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Trump's former lawyer who became his sworn enemy testifies at the trial of the former US president

Photo: Spencer Platt Getty Images via Agence France-Presse Michael Cohen, ex-lawyer of Donald Trump, in March 2023

Gregory Walton – Agence France-Presse and Andréa Bambino – Agence France-Presse in New York

Posted at 9:16 a.m. Updated at 10:28 a.m.

  • United States

He was one of his loyal lieutenants, but he swore his doom: Donald Trump's ex-lawyer, Michael Cohen, arrived Monday as the prosecution's key witness at the trial from the former president of the United States for hidden payments to a porn star.

After the crude account given last week by pornographic film star Stormy Daniels about a sexual relationship in 2006 with Donald Trump – which he denies – this testimony is another crucial moment in this historic trial with heavy political stakes.< /p>

At 77, the Republican nominee for the White House faces the first criminal conviction of a former president in U.S. history.

The trial, which is disrupting his campaign by forcing him to silently follow hearings almost every day since mid-April in a New York court, has entered a decisive phase.< /p>

Michael Cohen, 57, one of the prosecution's final two witnesses, is at the center of the case and was called to the stand around 9:30 a.m. looking nervous, while Donald Trump remains impassive.

It was he, a faithful among the faithful at the time, nicknamed Donald Trump's “pitbull”, who paid 130,000 dollars to the actress to buy her silence on this sexual relationship, at the end of the campaign presidential election in 2016.

According to the prosecution, when Michael Cohen was reimbursed in 2017 by the then US president, these expenses were disguised as “legal fees » in the accounts of the holding company Trump Organization, to hide that the money had been used to cover up a scandal.

Donald Trump is being prosecuted for 34 crimes of accounting falsification, which could theoretically earn him up to a prison sentence.

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Tough hatred

When the affair was revealed by the Wall Street Journal in 2018, Michael Cohen first claimed to have paid Stormy Daniels on his own initiative, without informing his boss.

Caught up by justice, the one who once prided himself on being ready “to take a bullet for Donald Trump” turned against the latter, claiming to have acted under his orders.

Michael Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to tax evasion, making false statements to the U.S. Congress, and violating campaign finance laws, the latter offense being directly related to the payment to Stormy Daniels. Sentenced to three years in prison, he spent about a year behind bars.

His testimony promises to spark sparks, because Michael Cohen and Donald Trump now have a tenacious hatred for each other.

On Friday, Donald Trump's lawyers again deplored videos on TikTok where Michael Cohen appears wearing a t-shirt on which the former president stands behind bars.

Judge Juan Merchan asked the witness to stop such attacks, Donald Trump himself being prohibited from speaking about witnesses or jurors.

Once questioned by prosecutors, the former lawyer should be subjected to a barrage of questions from the defense, which portrayed him as a pathological liar, a view shared by Donald Trump supporters.

“Cohen, it’s a big joke […] He has no credibility,” said Lisa Lombardo, 61, during a meeting of the former president on Saturday near New York.

Since the start of the debates, the jurors have been treated by several witnesses to an unflattering portrait of Michael Cohen, capable of mishandling or cajoling his interlocutors to get what he wanted.

They were also able to hear an audio recording of a private conversation where Michael Cohen discusses with Donald Trump a payment to obtain the silence of another woman, the model Karen McDougal, who also claimed to have had a relationship with the billionaire.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116