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Admits To Stealing Tens Of Thousands From Trump Org.

Michael Cohen, former personal lawyer to Donald Trump, and attorney Danya Perry leave his apartment building on his way to Manhattan criminal court in New York on May 20, 2024. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

OAN’s Brooke Mallory
3:05 PM – Monday, May 20, 2024

As defense attorneys seized on Michael Cohen’s wrongdoings to undermine his credibility, the now-disgruntled former attorney to Donald Trump revealed to jurors on Monday in the former president’s so-called “hush-money” trial that he stole tens of thousands of dollars from Trump’s organization.

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The defense’s cross-examination of Cohen, whose crucial testimony last week directly linked Trump to the reimbursement of Cohen’s payment to uncover and disprove allegations of an extramarital affair, marked the beginning of the historic trial.

Defense attorneys spent hours grilling Cohen on his prior deceptions and criminal record in order to portray what they claim is his true character as a serial liar and grifter on a crusade to overthrow Trump.

Under questioning by defense lawyer Todd Blanche, Cohen acknowledged that he had stolen money intended for reimbursement of a $50,000 payment he had purportedly made to a technology company called Red Finch. However, Blanche highlighted that Cohen actually gave the IT company only $20,000.

“Cohen, 57, said he paid roughly $20,000 in cash to the tech company out of the $50,000 that it was owed, handing it off in a brown paper bag at his office. He said he kept the rest. The Trump Organization later reimbursed him $100,000 in total,” Reuters reported.

Blanche: “So you stole from the Trump Organization?”

Cohen: “Yes, sir.”

Cohen admitted that he never reimbursed the Trump organization, and he has also never faced charges of embezzling money from Trump’s business.

“He is the last prosecution witness, and it is not yet clear whether Trump’s attorneys will call any witnesses, let alone the presumptive Republican presidential nominee himself,” Newsmax reported.

This is the first criminal trial of a former U.S. president, and jurors could start deliberating as early as next week to determine whether Trump is guilty of 34 felony counts of allegedly falsifying business records after more than four weeks of testimony about sex, money, tabloids, and the specifics of Trump’s company recordkeeping.

Meanwhile, prosecutors working against Trump claim that payments to Cohen, which were recorded as legal expenses in internal Trump Organization records, were actually rewards for Daniels’ silence throughout Democrat efforts to discredit Trump as a presidential candidate.

Trump entered a not guilty plea. According to his attorneys, neither the Daniels transaction nor Cohen’s payment method were unlawful.

Trump: “There’s no crime… We paid a legal expense. You know what it’s marked down as? A legal expense.”

After Cohen left the witness stand, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office rested its case after a brief redirect examination with Cohen. However, prosecutors would have the chance to call witnesses in rebuttal if Trump’s attorneys call witnesses of their own. While citing scheduling issues, Judge Juan M. Merchan has stated that he anticipates closing arguments to take place on May 28th, the Tuesday following Memorial Day.

It has not been determined by Trump’s defense attorneys if he will testify. Since it frequently causes more harm than good, defense lawyers are usually hesitant to put their clients on the witness stand, if possible, and subject them to cross-examination by prosecutors.

On the witness stand, Cohen, the now-disbarred lawyer, acknowledged lying under oath and committing other lies, many of which he alleges were done to “protect Trump.”

After entering a guilty plea to many federal counts, including lying to Congress, a bank, and participating in campaign finance violations involving payments related to media tabloids before the 2016 presidential race, Cohen was sentenced to prison.

In addition, Cohen has made millions of dollars by publishing scathing books about the former president, whom he frequently disparages indelicately on social media.

Cohen now says that Trump had a direct hand in the plan to buy Daniels’ silence about her 2006 alleged sexual encounter with him in order to keep her quiet late in the 2016 presidential campaign.

Nevertheless, Trump still maintains that he did not have a sexual relationship with Stormy.

Cohen provided the jury with information regarding his meetings and purported conversations with Trump, including one from 2017 in which he alleges to have discussed with Trump and then-chief financial officer of the Trump Organization how he would recover the cost of the Daniels payment and how it would be invoiced as “legal services.”

A pivotal event occurred on Thursday when Blanche accused Cohen of lying to Trump’s bodyguard during a phone call made a few days before he sent $130,000 to Daniels’ attorney.

Cohen testified in court saying that he discussed the payment to allegedly suppress Daniels’ story with Trump during that conversation.

However, Blanche presented Cohen with certain obtained text messages, asserting that Cohen had been discussing harassing phone calls from a young practical joker with Trump’s bodyguard.

Blanche: “That was a lie. You did not talk to President Trump on that night … You can admit it?”

Cohen: “No, sir, I can’t.”

The prosecution claims that the payments constituted campaign-finance violations. However, Trump’s attorneys have stated they may call up Bradley A. Smith, a law professor appointed to the Federal Election Commission by former President Bill Clinton, to contest this claim.

Smith’s options are restricted by the judge, and the defense may ultimately choose not to call him.

Expert testimony in legal situations is frequently subject to restrictions since Judge Merchan, a Democrat, is the one who should advise juries on relevant legislation, not a hired expert for either side.

Merchan decided that Smith could provide a general overview of the FEC, the regulations it upholds, and the meanings of terminology like “campaign contribution.” However, he is unable to assess whether the former president’s purported activities are in violation of federal campaign finance laws or to interpret how those laws relate to the particulars of Trump’s case.

The defense has repeatedly asked the judge to dismiss the case. Judge Merchan agreed to rule on this motion at a later date.

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