PoliticsTrump on Trial


Judge in Trump hush money trial wants Michael Cohen to stop talking about case

Prosecutors allege Trump paid Cohen to conceal damaging information from coming out before the 2016 election.
Former president Donald Trump addresses the media.
Posted at 2:26 PM, May 10, 2024

Another week of testimony in former President Donald Trump's hush money trial has concluded, and prosecutors say they may be done calling witnesses by the end of next week.

Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen is expected to take the witness stand in the coming days. Cohen is a crucial figure in the case as prosecutors try to prove Trump falsified records to hide payments to Cohen that were meant for porn actress Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, as well as a former doorman at Trump Tower.

The payments, prosecutors allege, were used to conceal damaging information about Trump's personal life from becoming public before the 2016 election.

Trump's lawyers have asked Judge Juan Merchan to place a gag order on Cohen, who has spoken publicly about his desire to see Trump go to jail. The prosecution didn't necessarily disagree, but said they don't have jurisdiction to stop Cohen from speaking, noting they have relayed that message to him already. The judge then gave the prosecution a message to give to Cohen.

"I would direct (prosecutors) to communicate to Cohen that the judge is asking him to refrain from making statements…That comes from the bench and you are communicating that on behalf of the bench," Merchan said.

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The discussion over Cohen's potential testimony came at the end of the day Friday, when prosecutors brought Madeline Westerhout, Trump's former executive assistant in the White House, to the stand. Prosecutors also called Daniel Dixon from AT&T and Jenny Tomalin from Verizon to discuss phone records as custodial witnesses.

Much of Friday's discussion focused on people Trump was in contact with. Westerhout testified that Trump would sign things without reviewing them, including checks, sometimes while he was on the phone and while he was meeting with people.

The custodial witnesses allowed prosecutors to introduce phone records, tweets and other documents into the court record.

Trump faces 34 felony counts for falsifying business records.

The trial will resume on Monday.