Trump said ‘This is a disaster’ after hearing Stormy Daniels could go public, Michael Cohen testifies

Michael Cohen, former attorney for Donald Trump, arrives at court in New York City, March 13, 2023.

Eduardo Munoz | Reuters

Michael Cohen testified Monday he feared there would be a “catastrophic” effect on the 2016 presidential campaign of Donald Trump if porn star Stormy Daniels went public with her claim of having sex with the billionaire real estate mogul a decade earlier.

Cohen said Trump was very angry to learn that Daniels was again shopping around her account, five years after his then-personal lawyer and fixer Cohen first notified Trump about the potential story becoming public.

” ‘I thought you took care of this,’ ” Trump said, Cohen testified Monday in Manhattan Supreme Court at Trump’s criminal hush money trial. ″ ‘I thought this was under control.’ “

Trump then said, ″ ‘This is a disaster, a total disaster. Women will hate me,’ ” the 57-year-old Cohen testified.

” ‘Guys will think it’s cool, but this is going to be a disaster for the campaign!’ ” Trump fumed, according to Cohen.

Cohen noted that at the time that he learned Daniels might sell her story of a one-night stand with Trump, the then-Republican nominee Trump “was polling very poorly with women.”

“And this, coupled with the previous Access Hollywood tape” made Trump upset, Cohen testified, referring to the infamous recording that captured Trump boasting of kissing women and grabbing their genitals without prior consent.

Michael Cohen is questioned by prosecutor Susan Hoffinger as former U.S. President Donald Trump sits with his eyes closed during Trump’s criminal trial on charges that he falsified business records to conceal money paid to silence porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016, in Manhattan state court in New York City, U.S. May 13, 2024 in this courtroom sketch. 

Jane Rosenberg | Reuters

Earlier Monday, Cohen testified that Trump had warned him that “just be prepared, there’s going to be a lot of women coming forward,” once he announced that he was running for president in 2015.

Cohen also testified about secretly recording Trump during a meeting about reimbursing the publisher of The National Enquirer for making a $150,000 hush money payment to a Playboy model to buy her silence about an alleged affair with Trump.

Pay with cash,” Trump says on that recording. The publisher ended up not being reimbursed.

Cohen’s revelations came on his first day of testimony at Trump’s New York criminal hush money trial, where he detailed efforts to protect Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016 from being harmed by salacious disclosures.

Once slavishly devoted to Trump, Cohen is now his avowed enemy and could be the key witness against him in the case.

Cohen paid Daniels $130,000 shortly before the 2016 presidential election, in exchange for her silence about Trump.

When a prosecutor asked him if he would have paid Daniels without getting a “sign-off” from Trump, Cohen said no.

“Because everything required Mr. Trump’s sign-off,” said Cohen, who also said, “I wanted my money back.”

Trump said, “Good, good,” when Cohen informed him he had paid Daniels, Cohen testified.

“Don’t worry, you will get the money back,” Trump also said, according to Cohen.

Trump’s reimbursement of Cohen for that payoff while he was serving in the White House is the basis for the Manhattan District Attorney’s case against the ex-president.

The Trump Organization reported the Daniels-related reimbursements, which ended up totaling $420,000 over 12 months, to Cohen as legal expenses.

But District Attorney Alvin Bragg alleges that this constituted a crime — falsification of business records — committed by Trump to hide the fact that the hush money had protected his then-wobbling presidential candidate at a key moment.

Trump, who denies having sex with Daniels, says the felony charges are bogus. The presumptive Republican presidential nominee calls them an effort by a Democratic prosecutor to damage his chances to win the upcoming election against President Joe Biden.

Trump’s lawyers have suggested he had Cohen pay off Daniels because he was worried about the effect on his family, particularly his wife Melania, if the adult film actress went public with her story about having sex with Trump months after Melania Trump gave birth to the couple’s son Barron.

Cohen testified that at one point during discussions about the hush money situation he asked Trump “How things gonna go upstairs?” a reference to Melania Trump.

Donald Trump replied, “Don’t worry. How long do you think I’ll be on the market for? Not long,” Cohen testified.

In addition to making the payment to Daniels, Cohen was closely involved in the arrangement of the other hush money payment that is a key element of the case, to Playboy model Karen McDougal by the publisher of the National Enquirer in 2016 in exchange for her story of an affair with Trump.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump sits with his eyes closed and New York County District Attorney Alvin Bragg watches as Michael Cohen is questioned by prosecutor Susan Hoffinger during…

Source link