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From Trump's 'Attack Dog' to Star Witness: Michael Cohen Set to Testify in Hush Money Trial

From Trump's 'Attack Dog' to Star Witness: Michael Cohen Set to Testify in Hush Money Trial.

By Tony Bruce | Monday, May 13, 2024 | 5 min read

Michael Cohen
PHOTO: Michael Cohen, former personal lawyer to President Donald Trump, arrives at New York State Supreme Court, Oct. 25, 2023, in New York. (Stephanie Keith/Bloomberg via Getty Images, FILE)
Michael Cohen, once known as President Trump's "attack dog," is now set to become a star witness in the hush money trial. This transformation marks a significant turn of events in the ongoing legal saga surrounding Trump's alleged affairs and the payments made to silence them.

Cohen, who served as Trump's personal lawyer and fixer for many years, has been at the center of multiple controversies, including the payments made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal to keep quiet about their alleged affairs with Trump.

Initially, Cohen vehemently defended his former boss, often resorting to aggressive tactics to shield Trump from scrutiny. However, his loyalty seemed to wane after he found himself facing serious legal troubles of his own.

In 2018, Cohen pleaded guilty to multiple charges, including campaign finance violations related to the hush money payments. He implicated Trump, stating that he made the payments at the direction of the then-candidate, with the intent to influence the 2016 presidential election.

Since then, Cohen has become a key figure in investigations into Trump's business dealings and alleged misconduct. His cooperation with prosecutors has earned him praise from some quarters and condemnation from others, particularly within Trump's circle.


Now, as the hush money trial unfolds, Cohen is poised to take the stand as a star witness. His testimony is expected to shed light on the details of the payments and their connection to Trump. For prosecutors, Cohen's firsthand account could provide crucial evidence to support their case.

During Cohen's testimony, jurors are expected to hear a secret recording of a conversation between Cohen and Trump that took place in September 2016. In this recording, Cohen discusses repaying David Pecker, the CEO of American Media Inc. (AMI), for a $150,000 payment made to former Playboy playmate Karen McDougal. This payment was for the exclusive rights to McDougal's allegations of an affair with Trump, allegations that Trump denies. The recording could be a crucial piece of evidence in the hush money trial, as it directly implicates Trump in discussions about reimbursing the payment made to McDougal. Cohen's involvement in these discussions and his subsequent actions could provide insight into the coordination and financing of the hush money payments, which are central to the prosecution's case.

For the jurors, listening to this recording will likely offer a firsthand glimpse into the conversations that took place behind the scenes regarding the alleged affairs and the efforts to keep them under wraps during the 2016 presidential campaign. The recording may also shed light on Trump's level of involvement and knowledge regarding the payments, potentially influencing their decision in the trial.

"I need to open up a company for the transfer of all of that info regarding our friend, David," Cohen said in the recording, which the jurors briefly heard during the testimony of a custodial witness.

"So, what do we got to pay for this? One-fifty?" Trump said later in the recording.

These excerpts from the recording present a pivotal moment in the conversation between Cohen and Trump. Cohen's mention of opening a company to handle the transfer of information suggests a deliberate effort to orchestrate the reimbursement for the payment made to AMI regarding Karen McDougal's allegations. Trump's inquiry about the payment amount further implies his direct involvement in the financial aspects of the transaction.


For the jurors, these statements provide crucial insight into the discussions surrounding the hush money payments, reinforcing the prosecution's argument that Trump was aware of and participated in efforts to conceal potentially damaging information during his presidential campaign. The recording adds weight to the case against Trump and underscores the significance of Cohen's testimony as a key witness in the trial.

The trial has attracted significant attention, not only because of its implications for Trump but also because it underscores the legal and ethical questions surrounding the conduct of high-profile political figures. The outcome of the trial could have far-reaching consequences, shaping public perception and potentially influencing future legal actions against Trump and his associates.

As Michael Cohen prepares to testify, the spotlight once again turns to the intricate web of relationships and controversies that have defined the Trump presidency. From loyal defender to key witness, Cohen's journey reflects the complexities of power, loyalty, and accountability in American politics.


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