Michael Cohen has his trial showdown with Donald Trump

Former fixer testifies against ex-president in civil case

Michael Cohen Gets His Trial Showdown With Donald Trump

From left: Michael Cohen and Donald Trump (Getty)

In one of the most anticipated moments of Donald Trump’s civil fraud trial, the former president came face-to-face with one of his longtime top lieutenants, Michael Cohen.

Cohen testified against Trump in the former president’s civil trial in New York City Tuesday, the Messenger reported. Cohen’s allegations against the Trump Organization nearly five years ago lit the fuse for New York Attorney General Letitia James’ investigation of whether Trump properly valued his real estate empire.

With Trump looking on, Cohen claimed his former boss had him “increase the total assets based upon a number that he arbitrarily selected.” Cohen said it was his responsibility to “reverse-engineer the various asset classes” to get to the valuation figures demanded by Trump.

Cohen’s testimony appeared to throw Trump and his former chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, under the bus.

In one example, Cohen recalled that Trump asked for his worth to be raised to $6 billion from $4.5 billion. The former president shook his head at least once during Cohen’s testimony and the former allies didn’t appear to make eye contact.

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Cohen said he was part of a Trump Organization “gang of four” — along with Weisselberg, chief operating officer Matthew Calamari and executive Ron Lieberman — tasked with getting insurance for Trump properties, according to The Guardian. Cohen added that statements of the firm’s financial condition were designed to show that “assets had extremely high values, with low liabilities, in order to obtain better insurance premiums.”

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Trump’s attorneys haven’t had their chance to cross-examine Cohen yet, but are expected to bring up his admitted lies to cast doubt on his testimony. Prior to the day’s events, Trump told reporters outside of the courthouse that Cohen is a “proven liar.”

There have already been plenty of fireworks in Trump’s trial. He and his company stand accused of fraudulently inflating the value of real estate assets on loan and insurance applications. The judge in the case has ordered the dissolution of numerous Trump businesses, although those rulings remain suspended pending appeal.

Holden Walter-Warner