Cohen’s testimony in the case of buying silence: Trump was always aware of what was going on

Michael Cohen, the former lawyer for former US President Donald Trump, was subjected to a new interrogation on Tuesday in the case of buying silence in which the latter is being tried, at a time when a senior Republican official added a political character to the trial by attending the session to support the former president.

Cohen, who worked for years as Trump’s client, is the main witness for the prosecution in the criminal trial that the former president is subjected to on charges of paying money to pornographic film actress, Stormy Daniels.

During Cohen’s testimony on Tuesday, Trump leaned back in his chair, his eyes closed and his head tilted. He moved from time to time, sometimes leaning forward, opening his eyes, and making a comment to his lawyer before returning to his place, according to the Associated Press.

Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to charges of tax evasion, making false statements to Congress, and violating campaign finance laws after he admitted to paying Daniels $130,000 on behalf of Trump to buy her silence about an alleged sexual relationship in 2006.

According to the prosecution, the amount was reimbursed in 2017 as “legal fees” in the accounts of the Trump Organization’s holding company, in order to conceal the use of funds to cover up the relationship with Daniels.

Cohen spent nearly 13 months in prison and a year and a half under house arrest, after he was sentenced to three years in prison on charges of lying to Congress and committing financial crimes.

Trump is being prosecuted on charges of falsifying accounting documents to hide the trace of this amount.

After Cohen answered prosecutors’ questions for more than five hours on Monday, one of the prosecutors asked Cohen on Tuesday whether he had received 11 checks, most of which were signed by Trump, in exchange for 11 forged invoices he submitted for a refund, and Cohen replied, “Yes.”

Cohen explained to the jury how he arranged the payment to Daniels and averted a “disastrous” scandal that could prevent Trump from reaching the White House. “I was doing everything in my power and more to protect my president, which I have been doing for a long time,” he said.

Cohen explained to the jury how the Trump campaign sought to silence people by buying their silence, which is what is said to have happened with Daniels. He added: “To maintain loyalty and do the things I was asked to do, I violated my moral compass, and I suffered punishment along with my family.”

Cohen testified that Trump was always aware of what was going on behind the scenes to bury stories that he feared would be harmful to his campaign.

When the prosecution presented business records to jurors, Cohen explained that the payments were intended to buy Daniels’ silence and were not in exchange for legal services he provided or a fee.

The prosecution asked him: “Were the descriptions on the check stub wrong?” He replied: “Yes.”

Prosecutors were keen to mitigate the lack of credibility of the former lawyer who was sentenced to prison on charges related to lying, and were keen to portray Cohen as a long-time Trump loyalist who committed crimes on behalf of the former president.

On the witness stand, Cohen described in detail the FBI raid of his office in April 2018, which marked the beginning of the end of his relationship with Trump.

The prosecution asked him: “How would you describe your life when it turned upside down?” He replied: “I was worried, desperate, and angry.”

When asked: “Were you afraid?” he replied: “Yes.”

But he was encouraged by a phone call from Trump, which he said reassured him and convinced him to remain in the former president’s camp.

Cohen told the jury that he “felt reassured that the president of the United States had my back.”

But his family made him realize how harmful it was to cling to his boss, and his wife told him: “What are you doing? We are supposed to be your first loyalty.”

That’s when he realized, “It’s time to listen to them.”

Trump was joined in court by prominent Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson and potential vice presidential nominee Vivek Ramaswamy.

Johnson delivered a speech outside the court in which he repeated Trump’s persistent claim that the judicial system was using a “tool” against the Republican candidate.

Johnson and other Republican lawmakers are speaking on behalf of Trump, while he himself remains blocked by a court order.

“I have a lot of people who speak very nicely on my behalf,” Trump told the court. “They come from all over Washington, they’re well-respected, and they think this is the biggest scam they’ve ever seen.”

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