Cohen reveals insider details at trial, Trump’s defense claims motive is vengeance

It wasn't until after a decade in the fold, after his family pleaded with him, after the FBI raided his office, apartment and hotel room, Michael Cohen testified Tuesday, that he finally decided to turn on Donald Trump.

The complicated break led to a 2018 guilty plea to federal charges involving a payment to the porn actor Stormy Daniels to bury her story of an alleged sexual encounter with Trump and to other, unrelated crimes.

And it’s that insider knowledge of shady deals that pushed Manhattan prosecutors to make Cohen the star witness in their case against Trump about that same payment, which they say was an illegal effort to influence the 2016 presidential election.

“To keep the loyalty and to do the things that he had asked me to do, I violated my moral compass, and I suffered the penalty, as has my family,” Cohen testified Tuesday.

But defense attorneys sought to portray Cohen as motivated by vengeance on his former boss, confronting him on the witness stand with his own profane social media about Trump and wanting to see the former president in handcuffs.

The most stunning moment came outside the courtroom Tuesday, when House Speaker Mike Johnson showed up with Trump, who used his powerful bully pulpit to turn his political party against the rule of law by declaring the trial illegitimate. He and other GOP lawmakers are serving as surrogates while Trump himself remains barred by a gag order in the case following an appeals court ruling Tuesday.

"I don't recall saying that, but I wouldn’t put it past me,” Cohen testified.

(AP)


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