Michael Cohen gives details of Trump hush money scheme including check stubs, fake receipts

Former Trump attorney, Michael Cohen, departs his home for Manhattan Criminal Court for the trial of former US President Donald Trump for allegedly covering up hush money payments linked to extramarital affairs in New York City, on May 14, 2024. (Pho

Donald Trump’s fixer-turned-foe returned to the witness stand and could face a bruising round of questioning from the former president’s lawyers.

Michael Cohen 's testimony this week has linked Trump to all aspects of a hush money scheme that prosecutors say was aimed at stifling stories that threatened his 2016 campaign. He's the prosecution’s star witness.

U.S. Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-LA) listens as former President Donald Trump speaks to the media as he arrives for his trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments linked to extramarital affairs, at Manhattan Criminal Court on May 14, 2024, in New York City. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

U.S. Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-LA) listens as former President Donald Trump speaks to the media as he arrives for his trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments linked to extramarital affairs, at Manhattan Criminal Court on May 14

Under questioning this week, Cohen described the nuts-and-bolts of how the scheme worked. In his testimony Tuesday, Cohen talked about purposefully mislabeled checks, false receipts and blind loyalty, and placed Trump at the center of the scheme and underscored the foundational argument of the case — that it’s not about the spectacle of what Trump was paying for, but rather his effort to illegally cover up those payments, the Associated Press reported.

A shocking moment did come, but it was courtesy of House Speaker Mike Johnson, who appeared at the courthouse with Trump.

Here's a full recap of Tuesday's testimony:

4:50 p.m. ET: Trump reads aloud from favorable articles, says the trial is going ‘very well’

Trump walked out of court Tuesday afternoon saying he thinks he had a "very, very good day."

"The trial is going very well," Trump told reporters, flanked by a large group that included his attorneys and aides.

Trump pointed to recent polling as well as his massive rally in New Jersey over the weekend as evidence that the hearing was doing little to blunt his standing in the race.

"Voters are getting it," he said, adding: "I think we’re exposing this scam for what it is."

Trump once again relied on the words of others to lace into the case, reading off quotes from supporters, including several who joined him at the courthouse Tuesday.

He also continued to complain about the gag order that bars him from attacking witnesses, jurors and others.

"I am not allowed to talk about big portions of my case," he railed.

4:45 p.m. ET: Court ends for the day

Court ends for the day.

4:40 p.m. ET: Judge Merchan chides Trump’s lawyer: ‘Don’t make it about yourself’

Judge Juan M. Merchan was unnerved by the blistering start to Cohen’s cross-examination, chiding Trump lawyer Todd Blanche at a sidebar for quizzing the witness about recent social media posts he’d made about the former president’s legal team.

"Why are you making this about yourself?" Merchan asked, according to a transcript, after Blanche confronted Cohen about an April 23 TikTok post in which he referred to the attorney as a "crying little [expletive]."

"I’m not making it about myself, your honor," Blanche said at the sidebar, which was held at the judge’s bench out of earshot of jurors and reporters.

"I have a right to show this witness’s bias, and he has expressed bias about the lawyers just because of who he represents," Blanche continued.

Assistant District Attorney Susan Hoffinger countered that Cohen’s comments about Trump’s lawyers were irrelevant and inadmissible to showing bias — that only remarks about Trump himself could be used for that purpose.

"It doesn’t matter if he has bias towards you. it doesn’t matter," Merchan told Blanche. "The issue is whether he has bias towards the defendant. Don’t make it about myself."

For his part, Cohen had answered Blanche’s question before Hoffinger interrupted with an objection and Merchan, moments later, summoned the lawyers to the bench. His response: "Sounds like something I would say."

4:30 p.m. ET: The defense expects cross-examination of Michael Cohen to last until end of day Thursday

According to a transcript of discussions between the judge and lawyers, prosecutor Joshua Steinglass told Judge Merchan that it’s "highly likely" the defense will be able to start calling witnesses on Thursday.

But Trump lawyer Blanche he expects the defense’s cross-examination of Cohen to continue until the end of the day Thursday and that they won’t start calling witnesses until next week —if they do at all. In addition, the prosecution could still call rebuttal witnesses once the defense case is finished.

The trial does not take place on Wednesdays and is also off this Friday so Trump can attend his son Barron’s high school graduation.

4:25 p.m. ET: Michael Cohen hoped to have his sentence reduced

Michael Cohen conceded that after reconnecting with the Manhattan district attorney’s office in early 2021, he wanted the prosecutors’ office to publicly acknowledge that he was cooperating — again in hopes of getting part of his sentence reduced, the Associated Press. 

