Cohen’s “Self-Help” Admission: Impact on Trump’s Hush Money Trial

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In a startling revelation during the ongoing hush money trial, Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s former fixer, admitted to stealing money from the Trump Organization. His testimony, described as “self-help,” raises questions about his credibility as the star witness against the former U.S. president. As the trial progresses, the defense and prosecution gear up for closing arguments, setting the stage for a pivotal moment in this high-profile case.

Cohen’s Admission of Theft

Michael Cohen, once a trusted confidant of Donald Trump, confessed on Monday to misappropriating funds from the Trump Organization. Under cross-examination by Trump’s lawyer, Todd Blanche, Cohen acknowledged that he had included reimbursement to a technology company in his bonus package and had pocketed most of the money. “So you stole from the Trump Organization, right?” Blanche asked, to which Cohen replied, “Yes, sir.”

Cohen detailed how he paid approximately $20,000 of the $50,000 owed to the tech company in cash, keeping the remaining amount. The Trump Organization later reimbursed him $100,000. Cohen justified his actions, stating, “I just felt it was almost like self-help,” after his annual bonus was cut for fronting $130,000 to silence Stormy Daniels.

The Prosecution’s Key Witness

Despite Cohen’s criminal past and admitted deceit, prosecutors have supported his testimony with documentary evidence. Cohen’s earlier testimony last week implicated Trump directly, stating that Trump approved the payment to Daniels, fearing it would harm his appeal to women voters. This undercuts Trump’s defense that he aimed to protect his family from embarrassment.

Defense Strategy and Cohen’s Credibility

Trump’s legal team has vigorously attacked Cohen’s credibility, highlighting his criminal history and admitted lies. The defense will soon present their evidence and witnesses, with uncertainty surrounding whether Trump will testify. Defense attorney Blanche indicated this decision was still under consideration, stating, “That’s another decision that we need to think through.”

Closing Arguments and Jury Deliberations

Justice Juan Merchan announced that the trial’s presentations would conclude this week, with closing arguments expected next week. Trump has pleaded not guilty to 34 counts of falsifying business records to cover up the payment to Daniels, denying any sexual encounter with her. Outside the courtroom, Trump, who is running for president in the upcoming election, has decried the trial as politically motivated.

Trump’s Potential Testimony

If Trump chooses to testify, he could counter Daniels’ account and defend against the allegations. However, this move carries risks, including potential perjury charges if inconsistencies in his testimony are exposed during cross-examination. Trump’s previous courtroom appearances, such as his defiant testimony in a civil business fraud trial, have not always worked in his favor.

As the hush money trial nears its climax, the courtroom drama intensifies. Michael Cohen’s admission of theft adds a complex layer to the prosecution’s case, while Trump’s potential testimony looms large. With closing arguments on the horizon, the jury will soon deliberate on a case that has significant implications for the former president’s future despite being the least consequential of Trump’s legal battles.

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