Michael Cohen testifies he secretly recorded Trump in lead-up to 2016 election


Former President Donald Trump’s former attorney secretly recorded the president ahead of the 2016 election, according to Cohen’s witness testimony Monday. 

Cohen testified during Trump’s 16th day in court that he secretly recorded Trump on his iPhone on Sept. 6, 2016 – just weeks before the general election – regarding payment to former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker. According to the testimony, Pecker had paid former Playboy model Karen McDougal $150,000 to purchase her story that she had an affair with Trump, and subsequently quiet her claims ahead of the election. 

Pecker had pressed Cohen that Trump needed to pay him back, with Cohen secretly recording Trump on Sept. 6 of the election year as proof Trump planned to pay Pecker, according to the testimony. Cohen added that in addition to easing Pecker’s mind he would be repaid, he also made the recording in order to keep Pecker “loyal” to Trump. 

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Michael Cohen, left; right: Donald Trump

Michael Cohen has been mocking former President Trump on TikTok. (Getty Images)

The recording was played for the jury, which included Cohen telling Trump he needed to “open up a company for the transfer of all of that info regarding our friend David,” referring to Pecker. 

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“So what do we got to pay for this? One-fifty?” Trump is heard saying. 

David Pecker on stand in courtroom sketch

David Pecker is questioned during former U.S. President Donald 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. April 23, 2024 in this courtroom sketch. (REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg )

Cohen argued in his testimony that Trump knew Pecker had purchased the rights to McDougal’s claims of an affair and agreed to pay $150,000. 

“He already knew based upon conversation with David, which is why he mentioned the number 150,” Cohen said. 

Michael Cohen looking serious

Michael Cohen leaves for a break during the civil business fraud trial of former President Donald Trump at New York Supreme Court, Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2023, in New York. Former Trump lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen says he unwittingly passed along to his attorney bogus artificial intelligence-generated legal case citations he got online before they were submitted to a New York judge. Cohen made the admission in a court filing unsealed Friday, Dec. 29, in Manhattan federal court as a judge decides whether to punish one of Cohen’s lawyers, who cited the fake cases in a submission to the judge. (AP Photo/Stefan Jeremiah, File)

Cohen testified that he recorded the exchange while holding his iPhone while sitting across a desk from Trump. Trump was unaware he was being recorded at the time. 

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The case revolves around the alleged falsification of business records. Prosecutors say Cohen paid adult film actress Stormy Daniels $130,000 to quiet her claims of the alleged extramarital sexual encounter with Trump. Prosecutors allege the Trump Organization reimbursed Cohen and fraudulently logged the payments as legal expenses, and are working to prove that Trump falsified records with the intent to commit or conceal a second crime.

Donald Trump in Manhattan courtroom

Former president Donald Trump awaits the start of proceedings at Manhattan criminal court, Monday, April 22, 2024, in New York.  (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura, Pool)

Trump has pleaded not guilty in the case

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Daniels took the stand last week, saying she met Trump in 2006 at Lake Tahoe during a celebrity golf tournament. She alleged that the pair had sex in Trump’s hotel room during the event, which Trump has repeatedly denied in public comments. Daniels also described to the court how she got into the pornography business after working as an exotic dancer as a teenager.



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