But, as has been his approach throughout the early stages of cross-examination, Cohen wasn’t direct in his response. Asked by Trump lawyer Todd Blanche if that was his desire, Cohen said: "I would say so, yes."

"I’m not trying to put words in your mouth. You wanted that?" Blanche responded.

"Yes," Cohen said.

Cohen explained that he was looking for a reduction of the home confinement portion of his sentence, which ran until November 2021. He said he wanted the reduction not only as a reward for his cooperation but also because he thought he was entitled to a year off from credits he racked up for working and completing programs in federal prison.

Cohen suggested the federal Bureau of Prisons may have miscalculated his sentence. He remains under court supervision until November.

4:15 p.m. ET: ‘I’m motivated by many things.’

Michael Cohen was asked to listen through headphones to a snippet of his podcast, as was Trump while sitting at the defense table. He was asked by Todd Blanche if he recalled saying in an October 2020 podcast episode that Trump needs to wear handcuffs and that "people will not be satisfied until this man is sitting inside a cell."

Cohen said he didn’t recall saying that, "but I wouldn’t put it past me."

The line of questioning was designed to persuade jurors that the prosecution’s star witness is driven by personal animus and motivated through his participation in the case to hold Trump accountable.

"Is it fair to say you’re motivated by fame?" Blanche asked.

"No sir, I don’t think that’s fair to say," Cohen said, later adding in response to a question about whether he was motivated by publicity that: "I’m motivated by many things."

4:10 p.m. ET: Michael Cohen sought (and later denied) a reduced sentence for his cooperation

Trump's lawyer Todd Blanche is attempting to portray Cohen as a Trump-obsessed loyalist who, spurned by his ex-boss, turned on him and attempted to parlay his insider knowledge into a reduced prison sentence for his own crimes, the Associated Press reported. 

Blanche pressed Cohen about discussions he had with Manhattan district attorney’s prosecutors in August 2019 when they visited him at a federal prison camp in Otisville, New York, about 70 miles (113 kilometers) from New York City.

Early in the conversation, about three months into his prison stint, Cohen asked the prosecutors how he would benefit from cooperating with them, Blanche told the witness.

"You told them you had been screwed over by the system," the defense lawyer added.

"I don’t know if that’s the language that I used, but sounds correct," Cohen responded.

Blanche also noted that when Anthony Scaramucci, the former White House communications director, visited him in prison in October 2019, Cohen expressed a desire to have his sentence reduced.

Blanche seemed to be preparing to cast doubt on Cohen’s motivations and asked him if, when he began speaking to prosecutors, he queried them on how long it would take to bring charges against Trump.

"Did it matter to you how long it would take charges to be brought in this case?" Blanche said.

"I didn’t consider it, no sir," he replied, later saying he didn’t recall asking about their timeline.

Blanche also asked Cohen if his lawyer asked a judge to give him a reduced sentence in exchange for his cooperation with the special counsel’s office investigating Trump and the Manhattan district attorney’s office, and Cohen said yes.

Cohen’s application for a reduced sentence was denied, but he was eventually released to home confinement because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

4:00 p.m. ET: Defense says there’s still no determination on whether Trump will testify

Earlier Tuesday, Judge Juan M. Merchan asked Trump lawyer Todd Blanche if there was any indication whether his client would testify, to which Blanche responded: "No."

"No determination yet?" Merchan clarified, according to a transcript of the sidebar discussion, which was held out of reporters’ earshot.

"No," Blanche said.

3:15 p.m. ET: Defense questions Michael Cohen’s past praise for Trump

Trump prosecutor Todd Blanche focused his questions on the lavish praise Cohen had for Trump when he served as his personal fixer, the Associated Press reported. 

The defense lawyer asked if he admired Trump and his wealth, and Cohen said yes. Cohen was asked about having read twice Trump’s 1987 book, "The Art of the Deal."

"I viewed it as an excellent book, yes."

"You actually called it a masterpiece," Blanche said, to which Cohen agreed.

Blanche asked Cohen if he had admired Trump and saw himself in him — whether he saw the businessman as an ambitious, hardworking and innovative man, which Cohen affirmed.

Blanche then asked Cohen if he had said in his 2020 Memoir, "Disloyal," that he was "obsessed" with Trump. Cohen said he couldn’t recall having said that.

The defense attorney tried to get Cohen to square his over-the-top praise for his former boss with his stance now. As he continued to press, Cohen appeared at times to get irritated with an edge in his voice, saying several times of his past comments: "That’s how I felt."

"At the time I was knee-deep into the cult of Donald Trump," Cohen said at one point.

