Trump trial live updates: Speaker Mike Johnson to appear with Trump at courthouse

Michael Cohen is set to continue testifying in former President Donald Trump’s hush money trial after telling jurors Monday that he was following Trump’s orders when he paid for Stormy Daniels’ silence and that Trump approved a fraudulent scheme to reimburse him.

The testimony showed why Cohen is a star witness for the prosecution. In describing Trump’s approval of the reimbursement scheme, Cohen brought Trump closer than any other witness has to the core charge in the case: namely, that Trump falsified business records concerning reimbursement payments to Cohen.

The prosecution estimated their questions for Cohen would go into only part of today. Then, the Trump defense team commence what is sure to be a combative cross-examination.

Keep up with USA TODAY’s live updates from inside and outside the Manhattan courtroom:

Who is Allen Weisselberg?

Allen Weisselberg is a former chief financial officer at the Trump Organization who was sentenced to five months in jail for perjury during former President Donald Trump’s civil fraud trial last year.

Weisselberg had previously been sentenced to five months for tax fraud after falsifying Trump Organization business records and failing to report $1.7 million in benefits.

Justice Juan Merchan suggested prosecutors consider calling Weisselberg to testify in Trump’s ongoing case in New York Friday after Trump’s legal team objected to prosecutors’ attempts to show jurors Weisselberg’s $750,000 severance agreement, POLITICO reported. Merchan ruled Monday that prosecutors can’t show jurors that agreement.

– Rachel Barber

Cohen says Trump’s signatures are on checks

Michael Cohen was shown a series of checks that he said corresponded to the invoices he submitted in 2017, which he said were false invoices. Several of them, he said, had Trump’s personal signature on them. Earlier witness testimony has also confirmed Trump’s signature on checks that prosecutors say correspond to these invoices.

– Aysha Bagchi

Cohen testifies he submitted false invoices

Jurors were shown an invoice Michael Cohen submitted in 2017 stating that he was submitting the invoice pursuant to a retainer agreement, which is an agreement about compensation that reserves a lawyers pays for future services. Cohen just told jurors that statement was false – the requested money wasn’t pursuant to a retainer agreement.

Cohen’s invoice also said the requested payment was for services rendered for January and February of 2017. Cohen testified that statement was also false. He already told jurors yesterday these payments were actually reimbursing him for paying porn star Stormy Daniels $130,000 in hush money, as well as reimbursing him for another expense and paying him a bonus.

See also  Former Trump lawyer says it's 'ridiculous' to say Biden was involved in hush money prosecution

Prosecutor Susan Hoffinger is continuing to show jurors invoices Cohen submitted in 2017, and he is continuing to testify that the invoices were false in similar ways.

– Aysha Bagchi

When did Donald Trump marry Melania?

Melania Trump, born Melanija Knavs, married former President Donald Trump in January 2005. They have one son, Barron. He was born in March 2006.

– Rachel Barber

Mike Johnson comes to Trump’s defense

House Speaker Mike Johnson will deliver remarks at 10:15 a.m. EDT at a park next to the Manhattan courthouse where Trump’s hush money trial is ongoing, according to a media advisory.

The advisory says that Johnson will discuss the “political persecution” of Trump by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and President Joe Biden’s “weaponized Department of Justice.” There is no evidence that Biden is behind the hush money trial.

– Sudiksha Kochi

Jury shown photo of Michael Cohen at White House

The jury again saw a photo of Michael Cohen at the White House. Here is a screenshot from the photo jurors were shown:

An image prosecutors introduced on May 2, 2024 in former President Donald Trump's New York hush money trial. Metadata suggests the image is from Feb. 8, 2017, according to testimony.

The photo, along with earlier testimony from former Trump White House aide Madeleine Westerhout, corroborates prosecutors’ story that Cohen visited the White House in February of 2017. There was also testimony earlier in the trial that metadata associated with the photo indicates it was taken on Feb. 8, 2017.

– Aysha Bagchi

Cohen testifying about 2017 invoice email

Prosecutor Susan Hoffinger has started questioning Cohen. She showed jurors an email jurors have seen before of Jeffrey McConney, the former financial controller for the Trump Organization, asking Cohen in February of 2017 to send him invoices. McConney appears to reference Allen Weisselberg, the former chief financial officer of the Trump Organization.

The email stated: “Mike, Just a reminder to get me the invoices you spoke to Allen about. Thanks, Jeff”

– Aysha Bagchi

Cohen enters the courtroom after lengthy lawyer-judge conversation

Michael Cohen entered the courtroom at 9:39 a.m. EDT for his second day of testimony in the trial. The judge spoke to the lawyers privately at his bench for several minutes before asking for Cohen to be brought in. We are now just waiting on the jury.

– Aysha Bagchi

Is Michael Cohen married?

Michael Cohen is married and has two children, a son and a daughter. Cohen has been very protective of his family in the past, expressing fear that Trump’s rhetoric could endanger them. Cohen said yesterday his marriage is going on 30 years.

– Aysha Bagchi

Trump and supporters enter the courtroom

Donald Trump entered the courtroom at 9:25 a.m. EDT for Day 17 of his criminal trial. Today, Lara Trump, co-chair of the Republican National Committee, is here.

