Cohen testifies stealing from Trump was ‘self-help’ at hush money trial

Michael Cohen

Donald Trump’s former fixer Michael Cohen testified on Monday that he stole money from Trump’s company as a form of “self- help,” an admission that could chip away at his credibility as a star witness at the former U.S. president’s hush money trial.

Questioned by Trump’s lawyer Todd Blanche, Cohen acknowledged stealing from the Trump Organization by including a reimbursement to a technology company in his bonus package and pocketing most of the money.

“So you stole from the Trump Organization, right?” Blanche asked.

“Yes sir,” Cohen, 57, testified.

Cohen said he paid roughly $20,000 of the $50,000 that Trump’s company owed to the tech company in cash, handing it off in a brown paper bag at his office. He said he kept the rest. He was reimbursed $100,000 total by the Trump Organization for that payment.

Under questioning by prosecutors a bit later, Cohen testified he stole the money because he was upset about his annual bonus being cut after he fronted $130,000 of his own money to buy the silence of porn star Stormy Daniels, who was threatening shortly before the 2016 election to go public with her account of an alleged sexual encounter with Trump.

“I just felt it was almost like self-help,” Cohen said.

Cohen is the final and most important witness for New York prosecutors as they seek to convince a jury that Trump broke the law by covering up that payment to Daniels.

Cohen testified last week that Trump signed off on the payment and worried that her story would hurt his appeal to women voters. That undercut the argument by Trump’s legal team that he was seeking only to protect his family from embarrassment.

But as a convicted felon and admitted liar, Cohen is a problematic witness. Prosecutors have buttressed his testimony with documentary evidence, while Trump’s lawyers have sought to undermine Cohen’s credibility through his cross-examination.

Cohen’s testimony was expected to conclude on Monday. After that, Trump’s lawyers will have a chance to present evidence and witnesses of their own.

It was unclear whether Trump would take the witness stand. Defense lawyers often opt not to call witnesses or present their own evidence when they believe prosecutors have failed to make their case.

Though Trump said before the trial began that he planned to testify, Blanche told the judge last week that it was no longer certain. Outside the courtroom on Monday, Trump did not tell reporters whether he would testify or not.

(Courtesy :

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