CNN legal analyst claims Cohen ‘stealing’ is ‘more serious’ than Trump’s charges

Ariana Baio
Monday 20 May 2024 21:21 BST
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Cnn Legal Analyst Claims Cohen ‘Stealing’ Is ‘More Serious’ Than Trump’s Charges

A legal analyst for CNN claims Michael Cohen’s admission that he stole money from the Trump Organization is actually “more serious” than the falsified business records charges the former president faces.

During cross-examination on Monday, Cohen admitted that he “stole” from the Trump Organization by upcharging them tens of thousands of dollars as part of the hush-money reimbursement plan he agreed to with Donald Trump.

During CNN’s coverage, legal analyst Elie Honig said that the practice, which is considered larceny in New York state, was “crushing” the prosecution’s credibility.

Elie Honig, a legal analyst for CNN, said that Michael Cohen’s admission to ‘stealing’ money from the Trump Organization was ‘more serious’ than the falsified business charges Donald Trump faces
Elie Honig, a legal analyst for CNN, said that Michael Cohen’s admission to ‘stealing’ money from the Trump Organization was ‘more serious’ than the falsified business charges Donald Trump faces (CNN / YouTube)

“The fact that he was never charged with larceny is important because stealing $60,000 through fraud, which would be larceny in New York state, is more serious of a crime than falsifying business records,” Mr Honig said.

Cohen, Mr Trump’s former lawyer and one-time fixer, said during cross-examination that he has never pleaded guilty to larceny or paid back the Trump Organization. The prosecution did not ask Cohen about this while he testified last week.

But during re-direct, Cohen explained that he overcharged the Trump Organization for work he did with Red Finch, a technology firm, to juice-up Mr Trump’s numbers on a poll about the most influential businessmen.

After coming in ninth, Mr Trump felt it wasn’t worth the amount of money Cohen promised to pay Red Finch. Ultimately, Cohen paid the company $20,000 cash in a brown paper bag.

But he still asked the Trump Organization for $50,000 in reimbursement. Cohen said it was “almost like self-help”.

“I wasn’t going to correct the conversation I was having with Allen [Weisselberg] about it. I had not only protected [Mr Trump] to the best that I could but I had also laid out money to Red Finch a year and a half earlier, and again, $130,000 to have my bonus cut by two-thirds was very upsetting to say the least,” Cohen testified.

Mr Honig told CNN on Monday that Cohen dropped a “bomb” on the prosecution with the revelation that he’d pocketed money from the Trump Organization.

Michael Cohen was stealing from Donald Trump, he was lying to people about what he was doing with the money,” Mr Honig said.

Already, Mr Trump’s defense attorneys have sought to paint Cohen as an unreliable witness who has lied under oath multiple times.

Cohen is the prosecution’s main witness in the case in which Mr Trump is charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records.

The former lawyer is the one who helped Mr Trump strike a deal with adult film star Stormy Daniels to buy her silence about allegations of an affair between the two. Mr Trump denies the affair happened and has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Cohen previously testified that he paid Ms Daniels $130,000 just days before the 2016 presidential election and Mr Trump reimbursed him for those payments through monthly installments in 2017.

Those monthly payments amounted to $420,000, including $130,000 for paying Ms Daniels and $50,000 for paying Red Finch. They added $60,000 for Cohen’s year-end bonus and then doubled the total for “tax purposes.”

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