michael-cohen-set-to-testify-in-trump-hush-money-trial

Michael Cohen set to testify in Trump hush money trial

Politics
Michael Cohen is questioned by prosecutor Susan Hoffinger on Monday. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is in the foreground.
Michael Cohen is questioned by prosecutor Susan Hoffinger on Monday. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is in the foreground. Christine Cornell

Michael Cohen finished the day’s testimony by explaining how he, former Trump Org. CFO Allen Weisselberg and Donald Trump agreed to reimburse him for the $130,000 hush money payment to Stormy Daniels.

After Trump won the election, Cohen pitched Trump on a set up in which he would serve as Trump’s personal attorney for free but would be paid by companies hoping for insights on Trump.

In early January, Cohen went to Weisselberg about being reimbursed for the $130,000 payment, and Weisselberg agreed, Cohen testified. He showed Weisselberg the wire transfer document, and Weisselberg took handwritten notes calculating what Trump owed Cohen based on their conversations.

Weisselberg suggested Cohen take the money as income rather than as untaxed reimbursements, Cohen testified. “I didn’t really think about it. I just wanted to get my money back,” he said.

According to Cohen, they agreed that Trump would pay him $420,000 in all: $130,000 to reimburse him for the payment to Daniels, $50,000 to reimburse him for unrelated tech services, $180,000 to account for estimated taxes and a $60,000 bonus. The payments would be made over 12 months “as like a legal service rendered since I was then going to be given the title of personal attorney to the president,” Cohen testified.

They presented the plan to Trump, and he approved it, Cohen said. The payments were designed to look like future legal services, but they were actually reimbursement for the Daniels’ deal, he testified.

“What (Weisselberg) stated to me is: ‘Each month just send an invoice to us. And just mark down for legal services rendered pursuant to the agreement, and we’ll get you a check out,’” Cohen testified.

Cohen never actually put together a retainer agreement for any future work he’d do for Trump, “because I knew there was going to be no compensation,” he testified.