March 22, 2023



CNN
 — 

Michael Cohen, the former personal attorney to ex-President Donald Trump, testified Wednesday afternoon in front of a New York grand jury as part of an investigation into hush money payments made to adult film star Stormy Daniels.

“This isn’t a question of vindication. It’s not a question, as I stated before, about revenge … My position is that, at the end of the day, Donald Trump needs to be held accountable for his dirty deeds, if in fact that’s the way that the facts play out,” Cohen told reporters after wrapping up his testimony.

Cohen testified for “a couple” of hours Wednesday following about three hours of testimony on Monday, according to his attorney, Lanny Davis. As he arrived for his testimony on Wednesday, Cohen told reporters that it would “hopefully” be his last time appearing before the grand jury.

The testimony from Trump’s one-time fixer comes as the investigation by the Manhattan district attorney’s office reached a critical period, with prosecutors having invited the former president last week to testify in the probe. The invitation represents the clearest indication yet that prosecutors are nearing a decision on whether to take the unprecedented step of indicting a former president since potential defendants in New York are required by law to be notified and invited to appear before a grand jury weighing charges.

Cohen was a key player in the hush money scheme. He facilitated the payments, made days before the 2016 presidential election, and was reimbursed by the Trump Organization for advancing the money to Daniels. Cohen pleaded guilty to nine federal charges, including campaign finance violations, and was sentenced to three years in prison.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, a Democrat, is investigating Trump’s role in the payments. Trump has denied wrongdoing as well as the affair with Daniels.

Trump’s attorney Joe Tacopina told CNN that the former president will not appear before the grand jury.

Speaking to CNN Thursday in his first on-camera interview since his testimony, Cohen wouldn’t say what he was asked specifically, but suggested the questions may include topics that were broader than just the hush money scheme.

“Their questioning of me started out at, like, 35,000 feet. By the time I hit the 20th interview (with the district attorney), we were down to, like, three feet, ready to land,” Cohen told CNN’s Don Lemon. “The grand jury was the actual take-off back to, we’ll call it, ‘accountability-ville.’”

Asked if he knew if he was the last or toward the end of the list of witnesses in the investigation, Cohen responded, “I would presume that I am,” though he acknowledged that he does not know.

Daniels, meanwhile, met with prosecutors with the Manhattan district attorney’s office Wednesday, according to a tweet sent by her attorney.

“Stormy responded to questions and has agreed to make herself available as a witness, or for further inquiry if needed,” said her attorney Clark Brewster.

In his interview with Lemon on Thursday, Cohen suggested that it “certainly doesn’t benefit” Trump that Daniels is involved in the case.

“If that helps the district attorney’s case to go forward, so be it,” he said.

This story has been updated with additional details.


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