Michael Cohen testifies he stole from Trump Org at hush money trial

NEW YORK — Michael Cohen testified that he stole from the Trump Organization when he returned to the witness stand for the end of his cross-examination Monday at Donald Trump’s hush money trial in Manhattan.

Defense lawyer Todd Blanche resumed his questioning by digging into Cohen’s credibility, eliciting testimony that he had paid $20,000 to a tech company that had done online polls for the Trump campaign, but requested reimbursement for $50,000 — pocketing the difference.

“So you stole from the Trump Organization, right?”

“Yes sir,” Cohen replied.

Blanche asked if it was accurate that he deceived longtime Trump Org finance chief Allen Weisselberg about this in the same January 2017 meeting where he says they discussed covering up his reimbursement for paying Daniels. Cohen said yes.

“And you told multiple prosecutors in the DA’s office that story?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Did you ever have to plead guilty to larceny?”

“No, sir.”

Cohen said he never paid back the extra money he took.

Blanche also established through questions to Cohen that the then-fixer was communicating with David Pecker in October 2016 about issues unrelated to hush money, which Cohen said he had.

The presumed GOP nominee for president walked into court holding a stack of printed-out news articles at around 8:40 a.m. flanked by his biggest entourage yet, including a cavalcade of sitting Republicans, his son, Eric Trump, and famed defense lawyer Alan Dershowitz, Bernie Kerik, former New York City Police Commissioner and Chuck Zito, former president of the New York chapter of the Hells Angels.

State Supreme Court Judge Juan Merchan began the day’s proceedings early, telling both sides that closing arguments will likely occur next week due to the upcoming holiday weekend.

Trump, 77, has pleaded not guilty to 34 counts of falsifying business records connected to his alleged reimbursement to Cohen for issuing a $130,000 hush money payment to Stormy Daniels 11 days out from the 2016 election.

Prosecutors allege the reimbursement was falsely logged in the books as payment for legal fees to mask an underlying conspiracy to influence Trump’s chances of winning the election.

Cohen, during three days on the stand last week, described being Trump’s right-hand man for a decade after his 2007 hiring, telling jurors he threatened, lied, and bullied to complete tasks and make the boss happy.

He said the payoff to Daniels was executed as part of a task he was assigned at an August 2015 Trump Tower meeting attended by him, Trump, and former tabloid publisher David Pecker, which included boosting positive stories about Trump in the National Enquirer, hitjobs on his opponents, and identifying and negative rumors that could come to light to be bought and buried.

On cross-examination, defense lawyer Todd Blanche has attempted to discredit Cohen — who’s admitted to lying to Congress — in the eyes of the jury.

Cohen is expected to be the prosecution’s final witness in the case.