Home Australia Key takeaways from Michael Cohen’s blockbuster testimony: How fixer stiffed contractors to please Trump and was furious he didn’t get a bonus or top White House job after working out the Stormy Daniels deal

Key takeaways from Michael Cohen’s blockbuster testimony: How fixer stiffed contractors to please Trump and was furious he didn’t get a bonus or top White House job after working out the Stormy Daniels deal

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Cohen testified about his early days telling Trump University vendors that they only got 20 percent. But in 2016 it felt

Michael Cohen was new to the job and eager to please his new boss by telling him he was worth his new $375,000 salary and his office in the Fifth Avenue skyscraper.

So, in an early display of his tough-guy lawyer skills, he set to work on a pending billing puzzle at the ill-fated Trump University. Some 50 suppliers had not received payment from him, with a total that “far exceeded” the $2 million available in the company’s bank account.

The personal injury attorney got to work and created a handwritten spreadsheet that’basically got 20 percent of everyone’s bill, denying each of them 80 percent of what they were owed. (Two other suppliers ‘just left’). She called each of them one by one to tell them what they were getting.

Donald Trump’s response when Cohen told him what he accomplished? “Fantastic,” Cohen testified. He made him feel “like he was on top of the world,” in a company he described as “a big family.”

Years later, it would be Cohen’s turn to feel what it was like to feel stiff, even after helping guide Trump to the White House. His annual bonus amounted to two-thirds of what he had been before.

“I felt truly insulted, personally hurt by it,” Cohen told prosecutor Susan Hoffinger. He told her it was ‘really pissed off and angry’ and that’I used quite a few swear words.

Cohen testified about his early days telling Trump University vendors that they only got 20 percent. But in 2016 he felt “insulted” by the Trump bonus he received after personally contributing $130,000 to pay Stormy Daniels.

Then he was left out when Trump was assembling his first team in Washington, turning down a job he said he didn’t want and wishing to at least be mentioned as Trump’s White House chief of staff, a position he was never offered.

The change provided a glimpse of how Cohen would go from someone devoted to Trump (“I would only answer to him”) to the prosecution’s key witness in a criminal case that could put his former boss in jail.

Below are key takeaways from Cohen’s first day on the stand in the Stormy Daniels trial:

Cohen transforms from henchman to boy scout

The jury had already heard how Cohen could be a ‘moron,’ a ‘thug,’ and an enforcer of Trump, and he already served three years in prison and home confinement for lying to Congress and a campaign finance violation.

But the Michael Cohen who appeared in Manhattan Criminal Court seemed more like an Eagle Scout than an enforcer.

Introducing himself as coming from a family “consisting of doctors and lawyers,” Cohen’s most frequent response to Hoffinger was “Yes, ma’am.”

He referred to Trump – whom he has ridiculed online as President ‘Von Schitzenpants’ – through the polite and humble ‘Mr. Trump,” sometimes describing conversations in which he used the more submissive “boss.”

She constantly sought Trump’s approval and was thrilled when she earned it.

At times, he spoke as if he were dusting off a LinkedIn profile. ‘Working for him, especially for those ten years, was an incredible experience in many, many ways. There were great moments. There were several moments that were not very good,” he added.

He maintained that disposition even when describing less decorous activities, such as creating a shell company in case of payment to a Playboy model who said she had an affair with Trump.

Was he being sincere? -No ma’am.

He has had plenty of time to practice, having testified for House Democrats in 2019 and at Trump’s fraud trial in New York. Whether she can maintain his cheerful demeanor under withering interrogation is yet to be determined.

Wearing a blue suit and light-colored tie, his hair growing grayer since his time as Trump’s consigliere, Cohen spoke directly and rarely offered more details than necessary. He apologized when he occasionally slipped up.

When he lunged at the judge at one point, the attorney looked toward the bench to make sure it was okay to continue. “No, you can answer,” the judge told him.

Former President Trump occasionally closed his eyes as Cohen spoke in detail about the payment arrangements

Former President Trump occasionally closed his eyes as Cohen spoke in detail about “quiet” payment agreements with women he helped negotiate.

Cohen said Trump said Stormy Daniels was

Cohen said Trump said Stormy Daniels was “beautiful” but did not say directly when asked if he slept with the porn star.

Cohen asked Trump if he knew who Karen McDougal was or

Cohen asked Trump if he knew who Karen McDougal was or “anything about the story.” (She claims she had a months-long affair with Trump.) “His response to her was, ‘She’s really beautiful,'” she testified.

More evidence of Trump’s micromanagement

Prosecutors would surely elicit more testimony from Cohen that Trump watched every penny at his company, countering the defense that Trump did not himself authorize the bribe Cohen received.

