Michael Cohen, key witness against Trump, testifies at trial about “hush money” payments

Cohen revealed his awareness of Daniels’ intentions to disclose her story to the Daily Mail, a newspaper in the UK. He recounted a moment when Trump acknowledged the necessity of sealing the agreement.

“[Trump] mentioned to me that after consulting with astute acquaintances, the consensus was, ‘It’s only $130,000 and you’re a multibillionaire, just settle it. There’s no good in dragging this out, just handle it,'” Cohen testified. “So, he directed me, ‘Proceed with it. Connect with Allen Weisselberg and resolve this issue.'”

Weisselberg, who served for many years as the financial head of the Trump Organization, was someone Cohen pointed to for immediate payment handling.

“I proposed to Allen, ‘You’re in a chief financial position, earning in the millions, why not just take care of it yourself?'” Cohen recounted. However, Weisselberg refused, citing financial commitments like tuition for four grandchildren and summer camp, as per Cohen.

“Given the urgency, especially with the looming Daily Mail story, I eventually agreed to handle the finances,” Cohen stated, noting that Weisselberg guaranteed Trump would reimburse him. He mentioned their three-way discussion, where he agreed to provide the funds in advance.

“He assured me, ‘Don’t stress over it, you’ll receive the funds,'” Cohen attested.

In response to whether he would have financed the arrangement without the certainty of repayment, Cohen affirmed: “Absolutely not. It was $130,000. My efforts always revolved around shielding my boss, as had been the case for a considerable time, yet I was not in a position to finance a nondisclosure agreement for someone else.”

He resorted to opening a home equity credit line to avoid alerting his spouse about a hefty withdrawal from their shared bank account. “My plan was to deposit the refund from Mr. Trump discreetly once received,” he admitted.

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