Trump's Erstwhile Lawyer Testifies To Former President's Involvement In Hush Money Payment: 'Don't Worry Michael, You Will Get Paid Back'

Zinger Key Points
  • Key witness and former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen took the stand Monday in the hush money criminal trial.
  • Cohen helps prosecution lay out evidence that he was acting on behalf of Trump and payments made were done due to the 2016 election.

Key witness Michael Cohen testified in the hush money criminal trial against former President Donald Trump on Monday, sharing details of his role in paying to get rid of several stories that could harm Trump’s chances in the 2016 election.

What Happened: On Monday, Cohen testified to his involvement in making payments to several parties in a hush money scheme that could help eliminate bad stories that would hurt Trump in the election from being made public.

Trump faces criminal charges related to falsifying business records for the alleged hush money payments.

Cohen said that he was called by Trump on his bodyguard Keith Schiller's phone angry that a story by the Wall Street Journal was published about payments made by American Media to Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model who sold a story alleging an affair with Trump.

Trump's former lawyer recalled talking to David Pecker and Hope Hicks and was told "to get control over the release of that article,” according to NBC News.

Cohen said a $130,000 payment he wired to lawyer Keith Davidson on Oct. 27, 2016 was marked "retainer," but was actually part of the hush money agreement with Stormy Daniels, who was represented by Davidson.

"It was in order to pay Stormy Daniels to execute the NDA and to obtain the story."

Cohen said he would not make the payment without getting approval from Trump because he wanted to make sure he would be paid back.

The former Trump lawyer testified Trump told him that he was advised by some friends and "very smart people" to just pay the money.

"There's no reason to keep this thing out there. Just do it," Cohen recalled Trump saying.

Cohen testified Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg told him he would be paid back for making the payment to Daniels.

"We'll make sure you get paid back," Cohen said Weisselberg told him. "Don't worry Michael. You will get paid back."

Cohen said he was told to try and delay payment until after the election. The thought was that if Trump won the election, the story wouldn't matter and if Trump lost he wouldn't care if the story became public.

These details from the prosecution could point to the role the story had in influencing the 2016 presidential election as alleged.

Cohen said Trump told him previously to "take care of it," when asked about the Daniels story.

The former Trump lawyer testified to helping facilitate payment for the life rights to McDougal's story.

"What I was doing, I was doing at the direction of and for the benefit of Mr. Trump."

An audio clip was played Monday that featured Trump, Cohen and Weisselberg discussing a payment. Cohen said the conversation he recorded was about purchasing McDougal's life rights and was the only conversation with Trump he recorded.

Related Link: Stormy Daniels Says She ‘Never Asked For Money’ In Trump Hush Money Case, Former President Declares He’s ‘So Innocent’

What Else Happened: Cohen detailed banking documents and the execution of the deal with Daniels on Monday in detail for the jury.

Cohen testified that after Trump won the 2016 election, he was out of a job. Cohen said he pitched becoming the personal attorney for Trump, but wasn't hired.

"My service was no longer necessary as I was special counsel to Mr. Trump, and he was president-elect," Cohen said.

Cohen said he didn't want the role of Chief of Staff but would've liked to have been offered the position.

"I didn't want the role, I didn't believe that the role was right for me or that I was even competent to be chief of staff. I just wanted my name to have been included. It was more about my ego than anything."

Cohen also shared that he saw his bonus slashed at the end of 2016 and was angry and hurt.

"I actually had to do a double-take."

Cohen is expected to be on the stand again on Tuesday and will be one of the last witnesses from the prosecution in the multi-week trial.

Read Next: Hope Hicks Testifies On Trump’s Ex-Lawyer Michael Cohen’s ‘Mr. Fix It’ Moniker: ‘Only Because He Broke It First’

Photo: a katz via Shutterstock

Market News and Data brought to you by Benzinga APIs
Posted In: PoliticsLegal2016 Election2024 electionAllen WeisselbergDavid PeckerDonald TrumpHope HicksHush Money TrialKaren McDougalMichael CohenStormy Daniels
Benzinga simplifies the market for smarter investing

Trade confidently with insights and alerts from analyst ratings, free reports and breaking news that affects the stocks you care about.

Join Now: Free!