Trump hush money trial: Cohen admits to stealing

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By Creative Media News

  • Cohen concludes testimony in Trump’s hush money trial
  • Defense challenges Cohen’s credibility, highlights his theft
  • Trial shifts to defense, presenting their witnesses

Michael Cohen, a disbarred lawyer, has concluded his testimony in a New York criminal courtroom as the case against his former employer, former United States President Donald Trump, nears its conclusion.

Cohen’s fourth and concluding day on the witness stand it occurred on Monday. His statements were the final witness testimony that the prosecution presented prior to concluding its case.

The trial has now shifted to the defense, which is attempting to refute allegations that Trump falsified business records to conceal a hush-money payment to a former pornographic film actress, thereby bolstering his chances in the 2016 presidential election.

Stormy Daniels, an adult film actress, was allegedly involved in an affair with then-candidate Trump. In October 2016, Cohen transmitted $130,000 to her in order to obtain her silence regarding it.

Cohen has maintained that he made the payment at Trump’s direction and that Trump subsequently reimbursed him through covert means, classifying it as “legal expenses.”

However, on Cohen’s final day on the stand, the defense endeavored to undermine that narrative by highlighting instances of his theft and lying, thereby undermining his credibility.

The defense has consistently maintained that Trump was not involved in the payment. Trump has disputed any wrongdoing and has refuted Daniels’s allegations of an affair.

The hush-money trial in New York began on Day 19, which also marked the beginning of a brief week. The defense witness list is anticipated to be comparatively concise, and the court is scheduled to break early this week to accommodate the Memorial Day holiday in the United States.

In the case, Trump is accused of falsifying 34 felony counts of business records. The following are the key points from Cohen’s final day of testimony.

Cohen acknowledges that he stole from the Trump Organization.

The defense dealt Cohen a substantial setback to his credibility by compelling him to acknowledge that he had stolen $30,000 from Trump’s namesake company prior to concluding its cross-examination on Monday.

Todd Blanche, the defense counsel, directly asked Cohen, “Are you aware that you have stolen from the Trump Organization?”

Cohen responded with his usual, “Yes, sir.”

The theft occurred after Cohen engaged the technology company Red Finch to assist in increasing Trump’s popularity in an online poll conducted by CNBC, which ranked the most successful industrialists of the past fifty years.

According to Cohen, Trump was “agitated” by his descent to the bottom of the poll. Cohen clarified that he and Trump could manipulate the poll by hiring Red Finch. The technology company would submit false votes on Trump’s behalf using various IP addresses.

Red Finch was initially scheduled to receive $50,000 in compensation for its services, according to Cohen.

However, he informed the jury that he had instead paid Red Finch $20,000 to “place” its proprietor and then pocketed the remaining amount after Trump decided to reduce his holiday bonus.

“The bonus reduction caused me to feel enraged, and I concluded that it was a form of self-help,” Cohen stated.

During his cross-examination, Blanche pressed the matter: “Have you repaid the Trump Organization the money you stole from them?”

Cohen replied, “No, sir.”

The admission was perceived by Trump’s entourage in the courtroom as a significant victory for his defense.

Eric, Trump’s second son, shared on social media that Michael Cohen has now admitted to embezzling funds from our organization.

Kash Patel, a Trump administration official, told reporters outside the courtroom that “we have finally found a crime.”

“We also have a victim,” he continued. “The victim in question is Donald J. Trump.”

Cohen discloses that his media appearances generated millions of dollars.

The defense has consistently maintained that Trump is not guilty of falsifying business records; rather, it is the responsibility of individuals such as Cohen and the former chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, Allen Weisselberg, for any wrongdoing.

As the defense team concluded its cross-examination of Cohen, it endeavored to depict Cohen’s purported avarice by emphasizing the manner in which he benefited from his affiliation with Trump.

Cohen testified that he earned approximately $4 million from consulting contracts following Trump’s election as president in 2016. These contracts included working with AT&T, a telecommunications company that was interested in merging at the time.

Nevertheless, in 2018, Cohen entered a guilty plea to campaign finance violations and other federal offenses, including lying to Congress. As an outcome, he was sentenced to imprisonment.

However, he adopted a more prominent persona as a Trump critic when he was transferred to home confinement in 2020. Cohen testified that he generated an estimated $4.4 million from podcast appearances and tell-all books since 2020.

Cohen was also questioned by the defense regarding a reality television program called The Fixer that he had been pitching to networks. Despite this, Cohen stated that no studio has yet acquired the show.

The cross-examination of Cohen concludes, and the prosecution concludes.

