Donald Trump’s defence scrambles as bombshell tape branded ‚critical‘ piece of evidence | Politics | News


Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s former lawyer and personal fixer, took the witness stand in the former president’s criminal hush money trial on Monday, revealing a „critical“ piece of evidence in the case.

During court proceedings on Monday, jurors heard for the second time an audio recording Cohen secretly made of himself briefing Trump in September 2016 about a plan to buy the rights to former Playboy model Karen McDougal’s story from the National Enquirer.

Cohen testified that the recorded conversation played in court was the only one he had ever made between him and the former president.

Neama Rahmani, a former federal prosecutor who now is at West Coast Trial Lawyers, said exclusively to Daily Express US: „The secret tape is critical for two reasons.

„First, it’s Trump’s own voice on the recording. It’s the first time we’re hearing him talk about the payments.“

Rahmani continued: „Second, Cohen is a convicted felon and admitted liar, so the prosecution needs to corroborate his testimony with independent evidence like this. That’s why the defence is arguing the recording is doctored.“

The recording was of discussions of an alleged plan to purchase the silence of McDougal, who claimed she had an affair with Trump.

Cohen testified in court on Monday that he wanted to set up a company for the transaction regarding McDougal’s story „in order to have separation“ between Trump and the deal. He said „all of that info“ included not just McDougal’s story, but anything else about Trump that might have been in America Media Inc.’s files.

Cohen said in court that the recording he’d secretly made of Trump was not altered and sounded exactly the same as the day it was recorded.

The former lawyer said he made the recording „so I could show it to David Pecker and that way he would never hear the conversation and he would know that we’re going to be paying him back, that Mr Trump was going to be paying him back.“

Pecker was the publisher of the National Enquirer at the time, which he admitted helped Trump suppress McDougal’s negative story.

Earlier in the trial, Trump’s attorneys pressed a technical witness about the „gaps“ in the handling of the phone after Cohen made the recording, along with the abrupt cut-off at the end of the tape – which Cohen said was the result of an incoming call from a bank official.

Cohen testified that after the recording cut off, he told Trump that he was going to go to Allen Weisselberg, the former CFO of the Trump organization, to discuss the plan further and that he would get back to Trump with an update.

Cohen is by far the most important witness in Trump’s case and his appearance signals that the trial is entering its final stretch.

There is a tortured history for Cohen with Trump, for whom he served as personal attorney and problem-zapper until his practices came under federal investigation. That led to felony convictions and prison for Cohen but no charges against Trump, by then in the White House.



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