tabloid executive David Pecker at Trump Tower.

Mr. Cohen said he and Mr. Trump emphasized the power of Mr. Pecker’s National Enquirer magazine in the check-out line at supermarkets and bodegas. Efforts to run positive stories about Mr. Trump and negative ones about opponents “would be beneficial” to Mr. Trump’s presidential bid, according to Mr. Cohen.

Mr. Cohen then recounted his efforts to quash a series of unflattering stories about Mr. Trump in 2016.

A doorman at Trump Tower made an unsubstantiated claim about Mr. Trump having a love child, and Playboy model Karen McDougal was floating a story about an affair, sparking an emergency meeting between Mr. Cohen and Mr. Trump, according to testimony.

“His response was, ‘She’s really beautiful,’” Mr. Cohen said of his chat with Mr. Trump. “I said, ‘Ok, but right now there’s a story that’s being shopped.”

Mr. Cohen worked with tabloid executives at American Media Inc., which agreed to secure Ms. McDougal’s story for $150,000 and offer her writing opportunities.

“Effectively, the story was now being caught,” Mr. Cohen said.

At one point, prosecutors played a secret recording in which Mr. Trump and Mr. Cohen discussed ways to purchase back materials held by Mr. Pecker. 

The idea was to establish that Mr. Trump and Mr. Cohen coordinated efforts to catch and kill stories and handle associated payments, culminating in the alleged scheme to deal with Ms. Daniels, who was shopping her story about a 2006 sexual encounter with Mr. Trump. The former president denies the sexual encounter happened.

Defense lawyers are expected to batter Mr. Cohen by pointing to his criminal record and history of lying. It will likely be the nastiest and most intense part of the trial.

They will cast him as a rogue actor who paid Ms. Daniels on his own and demanded fees while Mr. Trump was busy running the country from the White House in 2017.

Mr. Cohen testified he tried very hard to accomplish tasks for Mr. Trump and sought kudos when things worked out.

“That’s fantastic, unbelievable,” Mr. Trump would say, according to Mr. Cohen.

Mr. Cohen turned on Mr. Trump and delivered unflattering testimony about his former boss to Congress in 2019. He is Mr. Trump‘s foremost detractor.

Early in his testimony Monday, Mr. Cohen was asked to point out his former boss in court.

“He’s wearing a blue-and-white tie,” he said, standing up in the witness box to see his former boss over the corner of the judge’s bench.  

Source:Washington Times


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