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Here are all the bad things witnesses have said about Michael Cohen, Trump’s former fixer who is set to testify Monday




CNN

No one has anything nice to say about him Michael Cohen.

Donald TrumpThe lawyer and former court coordinator is expected to take the stand on Monday as the star witness in the Manhattan District Attorney’s case against the former president, ready to testify regarding Trump’s $130,000 payment to the former president from Cohen. Adult film actress Stormy Daniels Before the 2016 elections.

During three weeks of testimony, jurors heard a lot about Cohen from several witnesses, who painted an unflattering picture of an aggressive, impulsive and unpopular lawyer.

David BeckerThe former president of the American Media Enquirer, the parent company of the National Enquirer, said Cohen had a “tendency to exaggeration.” Former Trump aide Hope Hicks She said Cohen liked to call himself a “fixer” — a role she said was only possible because he “broke it first.” Daniels’ former lawyer, Keith Davidson, said he only worked with Cohen because he was an “idiot” who Daniels’ then-manager Gina Rodriguez — like everyone else — didn’t want to do business with.

Get the latest updates on Trump’s criminal trial

“Jenna called me to say, ‘Some asshole called me and was very aggressive and threatened to sue me.’ “And I, um, would like you, Keith, to call that asshole back,” Davidson testified in the third week of the trial.

“I hate to ask it this way, but who was this idiot?” Assistant District Attorney Joshua Steinglass asked.

“It was Michael Cohen,” Davidson replied.

Now Cohen is the witness prosecutors are relying on to give testimony that could help them prove Trump falsified business records when he allegedly paid Cohen $130,000 to Daniels to prevent her from publicly disclosing a previous encounter before the 2016 election. Trump has pleaded not guilty and denied the affair. .

Cohen is the only witness who will testify about Trump’s alleged involvement in the decision to pay Daniels and the plan to compensate Cohen for the payment. Cohen will likely serve as narrator for the prosecution and take the jury from the initial meeting in which Pecker, Cohen and Trump allegedly agreed to buy negative stories that could hurt Trump’s presidential bid through the payment made to Daniels a few days before Election Day to the Oval Office meeting in February. 2017, just weeks after Trump was sworn in.

Prosecutors allege that during the February meeting, Trump and Cohen agreed on how to repay Cohen. Prosecutors say the arrangement included a false story that Cohen was working under a retainer agreement. The papers, from invoices and general ledger entries to checks signed by Trump, make up the 34 criminal charges in the case.

Prosecutors waited to contact Cohen until the end of their case, after presenting phone records, emails, text messages and bank records that they hope will bolster his credibility to the jury. They did not try to hide from the jury that he and other witnesses were in a lot of trouble.

“We’re going to be very frank about the fact that many of the witnesses in this case have what you might consider some baggage,” Steinglass told a panel of potential jurors during jury selection.

The testimony will pit Trump against Cohen, who once said he would take a bullet for the former president. They last saw each other when Cohen testified before Trump Civil fraud trial in New York Last fall. Cohen’s testimony was brief, but the confrontation was tense.

This week, the stakes are even higher, with the possibility of a criminal conviction and possible prison sentence for Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

This ends a long journey for Cohen, who still feels sad for him He spent three years in prison and home confinement after pleading guilty to federal campaign finance charges related to the payoff, among other crimes.

Cohen met with prosecutors more than a dozen times and testified before the grand jury in the secret money trial. He enjoys immunity from state charges for his role in the alleged plot.

He will also face blistering questioning from Trump’s lawyer Todd Blanche. The former president’s lawyers are expected to criticize Cohen’s credibility, including digging into his past, and suggest to the jury that Trump had no idea what Cohen’s deal was or how it was recorded in his company’s books.

Even before he took his stand, Cohen was attacked and undermined by prosecution witnesses. On the one hand, it can damage the goods before it takes the position. But he may also benefit from lowered expectations if the jury finds he is better than advertised, said Eli Honig, CNN’s chief legal analyst and a former state and federal prosecutor.

