Trump Hush Money Trial Heats Up: Defense Claims Michael Cohen Lied

Michael Cohen stands firm amid aggressive trial questioning.

by Nouman Rasool
Trump Hush Money Trial Heats Up: Defense Claims Michael Cohen Lied
© Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Lawyers for ex-President Donald Trump in his hush money trial sent a blistering claim on Thursday: Michael Cohen, the former lawyer, fabricated a crucial phone call he was making to the adult film star Stormy Daniels as part of a negotiation with her.

The dispute concerns Cohen's assertion that he contacted Trump through his bodyguard, Keith Schiller, on October 24, 2016, to inform him that a deal had been reached with Daniels, who performs under the stage name Stephanie Clifford.

Cohen's account came under attack in a hostile cross-examination session by the defense attorney Todd Blanche, who suggested that the phone call did not concern Daniels at all but was, in fact, about a string of a prank calls that Cohen was under at the time.

Prank Calls Disputed

Blanche presented text exchanges between Cohen and a teenager allegedly responsible for the prank calls, highlighting Cohen's intention to report the harassment to the Secret Service. Cohen acknowledged receiving these calls but maintained that the discussion with Trump did occur on the same evening.

Blanche pointedly questioned the veracity of Cohen’s testimony, emphasizing his prior criminal convictions and history of lying under oath, in an effort to discredit his statements. Despite the aggressive questioning, Cohen stood firm, asserting his belief that his testimony was truthful, particularly about the conversation involving both Trump and Schiller, tied to the Daniels settlement.

This trial is critical as Trump has denied any se-ual encounter with Daniels and pleaded not guilty to the charges. The defense’s strategy appears focused on depicting Cohen as unreliable, hoping to undermine his credibility given his admitted past of deceit, which he claims was to protect Trump and his campaign interests.

Cohen, reflecting on his actions, expressed regret for his past conduct, stating, "I regret doing things for him that I should not have. Lying. Bullying people in order to effectuate a goal," but also noted the significant consequences he and his family have faced as a result.

This high-stakes trial continues to unfold, drawing attention to the intricate details of Cohen's allegations and the robust defense efforts to counter them.