May 28, 2024

It’s only the first day of Michael Cohen’s hush-money trial testimony, and he’s already put a huge nail in the coffin of Donald Trump’s legal defense.

In opposition to everything Trump’s attorneys have attempted to argue, Cohen testified Monday that Trump knew every detail about the $130,000 payment made to porn actress Stormy Daniels. In fact, not only did Trump sign off on the payments to cover up his affair with Daniels ahead of the 2016 presidential election, but he personally promised to pay Cohen back for them.

Cohen said that when he agreed to pay Daniels out of his own pocket, Trump promised to reimburse him.

When prosecutor Susan Hoffinger asked if Cohen would have paid Daniels without first getting Trump’s approval, Cohen said no.

“Everything required a sign-off from Mr. Trump,” Cohen told the court. “But on top of that, I wanted the money back.”

That’s counter to what Trump’s attorneys have attempted to argue, which is that the funds came from Cohen alone and that Trump was not aware of the hush-money payments. But other witnesses in the criminal trial have made similar accusations, including Daniels’s former attorney Keith Davidson, who testified that he understood at the time the agreement was drawn up that the ultimate source of the money would be Trump.

The Republican presidential nominee faces 34 felony charges in this case for allegedly falsifying business records with the intent to further an underlying crime. Trump has pleaded not guilty on all counts.