After his prison sentence, Cohen released books and podcasts attacking Trump

The charges against Trump date back to events that occurred during the 2016 election. But in many ways, the case against Trump stems from the case of his former aide Decision to plead guilty In 2018, he was in federal court on charges of making illegal campaign contributions in violation of federal campaign finance laws. He directly implicated Trump in the scheme and admitted that he orchestrated a payment to Daniels on Trump’s behalf.

Cohen also pleaded guilty to tax charges and lying to Congress about Trump’s business venture to build Trump Tower in Moscow. Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison, which he spent behind bars and under house arrest.

Cohen’s confession prompted the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office to launch the investigation into the secret money payments that led to Trump’s indictment last year.

Cohen became committed to antagonizing Trump. He has published two books, “Traitor” in 2020 and “Revenge” in 2022, and launched a podcast called “Mia Culpa” — all of which have spent a lot of time attacking Trump and cheering for his impeachment.

On social media, Cohen continued to attack Trump in the weeks leading up to the trial, and even after it began. The social media criticism has reached such a point that Judge Juan Merchan asked prosecutors on Friday to give Cohen a message “from the bench” that he should stop talking about the case. (Merchan said he could not legally gag witnesses.)

Trump has often responded forcefully in interviews and on social media, including in several cases where he violated a judge’s rulings Mask order The former president should prevent the discussion of witnesses in the case.

Starting with the case’s first witness, Baker, jurors heard witness after witness criticize Cohen ahead of his expected testimony.

Trump lawyer Emile Bove Becker, who met with Cohen and Trump in a key meeting at Trump Tower in 2015, asked whether Cohen was “prone to exaggeration.”

“Yes,” Baker said.

Bove then asked Becker if he couldn’t trust everything Cohen said. The judge objected to the question, telling Trump’s lawyers in a sidebar discussion that this was not the place to “question” Cohen’s credibility.

More witnesses will continue to do so anyway.

Cohen’s former banker, Gary Farrow, then testified that he got Cohen’s account specifically because he could be tough with individuals who “might be a little challenging.” Farrow said it was fair to describe Cohen as an “aggressive guy.”

“He would call me for anything he needed, and it was always something urgent,” the banker said.

Arguably the most negative assessment of Cohen came from Davidson, who negotiated the hush money deal with Cohen on behalf of Daniels in 2016. Davidson described a 2011 conversation about a blog post about Daniels and Trump on thedirty.com, in which Cohen unleashed a “barrage of attacks “. Of insults, insinuations and accusations.”

I don’t think he was accusing us of anything. “He was just screaming,” Davidson said.

Daniels’ former lawyer went on to explain how he ended up involved in the hush money deal, when Daniels’ manager asked him to help finalize the deal for the sake of a non-disclosure agreement.

When asked why he got involved, Davidson said: “The moral of the story is: No one wanted to talk to Cohen.”

After Trump was elected in 2016, Davidson recalled under questioning from Steinglass, he received a phone call in December from a “desperate and very sad” Cohen.

“And he said something to the effect of, ‘Jesus Christ.’ Can you believe I’m not going to Washington? After everything I’ve done for that damned man. I can’t believe I’m not going to Washington. I’ve saved this man so many times, even… You don’t know that.'”

Others who didn’t interact with Cohen as much as Davidson did didn’t have better things to say. Jeff McCone, the former comptroller of the Trump Organization, was asked about Cohen’s position at the company.

“He said he was a lawyer,” Maconie replied.

“Did he work in the legal department?” asked prosecutor Matthew Colangelo.

“I think so,” Maconie said sarcastically.

Hicks, who worked for the Trump Organization before becoming a key aide in the 2016 campaign, described to the jury how Cohen, a Trump aide, tended to inflate his influence over the campaign.

“There were times when Mr. Cohen did things that you felt were not helpful to what you were trying to achieve, right?” Pugh asked Trump’s 2016 campaign press secretary.

“Yes,” Hicks replied. “I used to say he liked to call himself a ‘fixer’ or ‘master.’ He fixed it, and he was only able to come and fix it because he broke it the first time.



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