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Trump lawyers set to cross-examine prosecution's star witness in hush money case

Trump lawyers set to cross-examine prosecution's star witness in hush money case


Trump lawyers set to cross-examine prosecution's star witness in hush money case

NEW YORK — Donald Trump's fixer-turned-foe awaits a bruising round of questioning from the former president's lawyers on Tuesday after testimony that linked the celebrity client to all aspects of a hush money scheme that prosecutors say was aimed at stifling stories that threatened his 2016 campaign.

Michael Cohen returns to the stand Tuesday as the prosecution's star witness, where a day earlier he delivered matter-of-fact testimony that went to the heart of the former president's trial.

“Everything required Mr. Trump’s sign-off,” Cohen said.

He placed Trump at the center of the hush money scheme, saying he had promised to reimburse money the lawyer had fronted for the payments and was constantly apprised of the behind-the-scenes efforts to bury stories feared to be harmful to the campaign.

“We need to stop this from getting out,” Cohen quoted Trump as telling him in reference to porn actor Stormy Daniels' account of a sexual encounter with Trump a decade earlier. The then-candidate was especially anxious about how the story would affect his standing with female voters.

A similar episode occurred when Cohen alerted Trump that a Playboy model was alleging that she and Trump had an extramarital affair. “Make sure it doesn’t get released,” was Cohen’s message to Trump, the lawyer said. The woman, Karen McDougal, was paid $150,000 in an arrangement that was made after Trump received a “complete and total update on everything that transpired.”

“What I was doing, I was doing at the direction of and benefit of Mr. Trump,” Cohen testified.

Trump has pleaded not guilty and has denied both sexual encounters.