Michael Cohen testifies about Trump’s reaction to Stormy Daniels story: ‘Women will hate me. Guys will think it’s cool’

Michael Cohen testifies about Trump’s reaction to Stormy Daniels story: ‘Women will hate me. Guys will think it’s cool’


Donald Trump was furious with Michael Cohen and fearing “disaster” for his 2016 presidential campaign when his then-attorney disclosed that Stormy Daniels was preparing to share her story about having sex him in 2006.

“I thought you had this under control. I thought you took care of this,” Cohen said from the witness stand in the former president’s hush money trial on Monday, recalling Mr Trump’s enraged reaction to news that the adult film star’s allegations had resurfaced.

“Just take care of it. There’s a lot going on at the campaign at the time. Just take care of it,” Mr Trump said, according to Cohen. “This is a disaster. This is a total disaster. Women are going to hate me. This really is a disaster. Women are going to hate me. Guys will think it’s cool, but this is a disaster for the campaign.”

Mr Trump told him to “push it” past Election Day, Cohen said.

“If I win, it won’t matter,” Mr Trump said, according to Cohen.

Mr Trump “wasn’t thinking about Melania,” Cohen said. “This was all about the campaign.”

Cohen is among the final witnesses in the former president’s historic criminal trial, where is accused of covering up hush money payments to the adult film star as legal expenses.

According to prosecutors, those checks to Cohen – who bought the rights to Ms Daniels’s allegtions for $130,000 – paid off his effort to suppress a politically explosive story in the critical weeks before the 2016 election.

Before he launched his campaign, Trump had braced Cohen for the likelihood of damaging stories about his relationships with women that could derail his bid for the White House, according to testimony from Mr Trump’s former attorney and one-time “fixer.”

“You know, that when this comes out – meaning, the announcement – just be prepared there’s gonna be a lot of women coming forward,” Cohen said, remembering what his former boss told him in 2015.

Mr Trump wanted to rely on the “power” of tabloid giant National Enquirer and its placement in “supermarkets and bodegas” to place “positive stories” about him and “negative” ones about his rivals, according to Cohen.

During a meeting at Trump Tower in August 2015, two months after the launch of his campaign. Mr Trump met with Cohen and tabloid publisher David Pecker, who previously testified that he vowed to be the “eyes and ears” of the campaign.

“What he said was that he could keep an eye out for anything negative about Mr Trump and that he would be able to help us know in advance about what was coming out for us to stop it from coming out,” according to Cohen.

The resulting “catch and kill” scheme helped bury a bogus story about an alleged love child with a Trump Tower maid as well a story from a former Playboy model who alleged a months-long affair with Mr Trump years earlier.

A courtroom sketch depicts Michael Cohen testiftying during Donald Trump’s hush honey trial in Manhattan on 13 May. (AP)

Mr Trump faces 34 counts of falsifying business records and has pleaded not guilty.

As counsel for the Trump Organization and a “surrogate” for his campaign, Cohen would “lie” and “bully” on Mr Trump’s behalf, he said.

“I did,” he testified on Monday. “If tt was needed to accomplish a task.”

Asked whether he agrees whether the term “fixer” accurately described his work, Cohen said: “It’s fair.”

Witness testimony, recordings and emails and text messages shared with jurors show Cohen negotiating hush money deals to secure the rights to stories of Mr Trump’s alleged affairs.

In the fourth week of witness testimony, prosecutors have relied on Cohen to connect a narrative threaded throughout the trial: it was Cohen who negotiated a contract for Ms Daniels’ silence, it was Cohen who sent her $130,000, and it was Cohen who sent invoices to Mr Trump – all at his direction.

Donald Trump appears in a Manhattan courtroom for his hush money trial on 13 May (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Cohen had previously reunited with his former boss in a courtroom down the street from the criminal courthouse in downtown Manhattan.

Last year, he served as a key witness in the former president’s civil fraud trial, where Mr Trump glared from the defense table and fumed from the hallway and on social media as Cohen compared him to a “mob boss” who instructed him to falsely inflate his net worth and assets.

It was Cohen’s bombshell testimony to Congress that outlined Mr Trump’s alleged fraud, inspiring several criminal and civil investigations targeting the former president. In 2018, Cohen pleaded guilty to federal campaign finance violations and tax charges that included the “catch and kill” scheme at the center of the Manhattan case.

In the years after their fallout, Cohen went to jail, Mr Trump ran for re-election, lost, and was criminally indicted four times in four separate jurisdictions, with a mountain of litigation threatening his business and 2024 campaign.

Mr Trump’s attorneys are expected to unleash a furious cross examination when they take on Cohen, a frequent subject of Mr Trump’s witness-menacing gag order violations.

Last week, after threatening Mr Trump with jail for any future gag order violations, New York Justice Juan Merchan also told prosecutors to keep a lid on Cohen, who uses his social media platforms and podcasts to attack his old boss, now desperate to bury the credibility of an old ally who could now get him convicted.

This is a developing story

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