Michael Cohen admits stealing from Trump Organization; closing arguments expected next Tuesday – live

Michael Cohen admits stealing from Trump Organization; closing arguments expected next Tuesday – live

Cohen admits stealing from Trump Organization

Hugo Lowell

Trump lawyer Todd Blanche is offering an alternative explanation for the jury about why the repayment to Michael Cohen was “grossed up” – doubled for tax purposes.

Cohen was paid a bonus of $150k in 2015, but only got a $50k bonus in 2016. Blanche argues Cohen used the repayment scheme to get himself the bonus money he thought he was owed.

The logic appears to go like this: Cohen paid the IT company RedFinch $20k during the 2016 campaign. But Cohen told Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg that he needed to be paid back $50k. That meant Cohen stole $30k from the Trump Org.

As the payment was “grossed up”, Cohen actually made $60k. “So you stole from the Trump Organization?” Blanche asks. “Yes sir,” Cohen concedes.

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Key events

Prosecutor Susan Hoffinger is at the lectern for re-direct of Michael Cohen.

Trump lawyer Todd Blanche “asked whether you testified falsely in Congress in 2019. Did you testify truthfully in Congress in 2019?” Hoffinger asked. Cohen said, “Yes, ma’am.”

“Was it Congress in 2017 when you testified falsely?” Cohen said that’s what he thought he said.

Through these questions, Hoffinger established that Cohen misspoke but didn’t lie more than thought.

Michael Cohen said “yes, sir,” when Trump attorney Todd Blanche asked if the trial had affected his personal life.

“When you lied to Congress, you said you were lying out of loyalty, correct?” Blanche asked. “Yes, sir,” Cohen said.

“Loyalty to President Trump?” Correct, Cohen said.

“It’s true that you will lie out of loyalty, correct?” Blanche said, to which Cohen responded, “Yes, sir.”

Blanche is now done with cross examination.

Trump attorney Todd Blanche is pushing hard on the notion that Michael Cohen will pocket money from the case.

“Do you have a financial interest in the outcome of this case?” Cohen said: “Yes, sir.

“Because if President Trump is convicted that would benefit you personally, financially?” Cohen said, “No, sir.”

Blanche continues: “What is your financial interest in this case?” Cohen says:

Whether or not, when you said do I have a financial interest in this case, I talk about it on my podcast, I talk about it on TikTok, they make money, and that’s how I view your question. Whether Trump is ultimately determined innocent or guilty is not going to affect whether I speak about it or not.

Blanche presses: Would it be better for Cohen if Trump were convicted. Cohen replies:

It’s better if he’s not for me, because it gives me more to talk about in the future.

Trump attorney Todd Blanche asks Michael Cohen if Donald Trump, his wife and his family trusted him.

“Along the way, you have a traditional attorney-client relationship with President Trump?” Correct, Cohen responds.

Sometimes, a non-traditional attorney-client relationship? Cohen agreed.

“When do you view your attorney-client relationship with President Trump as ending?” Blanche asked, prompting an objection that was sustained.

Trump attorney Todd Blanche is back at the lectern and resuming his cross of Michael Cohen.

Cohen says he’s working on a third book, but was not paid any money upfront for it, nor is he in dicussions about getting an advance payment.

Blanche now asking about how he’s said he’s considering a run for Congress. Is that true? “Yes, sir.”

Did he say that he’d be a great candidate because he had the “best name recognition out there?” Cohen answered in the affirmative.

My name recognition is because of the journey I’ve been on…not Mr Trump.

“My journey is to tell my story,” Cohen said in response to a follow-up question.

“Your journey has been near-daily attacks on president Trump since 2020?” Blanche said. “Sure.”

The court is back in session after a short break.

The court is taking a short morning break.

Trump attorney Todd Blanche asks Michael Cohen: “You’re also, I’m correct, pitching a TV show based upon your life, correct?”

“I’m not pitching it,” Cohen said, but there’s a television show being discussed.

“Well, who’s pitching it?” Cohen said a man who used to be a part of the “Mea Culpa” podcast would pitch. “He asked if I could send a crew to New York” to work on a flushed out pitch, he said.

