05/18/2024

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Michael Cohen, Donald Trump

Trump ‘never had an email address’ because he knew ‘prosecutors’ love paper trails, Michael Cohen tells hush-money trial jury

Michael Cohen (left) (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File), Donald Trump (right) (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

In eye-opening testimony at Donald Trump’s hush-money trial in Manhattan on Monday, former Trump fixer Michael Cohen said from the witness stand that his ex-boss “never had an email address” because he knew that salivate over paper trails.

The morning question-and-answer session largely involved Cohen describing his time working as a lawyer for Trump, answerable only to him. At times, according to courtroom accounts of what was said, he even spoke glowingly about the “amazing experience” it was in “many ways.” But Cohen’s relationship with Trump began to fracture forever when the feds raided the disgraced attorney’s proprieties and Cohen went to federal prison for tax evasion, bank fraud and campaign finance violations and his role in trying to cover up the Stormy Daniels dalliance — which he said was at the direction of and to the benefit of “Individual-1.”

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    The convicted felon, who separately admitted he lied to Congress about a Moscow Trump Tower negotiations timeline out of loyalty to his ex-boss, has since exited prison and refashioned himself as a truth-teller about Trump.

    But before the about-face, Cohen, as Trump’s then-fixer just weeks before the 2016 election, used Essential Consultants, LLC, to pay porn star Stormy Daniels $130,000 to keep her quiet about having sex with the candidate all the way back in 2006, just a year after Trump married Melania Trump.

    On Monday, Cohen painted Trump as legally savvy, even cagy, when it came to paper trails at the Trump Organization. He said Trump was well aware that having an email address could cause him problems in the future, having seen “too many people” prosecuted as a result.

    “Mr. Trump never had an email address,” Cohen said, before reportedly quoting Trump as follows: “Emails are like written papers. There are too many people who have gone down” to “prosecutors” who had been gifted those paper trails.

    Cohen:

    “Mr. Trump never had an email address.”

    Asked to elaborate on that, Cohen quotes Trump saying: “Emails are like written papers. There are too many people who have gone down” because “prosecutors” had access to their emails.

    — Adam Klasfeld (@KlasfeldReports) May 13, 2024

    The details remind of an episode from the Trump presidency where the then president got into an argument with with White House counsel Don McGahn over note-taking, and explained that real lawyers do not write things down.

    “What about these notes?” Trump asked. “Lawyers don’t take notes. I never had a lawyer who took notes.”

    “I’ve had a lot of great lawyers, like Roy Cohn. He did not take notes,” he added.

    And yet, despite the painstakingly cultivated instinct to avoid paper trails, Trump is on trial for allegedly falsifying business records — and documents, of course, continue to be a feature, not a bug, of the prosecution.

    For instance, jurors have nonetheless seen a “high” importance email from a bank staffer requesting expedited processing for Cohen’s home equity loan funds, $130,000 of which was then wired to Stormy Daniels’ attorney Keith Davidson.

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    Nor did avoiding email prevent Cohen recording conversations with Trump without him knowing, revealing what was said about the $150,000 “catch-and-kill” of Playboy model Karen McDougal’s story of an affair with Trump.

    We're hearing Michael Cohen's secret recording of his conversation with Trump, regarding repaying David Pecker for the Karen McDougal story.

    Pecker begrudgingly paid $150,000 to buy off McDougal's story after not being paid back for a previous coverup. pic.twitter.com/oPhFFIoBOW

    — Erik Uebelacker (@Uebey) May 13, 2024

    Colin Kalmbacher contributed to this report.

    The post Trump ‘never had an email address’ because he knew ‘prosecutors’ love paper trails, Michael Cohen tells hush-money trial jury first appeared on Law & Crime.