Prosecution Presents Trump-Cohen Secret Recording in Trial Discussion on Payment to Karen McDougal Revealed

Prosecution Presents Trump-Cohen Secret Recording in Trial Discussion on Payment to Karen McDougal Revealed

Prosecutors played a secret tape Cohen made of Trump in September 2016 while forensic analyst Douglas Daus was testifying. Cohen is heard telling Trump, “I need to set up a company to transfer all that information regarding our friend David.” Pecker, who was publisher of the National Enquirer at the time, paid McDougal $150,000 as part of a deal to hide bad news about Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign. Trump is told on tape by Cohen that he has talked to Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg about the deal and talks about “financing.” In answer, Trump can be heard asking, “What financing?”

audio played for the jury: Daus, who works for the Manhattan District Attorney’s office and looked through Cohen’s phones, got photos, calendar meetings, contact lists, and audio, all of which were shown to the jury on Thursday. Cohen often recorded talks with other people in secret, and in September 2016, he recorded one he had with Trump. It seemed to support the prosecution’s claim that Trump not only knew about the deal with the Enquirer to “catch and kill” bad stories about him to help his campaign for president but also gave the go-ahead for it.

If you listen to another tape, Cohen talks about what he said Trump told him about paying Stormy Daniels $130,000. Cohen says on the recording, “I can’t even tell you how many times he told me, ‘I hate the fact that we did it.’ And I told him, ‘But everyone we’ve talked to says it was the right thing to do.'”

“What have we done?”: Earlier in the day, Keith Davidson, a lawyer who helped Daniels and McDougal negotiate money related to their claims of having affairs with Trump, finished his evidence. Police showed the jury a text message that Davidson had sent to Dylan Howard, editor of the National Enquirer, after Trump was named the winner of the 2016 election. “What did we do?” This text message seems to be about the deal that paid McDougal $150,000 but stopped her story from going public before the election. On the stand, Davidson said, “there was an understanding” that their work “may have in some way assisted the presidential campaign of Donald Trump.”

The defense says that Davidson is a repeat extortionist: During cross-examination, Emil Bove, a lawyer for Trump, tried to make Davidson look like a serial extortionist by bringing up the fact that he had helped other clients get money from celebrities, like Charlie Sheen, to cover up shady claims. He tried over and over to put the prosecution’s witness on trial, which was the same thing as putting Davidson on trial. Bove also played a tape of a phone call between Davidson and Cohen. In the call, Davidson says that Daniels wanted to be paid “more than you could ever imagine” for her story. He also says, “If [Trump] loses this election, which he will lose, we all lose all f***ing leverage.”

Another meeting on the gag order: The day started with another hearing to see if Trump had broken Judge Juan Merchan’s order that he can’t say anything about the witnesses, the jury, or the court staff. Merchan fined Trump $9,000 last week for breaking the gag order, but he hasn’t made a decision yet on the four new cases that prosecutors brought up. Later, Merchan was asked by Trump’s lawyers to check pieces of writing Trump wanted to share on social media to see if they broke his gag order. He said it wasn’t his job to look over posts before they go up. He also said, “If in doubt, stay away.”

There is no way for Trump to speak, he says. Trump lied to reporters outside of the courtroom when he said that he was “not allowed to testify” in the case because he was “under a gag order.”

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