Cohen Testimony Begins Crux of Case Against Trump: 5 Takeaways

Michael D. Cohen, once one of Donald J. Trump’s closest confidants and his loyal protector, offered an account Monday that could convict the man he used to refer to as “boss” and now calls an enemy.

Testifying in the first criminal trial of an American president, Mr. Cohen said that he had made a $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels, a porn star who in testimony last week described a brief sexual encounter she said she had with Mr. Trump in 2006. On the stand Monday, Mr. Cohen said he paid Ms. Daniels to ensure her silence before the 2016 presidential election, saying her story would have been “catastrophic.”

The $130,000 payment led to the charges against the former president: that Mr. Trump falsified 34 business records to hide a reimbursement to Mr. Cohen. Mr. Trump, 77, has denied the charges and says he did not have sex with Ms. Daniels. If convicted, he could face prison or probation.

Here are five takeaways from Mr. Trump’s 16th day on trial:

Cohen said Trump’s wife suggested ‘locker-room talk.’

According to Mr. Cohen, Mr. Trump’s wife, Melania, offered a oft-quoted turn of phrase after the “Access Hollywood” tape was revealed in early October 2016, a recording in which Mr. Trump bragged about grabbing women’s genitals. Mr. Cohen said that, according to Mr. Trump, she recommended calling it “locker-room talk” to explain it away.

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