Cohen says he has made $4m from books and podcasts since 2020

Trump attorney Todd Blanche is now pushing hard to suggest that Michael Cohen has a financial stake in opposing Donald Trump.

Cohen did great financially until 2018, when the Daniels leak emerged and his guilty plea. “And you had a lot of bills during that time though, correct?” Cohen says: Correct.

Things changed, however, when Cohen started speaking out, Blanche suggested through cross.

“Since your podcast started, you published your book. When did you start your podcast?” “While I was on home confinement.” “So that was in 2020?” Yes.

“Since you started your podcast in the fall of 2020 and wrote your book, how much have you made on a yearly basis until now?” Cohen says:

In total, between the books and the podcasts, about 4 million dollars.

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Trump attorney Todd Blanche is now asking Michael Cohen about an email to lawyer Bob Costello dated 28 June.

Cohen said that there were legal invoices to the Trump Organization from another firm, but that they hadn’t been paid. The email reads:

Not sure what concerns other than non-payment I expressed to you. But I thank you either way for your assistance in speaking to your friend.

Cohen said on the stand that the non-payment was becoming “an issue.”

Blanche is pointing to these emails to suggest that Cohen was OK with Costello — and his relationship with Rudy Giuliani — by pointing to how he was appreciative that Costello chatted with Giuliani about this invoicing concern.

Michael Cohen admits stealing from Trump Organization; closing arguments expected next Tuesday – live

Hugo Lowell

Trump lawyer Todd Blanche is losing his earlier momentum from when he had Michael Cohen say he was actually doing legal work for Donald Trump and family in 2017 even without a retainer, and his confession that he stole from the Trump Organization through the “grossed up” repayment scheme.

We’ve been bogged down with Cohen’s emails with Trump world lawyer Bob Costello and its slow progress.

Trump attorney Todd Blanche is now showing Michael Cohen emails between him and attorney Bob Costello from May 2018, not long after the FBI raided Cohen’s hotel room where he was staying.

Bob, as I have stated in the past, when the right time comes, and not is not the right time, we will advance our conversations regarding this issue. Here are too many hands right now all with varying view points and ideas. I asked you to reach out to Stephen Ryan if there was something to communicate as I can only listen to one person at a time.

Blanche asked: “Would it surprised you to learn that you actually communicated on the phone either you calling Mr Costello or Mr Costello calling you, 75 times?” Cohen said that “seems excessive, but possible.”

Would it surprise you to learn that there were multiple calls that lasted more than a half hour? Cohen says: “No, sir.”

“That you spoke over nine hours over the course of a few months with Mr Costello, would that surprise you?” Blanche asked. Cohen said no.

Recall: Cohen testified last week that Costello was a defense attorney with whom he was afraid of working because of his close proximity to Rudy Giuliani. Cohen said that he feared if he told Costello anything, it would get back to Giuliani and thus, Trump.

Michael Cohen is being grilled on his conversations with reporters in early 2018 – some of which he recorded – where he claimed that Donald Trump knew nothing about the payment to Stormy Daniels.

Trump attorney Todd Blanche is asking about the Stormy Daniels story starting to leak in 2018.

Michael Cohen concedes that he told multiple people that Donald Trump knew nothing about the hush money payment.

Michael Cohen reveals that he was paid some $4m in 2017 for consulting services to several clients, among them AT&T.

“And they paid you $50,000 a month?” Correct. For one year.

Cohen said he “advised them on the issue that was taking place where they wanted to acquire, I believe it was Time Warner.”

He had about 20 communications with AT&T. “And they paid you $600,000?” Trump attorney Todd Blanche said. “And there was nothing wrong with that?” Cohen said he didn’t think so.

Blanche’s line of questioning is manifold. Blanche is trying to hammer down that getting paid hundreds of thousands for doing little legal work was normal – hence his reference to the consultants.

Cohen said that Trump introduced the CEO of AT&T to him, which is how the company became his client.

Blanche, through questioning, reveals that Cohen didn’t immediately disclose to Trump that he had six consulting clients and with the telecom giant. “He was frustrated that you had signed a deal with AT&T, correct?” Cohen said yes.

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