Michael Cohen testifies for second day at Trump trial

Hoffinger, the prosecutor, turned to a statement issued under Daniels’ name on Jan. 30, 2018, in which she narrowly denied the sexual encounter. Daniels testified that she reluctantly signed the statement under pressure from her lawyer, Keith Davidson.

Cohen said he helped Davidson craft the statement, which included these lines: “I am not denying this affair because I was paid ‘hush money’ as has been reported in overseas owned tabloids. I am denying this affair because it never happened.” 

Cohen said he knew the statement was false “because I’m the one who paid.”

A week later, Cohen issued a statement to the press acknowledging for the first time that he paid Daniels $130,000 using his own money. 

“Neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms. Clifford, and neither reimbursed me for the payment, either directly or indirectly,” the statement said. “The payment to Ms. Clifford was lawful, and was not a campaign contribution or a campaign expenditure by anyone.”

He also submitted a similar letter to the Federal Election Commission.

In court, he admitted that the statements were “deceptive” and “misleading,” noting that they excluded Trump himself and his trust, both of whom reimbursed Cohen.

Cohen said he cleared the responses with Trump ahead of time. Jurors were shown a text message Cohen sent to a reporter from the New York Times: “Big boss just approved me responding to complaint and statement. Please start writing and I will call you soon.”

After the FEC statement, Jay Sekulow, an attorney for Trump, texted Cohen: “Client says thanks for what you do.”

Asked who Sekulow’s client was, Cohen said Trump. He added that “for what you do” referred to the statement Cohen had issued. 

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