Donald Trump trial: Five key takeaways from Michael Cohen's courtroom evidence against former US president - Stormy Daniels, Playboy model

Donald Trump is said to have been aware of details of payments made

Michael Cohen – once Donald Trump’s lawyer and a self-described "fixer" for the ex-president – will take the stand on Tuesday, for a second day of testimony at the criminal trial in New York.

The trial surrounds a “hush money” payment made to Stormy Daniels, an American porn star, who claims she was invited to Mr Trump’s hotel room after a celebrity golf tournament in 2006, when she was 27 and he was 60. She has claimed she then slept with Mr Trump, who later became president.

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Ms Daniels says that on the eve of the presidential election, in 2016, Mr Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen gave her $130,000 [£106,000] as a hush money payment to prevent her from talking about the night she spent with Mr Trump. The former president is now facing accusations of concealing the payment from Manhattan district attorney Alvin L Bragg. It has been claimed Mr Trump reimbursed Mr Cohen for the payment and altered business documents to hide it – something that could be regarded as a breach of election law.

Former US president Donald Trump and attorney Todd Blanche return from a break during his trial. Picture: Getty ImagesFormer US president Donald Trump and attorney Todd Blanche return from a break during his trial. Picture: Getty Images
Former US president Donald Trump and attorney Todd Blanche return from a break during his trial. Picture: Getty Images

Here are five takeaways from Mr Cohen’s testimony to date.

Donald Trump was ‘not thinking about his wife’ when he made the payments

Mr Cohen said Mr Trump’s focus was on his presidential campaign and any controversy that could affect his election.

"He wasn't thinking about Melania,” Mr Cohen told the jury on Monday. “This was all about the campaign.” Mr Cohen said Mr Trump had added: "This is a disaster, total disaster. Women are going to hate me. Women will hate me. Guys, they think it's cool, but this is going to be a disaster for the campaign."

Mr Cohen also said he asked the former US president how the story might impact on his marriage to Melania, with Mr Trump allegedly responding: "Don't worry ... how long do you think I'll be on the market for? Not long."

Mr Trump shook his head in response. Lawyers for the former president have previously claimed he wanted to protect his wife Melania from stress and upset surrounding the situation.

Another pay-out was allegedly made by Donald Trump to a second woman

The court also heard a recording of a conversation between the two men over another alleged hush money payment.

Mr Cohen said he had alerted Mr Trump that a Playboy model was alleging that she and the former US president had an extramarital affair. “Make sure it doesn’t get released,” Mr Cohen said he had told Mr Trump.

The woman, Karen McDougal, was allegedly paid $150,000 (£119,490) in an arrangement that was made after Mr Trump received a “complete and total update on everything that transpired”.

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Donald Trump personally approved a repayment plan to Michael Cohen – and everything else

Mr Cohen said he set up a shell company – listed as a "real estate consulting company" – to make the payment and Mr Trump arranged to pay him back. He said every detail of the payment plan was approved personally by Mr Trump.

“Everything required Mr Trump’s sign-off,” Mr Cohen said. “What I was doing, I was doing at the direction of and benefit of Mr Trump.”

He said Mr Trump had promised to reimburse money the lawyer had fronted for the payments and was constantly apprised of the behind-the-scenes efforts to bury stories feared to be harmful to the campaign.

There seems to be little chance of friendship being rekindled between Michael Cohen and Donald Trump

The pair was once so close that Mr Cohen boasted he would “take a bullet” for Mr Trump. However, on Monday they had no visible interaction inside the courtroom.

The sedate atmosphere was a marked contrast from their previous courtroom face-off in October, when Mr Trump walked out after his lawyer finished questioning Mr Cohen during his civil fraud trial. This time around, Mr Trump sat at the defence table with his eyes closed for long stretches of testimony.

The courtroom could do with a revamp

A number of Republican politicians have sat in on the trial over the past few weeks, to show their support for Mr Trump. However, one said on Monday he struggled with the aesthetics of the courtroom.

“That courtroom is depressing,” said Senator Tommy Tuberville, from Alabama.