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Michael Cohen Testifies He Lied to Protect Trump Over Stormy Daniels Payment

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During his testimony on Tuesday, Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer, admitted to a New York jury that he repeatedly lied in order to shield the former president from the fallout of the $130,000 hush money payment made to adult film star Stormy Daniels.

Cohen, who previously pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations related to the payment, stated unequivocally that he acted “at the direction of Donald J. Trump” to buy Daniels’ silence in the final days of the 2016 election. He said he falsely claimed to be the sole person behind the payment in order “to protect Mr. Trump” and “demonstrate continued loyalty.”

The longtime fixer portrayed himself as being pressured into misleading the public and authorities about Trump’s involvement in the scheme. He testified that after the FBI raided his home and office in 2018, Trump called to reassure him, saying “There’s nothing here. Everything’s going to be okay.”

Michael Cohen said he felt “reassured” by Trump at the time, but ultimately decided to cooperate with investigators at the urging of his family. He called his guilty plea “the worst day of my life.”

Prosecutors allege Trump later reimbursed Cohen for the hush money through phony legal invoices approved by Trump Organization executives. Cohen testified there was no actual legal work justifying the payments he received.

Under cross-examination by Trump’s defense, Cohen is expected to face intense scrutiny over his own admitted lies and crimes as attorneys seek to discredit his testimony directly implicating the former president.

The dramatic courtroom account on Tuesday provided an inside look at the frantic efforts within Trump’s orbit to contain the Stormy Daniels scandal from derailing his presidential bid. Cohen said the actress’s claims of a 2006 sexual encounter with Trump could have proven “catastrophic” after the Access Hollywood tape emerged.

While Trump has denied the alleged affair, Michael Cohen insisted the former president was singularly focused on burying Daniels’ story, even approving misleading statements denying his involvement in the hush money deal.

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