The defense attempted to convince the jury that Cohen’s testimony was flawed during the final minutes of his cross-examination.

Cohen has maintained that the hush-money payments were inaccurately classified as “legal expenses.” However, the defense has maintained that the label is accurate, as Cohen was, in fact, Trump’s counsel.

The defense also raised concerns about Cohen’s ability to accurately recall his conversations with Trump from October 2016, the month in which the hush-money payment was made.

“Despite the statements you have made in the past, do you have a specific recollection of engaging in conversations with then-candidate Donald J. Trump regarding the Stormy Daniels matter?” Blanche, the defense attorney, inquired.

Cohen responded with his customary “yes, sir.”

“Are you certain?” Blanche inquired once more. “Undoubtedly,” Cohen replied.

The prosecution momentarily stood to question Cohen one last time after the cross-examination concluded.

The prosecutor, Susan Hoffinger, capitalized on the opportunity to emphasize that Cohen’s actions were not the subject of the trial; rather, Trump’s actions were.

“I understand that you may feel as though you are on trial here following the cross-examination, but are you actually on trial here?” She inquired with Cohen.

“No, madam,” he replied.

Additionally, the prosecution requested that Cohen contemplate the consequences of his opposition to Trump.

Cohen responded, “My entire life has been completely upended as a direct consequence,” citing a decline in his professional prospects and his family’s well-being.

“I was fortunate enough to have been able to obtain my financial security, my businesses, and my law license in advance.”

The prosecution’s case was thus concluded.

The defense presents its initial witnesses, including the combative Costello.

The prosecution’s case had concluded, and it was now the defense’s turn to present witnesses.

The initial individual was Daniel Sitko, a paralegal employed by Blanche, the defense attorney.

Sitko exhibited a chart that summarized the phone calls between Cohen and Robert Costello, a lawyer who had previously offered to relay messages between Cohen and Trump.

The defense’s questioning of Sitko was limited to establishing that Cohen’s communications with Costello were frequent, particularly in 2018, when he encountered legal difficulties.

Next, Costello, the defense’s second witness, was called to the stand.

The decision to contact Costello was subject to controversy. Cohen has acknowledged that he lied to Costello, and Costello has publicly questioned Cohen’s credibility. Consequently, the prosecution objected to his inclusion.

Costello was also a late addition to the defense’s list of potential witnesses, and Judge Juan Merchan was compelled to make a fast decision regarding the extent of Costello’s testimony.

Merchant stated that Costello could “provide some counterarguments” to Cohen’s testimony; however, the judge also said that he would not permit the situation to escalate into a “trial within a trial.”

However, Costello’s testimony on the witness stand was immediately agitated. The attorney audibly responded to the prosecution’s objections to his testimony by saying “jeez” and describing the situation as “ridiculous.”

This was sufficient to elicit a severe rebuke from Judge Merchan, who briefly emptied the courtroom to address Costello directly.

“Mr. Costello, I would like to discuss the appropriate conduct that should be observed in my courtroom.” Merchan stated, “If you disagree with my decision while a witness is on the stand, you do not utter the word ‘jeez.'” “You refrain from rolling your eyes and giving me side-eye.”

Ultimately, Costello was permitted to recommence his testimony, which focused on accusations that Cohen had fabricated information regarding Trump’s knowledge of the hush-money payments.

Costello stated that Michael Cohen claimed that President Trump was unaware of the payments and that he made them independently. He reiterated this assertion on numerous occasions.

Hells Angels are among the individuals who comprise Trump’s court entourage.

The day we concluded with Costello’s impassioned testimony on the witness stand and the potential for additional questioning from prosecutors on Tuesday.

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Although the court’s primary focus was on the concluding witnesses in the trial, the media also covered members of Trump’s entourage.

Chuck Zito, the former president of the New York chapter of the Hells Angels bikers organization, was seated among Trump’s inner circle.

Zito, who is currently an actor, was previously accused of criminal activity and was incarcerated from 1985 to 1991.

Additionally, Congress members such as Representative Andrew Clyde of Georgia were present in the audience.

“This specific judicial system must be defunded,” Clyde stated, advocating for a reduction in federal funding for Manhattan’s courts.

Trump himself addressed the press outside of the courtroom, reiterating the well-worn themes that the prosecution was politically motivated and lamenting the “cold” environment.

“They lack a case.” “They have committed no crime,” Trump stated, adding that the judge was “corrupt” and “interfering with an election.”

In November’s presidential election, it is anticipated that Trump will compete against Democratic incumbent President Joe Biden.

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