Michael Cohen testifies at trial: Trump sanctioned ‘false record’ to conceal hush money payment

Donald Trump‘s former fixer Michael Cohen has told his ‘hush money’ trial of a secret plan where the former president approved alleged false records during an Oval Office meeting.

Mr Cohen, the prosecution’s star witness at Trump’s criminal trial in New York, told jurors on Tuesday that the former president ordered him to pay porn star Stormy Daniels to keep her quiet about an alleged 2006 affair.

Mr Cohen’s $130,000 payment in October 2016 is at the heart of Trump’s trial, the first for a former US president.

Trump, 77, the 2024 Republican presidential candidate frontrunner, has pleaded not guilty and denies any sexual encounter with Ms Daniels.

In testimony Mr Cohen recounted an Oval Office meeting with Mr Trump in February 2017 when the newly inaugurated president told him he would soon be receiving the first two instalments of a bonus package. 

That package, Mr Cohen claimed, included reimbursements for the Daniels payment.

Prosecutors say Mr Trump paid Mr Cohen back after the election by creating false records indicating they were for legal fees.

Those disguised reimbursements provide the basis for the 34 counts of falsifying business records that Mr Trump faces.

Prosecutor Susan Hoffinger walked Mr Cohen through a series of invoices and checks – some signed by Trump himself – that Cohen said were falsely marked as paying to retain him for legal services.

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