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HomeWorld NewsMichael Cohen testifies he secretly recorded Trump in lead-up to 2016 election

Michael Cohen testifies he secretly recorded Trump in lead-up to 2016 election

Former President Trump’s former attorney secretly recorded the president ahead of the 2016 election, according to Cohen’s witness testimony Monday. 

Cohen testified during Trump’s 16th day in court that he secretly recorded Trump on his iPhone on Sept. 6, 2016 – just weeks before the general election – regarding a payment to former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker. According to the testimony, Pecker had paid former Playboy model Karen McDougal $150,000 to purchase her story that she had an affair with Trump and to subsequently quiet her claims ahead of the election. 

Pecker had pressed Cohen that Trump needed to pay him back, with Cohen secretly recording Trump on Sept. 6 of the election year as proof Trump planned to pay Pecker, according to the testimony. Cohen added that in addition to easing Pecker’s mind that he would be repaid, he also made the recording in order to keep Pecker “loyal” to Trump. 

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Michael Cohen, left; right: Donald Trump

Michael Cohen, left, has been mocking former President Trump on TikTok. (Getty Images)

The recording was played for the jury, which included Cohen telling Trump he needed to “open up a company for the transfer of all of that info regarding our friend David,” referring to Pecker. 

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“So what do we got to pay for this? One-fifty?” Trump is heard saying. 

David Pecker on stand in courtroom sketch

David Pecker is questioned during former President Trump’s criminal trial on charges that he falsified business records to conceal money paid to silence porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016, in Manhattan state court in New York City on April 23, 2024 in this courtroom sketch. (REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg )

Cohen argued in his testimony that Trump knew Pecker had purchased the rights to McDougal’s claims of an affair and agreed to pay $150,000. 

“He already knew based upon conversation with David, which is why he mentioned the number 150,” Cohen said. 

Michael Cohen looking serious

Michael Cohen leaves for a break during the civil business fraud trial of former President Donald Trump at New York Supreme Court on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Stefan Jeremiah, File)

Cohen testified that he recorded the exchange while holding his iPhone while sitting across a desk from Trump. Trump was unaware he was being recorded at the time. 

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The case revolves around the alleged falsification of business records. Prosecutors say Cohen paid adult film actress Stormy Daniels $130,000 to quiet her claims of the alleged extramarital sexual encounter with Trump. Prosecutors allege the Trump Organization reimbursed Cohen and fraudulently logged the payments as legal expenses, and are working to prove that Trump falsified records with the intent to commit or conceal a second crime.

Donald Trump in Manhattan courtroom

Former President Trump awaits the start of proceedings at Manhattan criminal court on Monday, April 22, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura, Pool)

Trump has pleaded not guilty in the case

Daniels took the stand last week, saying she met Trump in 2006 at Lake Tahoe during a celebrity golf tournament. She alleged that the pair had sex in Trump’s hotel room during the event, which Trump has repeatedly denied in public comments. Daniels also described to the court how she got into the pornography business after working as an exotic dancer as a teenager.

A court sketch depicts former President Donald Trump’s appearance in Manhattan Criminal Court

A court sketch depicts former President Donald Trump’s appearance in Manhattan Criminal Court in New York on Friday, April 19, 2024. Trump’s criminal trial is in its fourth day of jury selection. (Christine Cornell)

Legal experts have sounded off that Daniels’ testimony was irrelevant to the case and that it should not have been admitted into the record. The Trump legal team twice motioned for a mistrial, but were denied by presiding Judge Juan Merchan. 

Republican Ohio Sen. JD Vance, who was seen attending court with Trump on Monday, responded to Cohen’s testimony on X, where he balked at Cohen admitting to secretly recording Trump. 

“Michael Cohen admitting he secretly recorded his employer. Just totally normal conduct, right? The best part is he said he did it only once and only for Trump’s benefit. A standup guy!” he posted.

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Vance, alongside fellow Republicans such as Sen. Tommy Tuberville, held a brief press conference Monday regarding the trial, where Vance continued in his condemnation of Cohen’s testimony. 

Trump supporters in courthouse

Supporters of former President Trump stand outside courtroom on May 13.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

“This guy is a convict and felon who admitted in his testimony that he secretly recorded his former employer, that he only did it once, allegedly, and that this was supposed to help Donald Trump. Does any reasonable, sensible person believe anything that Michael Cohen says? I don’t think that they should,” Vance said.

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Cohen was slammed as a “grifter” by some critics in the lead-up to his testimony, and has been vocal in his condemnation of Trump after he no longer served as his attorney. 

“Trump 2024?” Cohen said in a TikTok video last month. “More like Trump 20-24 years.

On Friday, Judge Merchan called on New York prosecutors to instruct Cohen to stop making public comments about the case and Trump ahead of taking the stand. Cohen, unlike Trump, is not under a gag order in the case. 




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