Michael Cohen admits he stole money from Donald Trump's company - Hindustan Times
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Michael Cohen admits he stole money from Donald Trump's company

May 21, 2024 06:59 AM IST

Michael Cohen admits he shelled out from Donald Trump's company through a technology firm during hush-money trial.

The former lawyer and “fixer” of Donald Trump, Michael Cohen, told jurors he stole tens of thousands of dollars from Trump’s company on the last day of the hush-money trial as defence attorneys started to press.

Michael Cohen, right, testifies on the witness stand with Judge Juan Merchan presiding in Manhattan criminal court, Monday, May 20, 2024, in New York. (Elizabeth Williams via AP)(AP)
Michael Cohen, right, testifies on the witness stand with Judge Juan Merchan presiding in Manhattan criminal court, Monday, May 20, 2024, in New York. (Elizabeth Williams via AP)(AP)

On Monday, Cohen returned to the stand a fourth time for the defence to re-examine him. Trump's lead lawyer, Todd Blanche, asked him whether he received reimbursement for the $50,000 he said Cohen had paid to a technology firm, RedFinch that he was using as a shell company. Cohen also admitted that he gave the technology firm just $20,000 in cash in a brown paper bag, he noted.

Blanche pressed out the admission from Cohen

“You did steal from the Trump Organization?” Blanche asked.

Cohen replied, “Yes, sir.”

The trial, marking the first criminal case against an ex-U.S. president, is nearing its conclusion, with closing arguments anticipated next week.

The former president faces 34 felony charges for allegedly falsifying records to disguise reimbursements to Cohen for a hush-money payment as legal fees.

ALSO READ| Trump Media and Technology Group posts more than $300 million net loss in first public quarter

However, Trump pleaded not guilty. And his lawyers claimed that there was nothing criminal in the former president's doing.

“There’s no crime,” Trump told reporters on Monday while entering the court.

“We paid a legal expense. You know what it’s marked down as? A legal expense.”

Trump's lawyer has been undermining the credibility of Cohen

The now-disbarred attorney has also acknowledged on the witness stand that he was compromised in the past to lie under oath and other things which he claims are meant to exonerate Trump. Cohen pleaded and had to go and serve time in federal prison for various crimes such as including lying to Congress and banks, as well as campaign finance to hide payments to women.

RedFinch’s task was to elevate Trump’s status in a poll of prominent business figures. Prosecutor Susan Hoffinger pressed Cohen on his motives for claiming the excess amount: “Why did you take that extra 30?”.

Cohen cited anger over a reduced bonus, the reimbursement was “almost like self-help.”

Cohen also sought repayment for a $130,000 payment to pornstar Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election. A key document, annotated by Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg, outlined Cohen’s reimbursement strategy for both the Daniels payment and Red Finch expenses.

ALSO READ| Trump's 35 second long freeze during speech sparks concerns & rebuke, netizens debate ‘long glitch’ or ‘unfit to serve’

The trial centres on the repercussions of the hush money to Daniels, who alleges a sexual encounter with Trump, a claim he denies. The charges stem from the manner in which these reimbursements were documented.

But seeing Cohen's past record Trump’s lawyers with ammunition to question his reliability. “Without Mr Cohen, there is no case,” Blanche argued in front of Justice Juan Merchan.

Blanche depicted Cohen as driven by financial gain, noting his earnings from anti-Trump books and podcasts. Late on Monday, he asked, “The question to you today is whether a conviction benefits you financially.”

Cohen responded, “The answer is no”.

“It's better if he's not [convicted], because it gives me more to talk about in the future.”

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