See also  Iran approves list of mostly hardline candidates for presidential election to replace Raisi

Lara Trump’s husband and the former president’s middle son, Eric Trump, is also here. He has attended multiple days of the trial.

And potential vice presidential pick on the Trump campaign ticket, Vivek Ramaswamy, is here.

– Aysha Bagchi

Prosecution arrives for Day 17 of trial

The prosecution team entered the courtroom at 9:13 a.m. EDT. We are still waiting for the Trump defense team, Judge Juan Merchan, and the jury.

– Aysha Bagchi

Trump supporters respond to posts criticizing judges with threats of violence

Judge Juan Merchan has ordered Donald Trump not to comment on witnesses or jurors, to avoid influencing in his New York hush trial, but a Reuters investigation found the former president’s social media posts about the judge and prosecutors inspired widespread threats of violence.

Trump has repeatedly called Merchan a “highly conflicted” judge and in an April 23 post on Truth Social, said he was presiding over a “kangaroo court.” Trump’s supporters swiftly replied with posts on the website, including “treason is a hangable offense” and “needs to be strangled with piano wire before he makes it to the hangman.”

Reuters documented more than 150 posts since March 1 calling for physical violence against judges in three Trump cases – Merchan, New York Judge Arthur Engoron in his civil fraud case and Fulton County Superior Judge Scott McAfee in his Georgia election racketeering case. The posts were part of a larger pool of hundreds that included hostile, racist or sexualized langue to attack the judges short of explicitly calling for violence.

“Articulating these ideas is the first step along the pathway of mobilizing to violence,” said Mitch Silber, a former New York City Police Department director of intelligence analysis.

Trump spokesperson Steven Cheung said the presumptive Republican presidential nominee has a right to criticize what he called “un-Constitutional witch hunts” and said “Democrats and crazed lunatics” have called for “despicable violence” against Trump.

–Bart Jansen

Was Michael Cohen disbarred?

Michael Cohen was disbarred after he pleaded guilty to multiple crimes in 2018, including lying to Congress.

A panel of New York state judges granted a request from a New York attorney grievance committee to strike Cohen’s name from the official list of attorneys in New York state in February of 2019.

Cohen “ceased to be an attorney upon his federal conviction of making false statements to the United States Congress,” the panel said in its opinion.

The move was retroactive, striking Cohen’s name from the list as of the date he pleaded guilty to lying to Congress, Nov. 29, 2018.

– Aysha Bagchi

What was Michael Cohen convicted of?

In August 2018, Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to tax evasion, making false statements to a bank, and violating campaign finance laws by causing or issuing two hush money payments ahead of the 2016 election: $130,000 to porn star Stormy Daniels and $150,00 to model Karen McDougal, the latter of which was paid by American Media Inc. Those amounts greatly exceed the personal contribution limits to a political candidate.

See also  Opinion: Trump puts America on notice again: If he loses, he won’t go quietly

In November 2018, Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements to Congress. In an effort to protect Trump, had told Congress his boss stopped trying to pursue a real-estate deal in Moscow in January 2016 when they actually continued efforts through June 2016.

Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison, according to a Department of Justice release.

House Speaker Mike Johnson to appear with Trump

House Speaker Mike Johnson will make an appearance in the courthouse with Trump on Tuesday morning, showing solidarity with the former president according to a person familiar with the planning.

Johnson joins a number of high-profile Republicans joining Trump in Manhattan to support the former president.

Punchbowl News was first to report Johnson’s appearance.

– Ken Tran

Michael Cohen recording with Trump

On Monday, jurors listened again to a recording of a conversation between Trump and Cohen. This time, Cohen was there to testify about it. He said the pair were discussing a hush money deal to silence former Playboy model Karen McDougal. She has alleged she had a months-long affair with Trump that overlapped with Melania Trump’s pregnancy. Trump denies the claim.

On the recording, Cohen references “info regarding our friend, David.” That was a reference to David Pecker, Cohen told jurors. Pecker has testified he agreed to be “eyes and ears” in Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign efforts by helping identify potentially damaging stories to prevent them from being published.

Cohen and Trump also talk about “financing” on the recording. Cohen said he made the recording to reassure Pecker that Trump planned to pay him back for the hush money to McDougal.

You can listen to the recording here:

– Aysha Bagchi

Michael Cohen court sketch

The New York criminal trial against former President Trump isn’t televised. But courtroom sketch artists make renditions of court proceedings each day. Here is one sketch by Jane Rosenberg of Michael Cohen’s testimony Monday, with prosecutor Susan Hoffinger questioning Cohen and Trump looking on:

Michael Cohen is questioned by prosecutor Susan Hoffinger as former U.S. President Donald Trump sits with his eyes closed during 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, U.S. May 13, 2024 in this courtroom sketch.

– Aysha Bagchi

What is Trump on trial for?

Trump is charged with 34 felony counts of falsifying business records. Prosecutors say the real estate mogul was trying to cover up unlawfully interfering in the 2016 presidential election through a hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *