PoliticsThey show Trump and Cohen's conversation about bribe money

They show Trump and Cohen’s conversation about bribe money

For the first time in Donald Trump’s trial, jurors heard a recording of a conversation between the former president and his lawyer, Michael Cohen, where they planned a payment to the former model. Playboy who claimed to have had a romantic relationship with Trump.

A portion of the audio, secretly recorded by the lawyer while Trump was in the midst of his 2016 presidential campaign, was played Thursday during the hearing in Manhattan. In this way, the jury obtained a brief but crucial insight into how the former lawyer kept his client informed of a situation that is now key to the case.

“I have to create a company to manage all that information about our dear friend David, so I’m going to do it right now,” Cohen is heard saying.

“And I’ve already talked to Allen Weisselberg about how to do it,” he continued, referring to the Trump Organization’s former CFO, who is also convicted.

“Well, how much do we need? 150?” Trump replies.

Apparently, they were referring to David Pecker, the newspaper’s former editor National Enquirer .

In his testimony during the trial, Pecker admitted to having struck a deal with Cohen and Trump in August 2015 to buy the rights to scandalous accounts about Trump’s personal life in order to prevent them from being published.

Two months before the election, on Cohen’s orders, Pecker made a payment of $150,000 to Karen McDougal, the former model who, in 2006, claimed to have had a relationship with Trump that lasted 10 months.

The former editor confessed that he never received his money back.

Donald Trump talks to reporters outside a courthouse in Manhattan on May 2 (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

In his statement last week, he explained that he acquired the rights to McDougal’s accusations with the purpose of cleaning up Trump’s public image so that he could have a better chance of winning the election.

In the recording, Cohen is heard saying, “We have to pay him.”

To which Trump responds: “In cash.”

However, the lawyer told him that it was not a good option and that he would take care of the matter.

And Trump added: “Offer him a check.”

During the hearing, the former president, hunched over and with half-closed eyes, watched the small screen in front of him on the defense table while he whispered to his defense attorney Todd Blanche and read the transcript of the recording.

Michael Cohen photographed in March 2023.

Michael Cohen photographed in March 2023. (REUTERS)

According to the testimony of Pecker and Cohen’s former banker, the lawyer would have created a limited liability company, called Resolution Consultants LLC, to transfer the money to Pecker with the aim of him later paying McDougal.

However, he never made the transaction and the supposed company never received the necessary funds. Furthermore, Pecker claimed that he canceled the agreement after speaking with his own lawyers.

The recording was part of evidence presented by a forensic analyst who recovered information from Cohen’s phones, including call logs, text messages and thousands of contacts.

In any case, it does not address the arrangement with porn star Stormy Daniels, who said she had sexual encounters with Trump in 2006.

Trump is charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records for covering up the return of money to Cohen, who set up another shell company to wire $130,000 to Daniels’ lawyer just a week before Election Day in 2016.

According to emails presented at trial, two weeks after dismantling the shell company meant to make payments to McDougal, Cohen asked his banker to open another account.

This account, called Essential Consultants LLC, was the one used to transfer the amount of USD 130,000 to Daniels. This payment is the key accusation in the criminal case against the former president, since, in the documentation required to create the company, they declared that it would be used to “collect fees for financial advice for real estate investments.”

Translation of María Luz Avila

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