NY v. Trump trial resumes with ‘star witness’ Michael Cohen expected to take the stand

Former Trump attorney Michael Cohen is expected to take the stand Monday morning to testify in the criminal trial of former President Trump. Cohen is said to be the star witness for Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and his team as they try to prove the former president falsified business records related to a $130,000 payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels.Bragg charged Trump with 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree. Trump has pleaded not guilty to all charges and maintains his innocence. Cohen, who once famously said he would “take a bullet” for Trump, his former longtime boss and friend, will testify against him about his role in arranging the hush money payment to Daniels ahead of the 2016 presidential election in an effort to keep her allegations of a sexual encounter with Trump in the early 2000s from becoming public. MICHAEL COHEN TO TESTIFY IN TRUMP TRIAL ON MONDAYTrump, for years, has denied the encounter with Daniels ever happened.Trump later made several payments of $35,000 to Cohen, who was serving as his personal attorney at the time. The payments totaled $420,000. The payments from Trump to Cohen are the basis for Bragg’s indictment of Trump. Bragg is trying to prove that the payments were reimbursements to Cohen for the hush money payment to Daniels. But Trump defense attorneys maintain that the $35,000 payments were “not a payback,” but were, instead, legal payments. In an exclusive interview with Fox News Digital, Trump said, “If falsifying a business record is because a bookkeeper wrote down ‘legal expense’ in paying a legal fee, that’s not falsifying.HOUSE GOP GOES AFTER ‘CONVICTED LIAR’ MICHAEL COHEN, URGES JUSTICE DEPARTMENT TO INVESTIGATE RECENT LIES”They call it a legal expense, and that’s what it was,” Trump told Fox News Digital. “It was a legal expense. It was legal fees paid to a lawyer. That’s called a legal expense.” Judge Juan Merchan imposed a gag order on the former president, preventing him from speaking about any witnesses. Trump’s legal team has argued that is a violation of his First Amendment rights and filed an appeal. Trump has already been fined $10,000 for violating the gag order — $1,000 per violation — and has been threatened with jail time should he violate the order again. While Cohen is not under any gag order, Merchan on Friday directed prosecutors to tell Cohen not to make statements about Trump or the case. Merchan said he would “direct the people to communicate to Mr. Cohen that the judge is asking him to refrain from making any more statements” about the case or Trump.Merchan told prosecutors to inform Cohen the direction was coming from the bench.TOP REPUBLICANS DOUBLE DOWN ON CALL FOR DOJ PROBE INTO BRAGG’S ‘STAR WITNESS’ MICHAEL COHENCohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to campaign finance violations, making false statements to Congress and tax evasion. He was sentenced to three years in prison. House Republicans, including House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Turner and House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik, have referred Cohen to the Justice Department for investigation, saying he should be subject to further prosecution for lying to Congress. Republicans say that, most recently, Cohen “admitted to lying to Congress” during his testimony in the Letitia James case against Trump. When asked if he was being “honest” in front of the House Intelligence Committee in February 2019, Cohen testified, “No.””So, you lied under oath in February of 2019? Is that your testimony?” Trump attorney Alina Habba asked him.”Yes,” Cohen replied.
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