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Monday June 24, 2024

Cohen tells court Donald Trump asked him to 'take care of Stormy Daniels story'

Michael Cohen’s testimony came after Stormy Daniels herself testified about her alleged encounter with Donald Trump

By Web Desk
May 14, 2024
Former President Donald Trump, with attorney Todd Blanche, right, arrives at Manhattan criminal court in New York, on Friday, May 10, 2024. — Reuters
Former President Donald Trump, with attorney Todd Blanche, right, arrives at Manhattan criminal court in New York, on Friday, May 10, 2024. — Reuters 

Michael Cohen, once Donald Trump's lawyer and fixer, testified in a Manhattan court on Monday about the former president's efforts to bury a story involving adult film star Stormy Daniels just weeks before the 2016 election.

Cohen told the court that all payments and hush money decisions required Trump's approval. He also provided an audio recording where Trump dismissed the allegations as false. 

Cohen recounted how Trump demanded he "just take care of it," referring to Daniels's allegations of a sexual encounter with Trump a decade earlier.

Cohen, 57, described Trump as furious at the prospect of Daniels going public, especially following the release of a recording where Trump bragged about groping women without consent. “This was a disaster, a fucking disaster,” Cohen recalled Trump saying. “Women will hate me.”

Central to the case, Cohen explained how he arranged a $130,000 payment to Daniels days before the election to ensure her silence. He said he had previously helped keep Daniels's story off a gossip site in 2011. “He was really angry with me,” Cohen said of Trump's reaction when informed about Daniels. Trump had asked, “I thought you had this under control? I thought you took care of this.”

Prosecutors argued that Trump's reimbursement of Cohen in 2017 was illegal because it was falsely recorded as a legal expense.

Cohen detailed his long history with Trump, from their first meeting to being hired full-time as executive vice president and counsel. He described how he managed various issues for Trump, including dealing with negative press and resolving controversies like Trump University. “It was whatever concerned him, whatever he wanted,” Cohen said.

He recounted a meeting in 2015 with David Pecker, publisher of the National Enquirer, where they allegedly planned to suppress negative stories about Trump. Pecker promised to alert them about any damaging information and help stop it from being published. Cohen also detailed efforts to kill a story about a former Trump Tower doorman’s claim of Trump having a "love child."

Cohen revealed that in 2016, Pecker facilitated a $150,000 agreement with former Playboy model Karen McDougal to silence her story. Trump’s response to such arrangements was usually enthusiastic. “Fantastic! Great job!” Cohen quoted Trump as saying.