Michael Cohen, the former attorney, and fixer for former president Donald Trump, appeared Monday before a Manhattan grand jury investigating hush money payments made on Trump’s behalf.
Cohen, a former Trump supporter turned enemy, spent about three hours answering questions in the private session. His attorney stated as they exited the courthouse that he is due to provide more testimony on Wednesday.
Cohen’s attorney, Lanny Davis, stated, “Michael spent a lengthy and fruitful day addressing all questions, all facts, and being absolutely receptive.”
The testimony comes at a crucial time, as the Manhattan district attorney’s office evaluates whether to file charges against Trump for payments made to two women who alleged romances or sexual encounters with him during his 2016 campaign.
Upon entering the courthouse for the hearing, Cohen, who coordinated the bribes, stated that his sole motivation was “to speak the truth,” rejecting the notion that he wished to see Trump behind bars.
“This is not retribution,” he stated. It’s all about responsibility here. “He must be held accountable for his vile actions.” Trump denies any relationship with either woman, porn actress Stormy Daniels or model Karen McDougal.
Voice recordings of talks Cohen made with an attorney for one of the women, as well as emails and text messages, have been provided to prosecutors. Also, he possesses tapes of a discussion in which he and Trump discussed paying the second lady through the supermarket tabloid National Enquirer.
Authorities appear to be investigating whether Trump committed crimes about the manner in which payments were made or how they were accounted for internally at Trump Organisation.
One conceivable accusation is fabricating company documents, which is a misdemeanor unless the prosecution can establish it was done to hide another offense. No ex-president of the United States has ever been charged with a crime.
Monday on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Trump attorney Joe Tacopina stated that it is doubtful that the former president will accept a grand jury invitation offered by prosecutors last week.
Tacopina stated, “We have no intention of engaging in this action.” “This is still a decision that must be taken. No date has been established, so we will wait and see.” He portrayed Trump as a victim, claiming that he was coerced into paying Daniels.
Tacopina stated, “This was a clear case of extortion, and I have no idea when we decided to begin pursuing extortion victims.” “He has categorically denied this affair. But he had to pay because, regardless of the campaign, there would be an accusation that would be damaging to him in public.” Daniels and the attorney who assisted her in arranging the payment, Keith Davidson, have both denied extortion.
In a brief interview with reporters in Moline, Illinois, Trump referred to the inquiry as “a massive witch hunt.” When asked if he planned to testify, he responded, “I don’t know.” Nobody’s even asked me.” Tacopina also sent a letter to the inspector general of New York City, claiming that prosecutors were attempting to hinder Trump’s chances in the 2024 presidential race. Tacopina requested that the Department of Investigation of the city investigate a “clearly political prosecution.” The district attorney’s office in Manhattan declined to comment.
Trump’s attorneys have repeatedly attempted to convince New York and Florida courts to intervene in or prevent investigations of Trump and the Trump Organisation on the grounds that they are politically motivated. These attempts have all failed.
Cohen served time in jail after pleading guilty in 2018 to federal charges, including breaches of campaign finance laws, for orchestrating payments to Daniels and McDougal to prevent them from getting public. Likewise, he has been disbarred.
If the former president is prosecuted and Cohen ends up testifying at trial, Trump’s attorneys might use these circumstances in an effort to damage Cohen’s credibility.
In recent weeks, Cohen has been regularly with Manhattan prosecutors, including a full-day session on Friday to prepare for his grand jury appearance.
Since January, the panel has been hearing testimony in what Democratic Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg termed the “next chapter” of his office’s decades-long Trump inquiry. Yet hush money payments, possibly the most scandalous of Trump’s investigation paths, are nothing new.
Federal prosecutors and Bragg’s predecessor at the DA’s office, Cyrus Vance Jr., examined the payments but did not file charges against Trump.
Cohen declined to react to reporters as he exited the meeting, stating that he would “take a brief period of silence to enable the DA to develop their case.” Trump continued to criticize the investigation on social media on Friday, calling it a “Scam, Injustice, Joke, and Full and Total Weaponization of Law Enforcement to Influence the Presidential Election!” Cohen paid USD 130,000 to Daniels via his own firm and was then repaid by Trump, whose company recorded the reimbursements as “legal expenditures.” McDougal paid USD 150,000 to the publisher of the National Enquirer, which suppressed her story using the journalistically questionable “catch-and-kill” technique. The Trump Organization allegedly “grossed up” Cohen’s reimbursement for the Daniels payment for “tax considerations,” providing him USD 360,000 plus a USD 60,000 bonus for a total of USD 420,000.