Michael Cohen Cops to Stealing $30,000 From Trump

Andrea Renault/Star Max/GC Images/Getty
Andrea Renault/Star Max/GC Images/Getty

Michael Cohen isn’t just a convicted liar and disbarred attorney. He’s also an admitted thief.

The testimony from the Manhattan district attorney’s lead witness against Donald Trump took a dive Monday morning, when the ex-president’s former consigliere got cornered during cross-examination and forced to acknowledge that he overbilled the Trump Organization by $30,000.

In a heated exchange, defense lawyer Todd Blanche flipped a switch and went back to his days as a federal prosecutor—grilling Cohen on the way he’d gotten away with a crime.

“And you told multiple prosecutors in the district attorney’s office that story, right?” Blanche asked.

“Yes, sir,” Cohen responded.

“Did you ever have to plead guilty to larceny?” Blanche continued.

“No, sir.”

“Did you ever pay back the Trump Organization for the money you stole from them?”

“No, sir.”

In just a few minutes, Trump’s lead defense lawyer managed to show jurors that a trial about Trump’s alleged business fraud relies on the truthful testimony of a man who was engaged in fraud of his own.

For weeks, the ongoing criminal trial in New York City has carefully documented how two women—former Playboy playmate Karen McDougal and porn star Stormy Daniels—were paid to keep quiet about their sexual affairs with Trump in the closing days of the 2016, thus sparing his limping presidential campaign from a potential coup de grâce. Prosecutors have also shown how the Trump Organization schemed to pay Cohen $420,000 for the deed. However, the final piece of the puzzle relies on Cohen: the idea that Trump directed this coverup from behind the scenes.

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But a closer look at that reimbursement deal has smudged the clear picture drawn by prosecutors.

Cohen’s $420,000 included $50,000 meant to repay him for an entirely different deal: the way he recruited a tech company called Red Finch to do some internet domain-related work for Trump.

However, in recent days, Cohen has revealed that the notorious miser Trump stiffed the tech company—putting Cohen in the awkward position of having to pull $20,000 out of his own TD Bank account and giving it to Red Finch’s CEO in late 2015 or early 2016. On Monday morning, Cohen described meeting the man at an office and handing him a brown paper bag full of cash—drawing muted laughs from the courtroom given its comically crooked appearance.

But as Blanche pressed for details, Cohen acknowledged that he never paid Red Finch the remaining $30,000 bill. And as far as the tech company is concerned, the Trump Organization still owes it that money.

“You never gave the $30,000 that was owed back to Red Finch, did you?” Blanche asked pointedly.

“No, sir,” Cohen said.

“So you stole it from the Trump Organization, right?”

“Yes, sir,” Cohen relented.

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