Michael Cohen to Take the Stand in Trump’s Criminal Trial. What Else to Expect In Court This Week.

Jurors heard a recording of his voice. They saw a picture of his face. And on Monday, as Donald J. Trump’s criminal trial enters its fifth week, they will finally meet him: Michael D. Cohen, Mr. Trump’s former fixer and the prosecutions’s star witness.

Mr. Cohen, once Mr. Trump’s loyal attack dog and now his dedicated antagonist, will take the stand in the first criminal trial of an American president.

Already, jurors have heard how, in the final days of the 2016 presidential campaign, Mr. Cohen paid $130,000 in hush money to a porn star, silencing her story of a sexual encounter with Mr. Trump.

He is expected to testify that he did so at Mr. Trump’s direction. He is also likely to say that, once Mr. Trump was in the White House, the president reimbursed him after the two met in the Oval Office in February 2017. And he will almost certainly confirm the crux of the prosecution’s case: that Mr. Trump orchestrated a plan to falsify records that disguised the reimbursement as ordinary legal expenses.

The Manhattan district attorney’s office, which is expected to conclude its case against Mr. Trump this week, has charged the former president with 34 felony counts of falsifying business records. He faces probation or up to four years in prison.

Mr. Cohen’s testimony comes with considerable risks for the prosecution. He is an unpredictable witness, prone to both tirades and charm, and since the trial began, the defense has labeled him a liar motivated by a deep-seated desire for revenge. He is also, as the defense is fond of noting, a felon: In 2018, Mr. Cohen pleaded guilty to federal crimes, some related to the hush-money payment.

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