Michael Cohen to testify in Donald Trump hush-money investigation

His appearance comes as the inquiry into the $130,000 the former president paid to Stormy Daniels comes to an end


Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s former lawyer and intermediary in the Stormy Daniels hush-money affair, is scheduled to testify before a Manhattan grand jury on Monday about payments made to the adult film performer, according to a report on Saturday.

Cohen’s appearance before a grand jury convened by Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg comes as prosecutors are believed to be nearing the end of an investigation into payments totaling $130,000 that Trump made to Daniels shortly before the 2016 election to stop her discussing their alleged affair.

Cohen has been meeting regularly with Manhattan prosecutors in recent weeks, according to the Associated Press, which reported that the lawyer had been in an all-day sit-down on Friday in preparation for his testimony next week.

He declined to comment as he left the session, saying he’d be “taking a little bit of time now to stay silent and allow the DA build their case.”

On Friday, the New York Times cited four sources saying that Trump had also been offered to testify in the probe that could make the 45th president the first former president to be indicted. Trump is considered unlikely to accept the offer.

However, Trump used social media to deride the investigation, describing it as a “Scam, Injustice, Mockery, and Complete and Total Weaponization of Law Enforcement in order to affect a Presidential Election!”

The criminal probe into payments to Daniels is partially piggybacked on a parallel New York State criminal case that found the Trump Organization guilty on multiple charges of tax fraud and falsifying business records in December.

Possible charges against Trump personally arising from the Manhattan DA investigation include alleged crimes committed in arranging Daniels’ payments, charges relating to how they were accounted for by the Trump Organization and falsifying business records.

The Manhattan district attorney’s probe appeared to go off the rails last year when the newly elected district attorney slowed the investigation and lost two prosecutors.

The investigation was later resurrected and resumed its efforts focusing on hush money payments made to Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal.

Daniels was paid by Cohen through his own company and then reimbursed by Trump, through the Trump Organization which logged the reimbursements as “legal expenses”.

McDougal’s $150,000 payment, arranged by Cohen, was made by the publisher of the supermarket tabloid the National Enquirer, which later killed the story in what was called a “catch-and-kill” operation.

Cohen, now a co-operating witness, pleaded guilty to tax evasion and campaign-finance violations related to the Daniels payments. He was sentenced to three years in federal prison, ordered to pay a $50,000 fine, and later disbarred from working as an attorney.

Federal prosecutors said during Cohen’s criminal case that Trump was aware of the payments to the women but the US attorney’s office in New York declined to pursue criminal charges against Trump who was by then the US president residing in the White House.

Cohen, who worked as Trump’s attorney and fixer from 2006 to 2018, is now estranged from his former boss. Earlier this year, he handed over his cell phones, including voice recordings of conversations he had with a lawyer for Daniels, emails and text messages to the Manhattan district attorney.

Cohen is not the only former member of Trump’s former inner circle to have met prosecutors. Former political adviser Kellyanne Conway and former spokesperson Hope Hicks are also believed to have visited the district attorney’s lower Manhattan offices.


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