‘When I ordered something from you, I told you: keep me informed. Let me know what’s going on,” Cohen said. And Trump wanted to stay in the loop.

“As soon as you had a result, an answer, you would go back and tell them,” he said.

The same was true for veteran CFO Allen Weisselberg, who helped structure Stormy’s payment and, according to Cohen, came up with the idea of ​​calling the monthly payments a legal retainer.

“Every penny that came in or went out went through Allen’s office,” he said. He identified Ginsberg’s handwriting on a document that paid him $360,000 in “gross” expenses to pay Daniels, while giving her a $60,000 bonus to make up for the one that infuriated him.

Melania Trump invented the excuse of Trump’s ‘locker room talk’ before the devastating film ‘Access Hollywood’

Cohen testified that Trump told him that Melania Trump was behind what became the first spin on the ‘Access Hollywood’ tape, which for a time looked like it could sink Trump’s campaign.

The tape, where Trump talked about being able, as a celebrity, to grab women by the ass, spoke of an urgent effort to try to take control of history. While traveling to London with her family at the time, Cohen stepped away from the dinner to make a couple of phone calls with Trump.

‘He wanted me to get in touch with all my media contacts. We needed to turn this around. The spin I wanted to put on it was that it was a locker room talk, something that Melania had recommended or at least told me that was what Melania had thought it was and to use it to have control over the story and minimize its impact on him and his campaign,” Cohen testified.

Melania resurfaced in her testimony about Daniels, this time with Cohen consulting with ‘the boss’ to see how he could handle the news with the story about to break again.

“I told him how things are going to go upstairs,” Cohen said, looking up as he described a conversation he said took place inside Trump Tower, where Trump has a penthouse.

Cohen said he was worried. But Trump was not.

‘Don’t worry. He says…how long do you think I’ll be on the market? Not long. He wasn’t thinking about Melania. “All this was for the campaign.”

Trump wouldn’t directly tell Cohen whether he slept with women who claimed he slept with them, but he would talk about her beauty.

Cohen said Trump did not answer directly when he asked if Trump and Daniels had sex. That was probably part of his due diligence as he analyzed whether he should pay people who were trying to sell a story and as he negotiated a price.

But Trump did admit that Daniels was a “beautiful woman.” (That contrasts with what Trump has called Daniels online amid the fury over her case. “Horseface” has been an insult.)

Cohen said Trump told him he met Daniels at a 2006 golf tournament while playing with Pittsburgh Steelers star Big Ben Roethlisberger.

Cohen smiled as he described Trump’s boast about how he lived up to the football pro. “But she liked Mr. Trump and that women prefer Trump even to someone like Big Ben,” she said.

Trump also gushed about former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who was paid $150,000 through American Media Inc. and claims she had an affair with Trump.

He said he went to Trump’s office and said, ‘Boss, I have to talk to you.’

He asked Trump if he knew who McDougal was or “anything about the story.”

“His response was, ‘She’s really beautiful,'” he said.

“I said, ‘Okay, but there’s a story…”‘ Cohen continued.

When asked if Trump asked him to take any action, he responded: “Make sure it doesn’t get published.”

Prosecutors expose Cohen’s vulnerabilities: He manages to ‘overcharge’ and not be honest with banks

He complained that Trump had cheated him out of a bonus, but Cohen came up with his own scam, he admitted Monday.

During detailed testimony about a document that listed his “gross” reimbursement for the $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels, he explained about a notation for an additional $50,000.

Cohen says it was for a “different type of matter” than two years earlier, which involved paying a company called Red Finch for “technical services.” Cohen wanted to get the money from the Trump Organization’s chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, but Trump wouldn’t pay. “He didn’t feel like he got the benefit of what he wanted,” Cohen said.

Cohen had other jobs at the company and did not want to harm it. He told the CEO ‘I’ll take care of you’ and took money from his own bank to pay him a portion of the amount.

But when it came time to settle with the Trump Organization, Cohen asked to be paid the full $50,000.

When asked why he asked for $50,000, he told Hoffinger, “Because that’s what was owed and I didn’t feel that Mr. Trump deserved the benefit of the difference,” he responded, essentially confirming an overcharge.

Was he going to keep the rest? Hoffinger asked him, in an investigation that prosecutors will surely want to follow up on.

“That’s what I ended up doing,” he replied.

Cohen also admitted that he made false statements to banks when he created an LLC to process hush payments. But he had a reason ready when they asked him why he hadn’t told the truth. “I’m not sure they would have opened it if it said: To pay an adult film star for a confidentiality agreement,” he said.

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