JUST IN: Michael Cohen’s Testimony Gets Off To A Rough Start

Prosecutors going up against former President Donald Trump’s had a bad start to the week as Michael Cohen, a central figure in the hush money trial who claims to have handled an illegal payment directed by Trump himself.

Cohen appeared “visibly nervous” at the start of Monday’s proceedings, according to Fox News, as he prepared to deliver make-or-break testimony that Trump’s attorneys claim is coming from a “convicted liar.” Cohen previously served prison time for tax charges and lying to Congress.

Deputies to Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg began the quizzing with relatively innocuous questions about Cohen’s work history with Trump, who allegedly paid him $525,000 annually toward the end of the 2016 election. Cohen has maintained that he personally paid $130,000 to Stormy Daniels, an adult film star who testified last week, to silence her from speaking with reporters about a tryst with Trump more than a decade ago. Cohen privately griped that Trump failed to reimburse him for funds, which were categorized by the Trump empire as a legal expense, not a political one to benefit his presidential campaign.

Cohen further stepped on the prosecution’s case when he described the atmosphere of his former workplace. Working for Trump, “was fantastic… working for him of those 10 years was an amazing experience… there were great times, there were less than great times, but for the most part, I enjoyed the responsibilities given to me,” he testified.

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Allies to President Trump, including U.S. House Oversight Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-OH), have railed against Cohen for blaming his legal misfortunes on Trump. Upon his release from prison, Cohen said his crime “in no way negates the actions I took at the direction of and for the benefit of Donald J. Trump” according to the AP. Nor would the 13 months’ imprisonment and subsequent home confinement “cease my commitment to law enforcement,” he added.

“I will continue to provide information, testimony, documents and my full cooperation on all ongoing investigations to ensure that others are held responsible for their dirty deeds and that no one is ever believed to be above the law,” Cohen said.

The former “fixer” does not have entirely clean hands when it comes to his motivations for testifying. Since the 2020 election, Cohen has written two books about his time with Trump, fashioning himself as a truth teller soothsayer who knew Trump would come back for revenge if he lost the election to President Joe Biden. His critics have also pointed out that Cohen has monetized himself online, providing commentary on the trial while accepting small-dollar gifts from viewers.

President Trump didn’t appear to be sweating his former lawyer’s appearance. Shortly before proceedings began, the Republican stopped outside of the courtroom to bask in new polling showing him leading President Biden in nearly every battleground state.

“The New York Times just came out with a poll that shows us leading everywhere by a lot. This is the cover story. And I think you’ll find it very interesting, but I’m sure you’ve all read it. Leading in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Michigan, Georgia and Nevada. Nevada, we are leading actually by 12 points, which is generally a Democrat state,” Trump said.


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