Former US President Donald Trump on trial for 2016 hush money payment

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Former US President Donald Trump is currently on trial in New York City, facing felony charges related to a 2016 hush money payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels. This marks the first time in history that a former US president has been tried on criminal charges. Trump, who pleaded not guilty last April to a 34-count indictment, is accused of falsifying business records in connection with the payment made by his then-attorney Michael Cohen to Daniels to boost his 2016 presidential campaign.

Key Points

– Historic Trial: Donald Trump faces criminal charges in a New York City trial.

– Charges: Accused of falsifying business records related to a hush money payment.

– Michael Cohen’s Testimony: Cohen testified about his actions and their consequences.

Michael Cohen testified about the fallout from his work for Trump, stating he lost his law license as a direct result of his actions. “I lost my law license as a direct result of this,” he said. Cohen, who wrote the books “Disloyal” and “Revenge” while in prison, described the latter as a “forensic dissection of the prosecution … against a critic of the president.”

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During the trial, the jury was shown a 2023 social media post by Trump referring to Cohen as a “convicted liar and felon.” Prosecutor Susan Hoffinger questioned Cohen about Trump’s lawsuit against him in Florida for half a billion dollars. Cohen expressed regret for his actions on behalf of Trump, stating, “I regret doing things for him that I should not have. Lying. Bullying people in order to effectuate a goal.”

Impact of the Trial

Cohen’s testimony included details about his 2018 guilty plea to campaign finance charges related to the Stormy Daniels payment and other tax charges. He served 13 months in federal prison before being sent to home confinement during the COVID-19 pandemic. Cohen testified that he was sent back to prison after refusing to sign an agreement prohibiting him from speaking or writing publicly.

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Regarding his tax charges, Cohen acknowledged an error in his tax filings but argued that he was treated unfairly by prosecutors. “What I did dispute, and I continue to dispute, is for a first-time offender … never having been audited, that this would go immediately to a criminal charge.”

Cohen’s Personal Reflections

Cohen told the jury about his 2018 guilty plea for campaign finance violations and other tax evasion charges. When asked about the day of his guilty plea, Cohen described it as the “worst day of my life.” The jury also saw tweets from Trump in August 2018 following Cohen’s guilty pleas, causing Cohen significant anxiety and stress.

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He interpreted Trump’s tweets as a sign of displeasure and his diminished importance to Trump.

Cohen reported to federal prison on May 6, 2019, and was sentenced to three years in prison followed by three years of supervised release. He apologized to Congress, the country, and his family in February 2019, asserting that the public had a right to know about the actions of the individual seeking the highest office in the land.

This trial is a landmark moment in US history, marking the first time a former president faces criminal charges. The testimonies and evidence presented could have significant implications for the legal and political landscape. The involvement of key figures like Michael Cohen, who played a pivotal role in Trump’s inner circle, adds a layer of complexity and insight into the operations of the Trump Organization.

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