It’s been a long road for former President Donald Trump and Michael Cohen.
Cohen served for many years as Trump’s attorney, often described in the media as his “fixer.” Among other things, Cohen has claimed that he facilitated the payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels, which has formed the basis for Trump’s indictment in the State of New York.
Donald Trump Truly Hates Michael Cohen
After Trump became President, he and Cohen broke with one another, with Cohen agreeing to cooperate against Trump in a previous SDNY federal investigation that did not lead to criminal charges for Trump, although they did for Cohen.
The attorney, who testified both before grand juries and Congress about his former boss, went on to get disbarred and spend time in prison and has since reinvented himself as a sort of full-time professional critic of Trump, hosting a podcast and writing a book.
Cohen is also a witness against Trump in multiple ongoing cases, although prosecutors run the risk of using a witness who is a convicted perjurer, stemming from a time when he lied to Congress, on Trump’s behalf, about efforts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. Cohen was also convicted of tax evasion and campaign finance violations, both connected to the Daniels payment.
Cohen Takes Stand Against Trump
This week, Cohen has his long-awaited showdown in court with Trump, having testified in Trump’s civil fraud trial in New York. The trial concerns Trump’s practices while running the Trump Organization, and Cohen worked for him there.
According to Politico, Cohen “testified that when he worked for Trump as his lawyer and fixer, Trump directed him to modify documents that represented Trump’s net worth so that they reflected the number Trump desired.”
While he was on the stand, Trump “glowered” at Cohen, the report said. Cohen, for his part, did not look at the former president while he was testifying.
“I was tasked by Mr. Trump to increase the total assets based upon a number that he arbitrarily elected,” Cohen said, “and my responsibility, along with [former Trump Organization CFO] Allen Weisselberg, predominantly, was to reverse engineer the various asset classes, increase those assets to achieve the number that Mr. Trump had tasked us.”
Their time in the courtroom represented Trump and Cohen’s first time together in a room in several years.
“Well, I haven’t seen him in years, and you know his record, his record is a horrible one,” Trump told reporters, per Politico. “But they’re just starting, but you’ll see how it ends up. It’s not going to end up very good for him.”
Per CNN, Cohen continued his testimony on Wednesday. During that testimony, Trump’s attorney Alina Habba asked Cohen extensively about his statements about Trump when he was still loyal to him, and then after their split. Habba attempted to establish that Cohen turned against his former boss after he was passed over for a job in the Administration.
When Habba stated that “you have made a career out of publicly attacking President Trump,” Cohen answered “Yes.”
Also, Trump has denied that he violated the gag order against Cohen in the case.
“This judge is a very partisan judge with a person who is very partisan sitting alongside him – perhaps even much more partisan than he is,” Trump told reporters during a break in the case Wednesday.
“The judge is a Democrat, but I do respect the judge,” Trump added during his talk with reporters. “She (James) worked the trial so it comes under a certain statute where you don’t get a jury. That’s very unfair.”
Trump had been fined $5,000 last week after a statement that violated the gag order was left up on a campaign website.
Author Expertise and Experience
Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist, and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Stephen has authored thousands of articles over the years that focus on politics, technology, and the economy for over a decade. Follow him on X (formerly Twitter) at @StephenSilver, and subscribe to his Substack newsletter.