3:00 p.m. ET: Michael Cohen said his TikTok livestreams allow him to ‘vent’ and ‘create community’

Trump lawyer Todd Blanche continues to drill into Cohen’s commentary on social media and his podcasts and asked Cohen about his posts on TikTok, which he said he started six weeks ago, the Associated Press reported. 

People can subscribe to his posts for $5.99 a month, Cohen testified.

Cohen said the goal of his TikTok livestreams is "to build an audience, to create community — really to vent. I’ve had trouble sleeping, so I found an outlet."

Asked how many of his nightly TikToks involve talking about Trump, Cohen said: "I only do it six days a week. I would say six days a week."

Cohen, under questioning from Blanche, testified that he mentioned Trump on every episode of his podcast.

2:30 p.m. ET: Trump lawyer hones in Cohen’s social media posts

Amid rapid-fire objections from prosecutor Susan Hoffinger, Trump lawyer Todd Blanche continued probing Cohen’s hyperfocus on Trump, quizzing him about various social media posts and comments he’s made about Trump and the trial as it was unfolding, the Associated Press reported. 

"Mr. Cohen, you have been following what is happening in this trial?" Blanche asked, giving voice to the kinds of gripes Trump can’t lob because of his gag order.

"To some extent, yes," Cohen answered.

Blanche then pressed Cohen about an April 23 TikTok post he made — after the start of the trial — in which he stated that the prosecution’s first witness, former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker is corroborating what "I’ve been saying for six years."

Cohen explained that someone had called him and told him about Pecker’s testimony.

Then Blanche launched back into some of Cohen’s more vulgar posts.

2:15 p.m. ET: Trump lawyer argues Cohen is ‘obsessed’ with Trump

Defense lawyer Todd Blanche looked to make good on his opening statement’s depiction of Cohen as an "obsessed" witness, getting him to acknowledge that he is personally vested in the case and has talked about it on TV for years. Some of that publicity, Blanche said, came despite prosecutors’ frustration "that you would not stop talking to the press."

"Yes, sir," Cohen said.

2:05 p.m. ET: Michael Cohen was the prosecution’s final witness

Before court resumed for the day, prosecutor Joshua Steinglass told the judge that Cohen would be the prosecution’s last witness. The disclosure occurred during a sidebar conversation that was out of earshot of reporters but recorded in the official court transcript.

2:00 p.m. ET: Prosecutors pushed Michael Cohen to address his shortcomings in advance of his impending cross-examination

As she finished questioning Michael Cohen, prosecutor Susan Hoffinger forced him to confront the many faults that Trump’s lawyers are likely to seize on during cross-examination — including his 2018 guilty plea and concerns that he may have lied on the witness stand at the former president’s civil fraud trial last year, the Associated Press reported. 

It’s common for prosecutors to get their witnesses to address negative information before defense attorneys have a chance to grill them about it on cross-examination. Hoffinger skillfully navigated the potential landmines and Cohen, poised and showing contrition, carefully and thoughtfully addressed each of them.

At the fraud trial, Cohen insisted that he wasn’t actually guilty of tax evasion even though he pleaded guilty to the charge in 2018. Asked if he had lied to the federal judge who took his plea, Cohen said, "Yes."

A federal judge who subsequently denied Cohen’s request for early release from court supervision wrote that his testimony "gives rise to two possibilities: one, Cohen committed perjury when he pleaded guilty before Judge Pauley or, two, Cohen committed perjury" at the fraud trial.

Asked to clarify Tuesday, Cohen said he did not dispute the facts of his guilty plea to the tax evasion charge, but that he didn’t think he should’ve been charged with a crime "as a first-time offender who always paid his taxes on the due date." Cohen similarly argued that he shouldn’t have been charged with making false statements to a bank, even though he acknowledged that he had omitted information from a home equity loan application.

Nevertheless, Cohen said, he took responsibility, paid the taxes and fines he owed and spent nearly a year in prison. "In fact, I remain even today still on supervised release," Cohen said.

Cohen, still discontented with the way his plea went down, testified that federal prosecutors had given him only 48 hours to decide and threatened to charge his wife, who’d also signed the tax returns in question, if he didn’t agree to plead guilty.

1:40 p.m. ET: Donald Trump to campaign in New York along with Tim Scott and Doug Burgum

While Donald Trump complains about being stuck in the city for the trial, he is also taking advantage of its donors to raise money for his campaign.

South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum will be joining Trump at a fundraiser in New York Tuesday evening, according to people familiar with their plans.

He’ll also be attending fundraisers in Ohio and Kentucky Wednesday when court is not in session.

Between the three events and their small-dollar fundraising operation, Trump’s campaign expects to raise at least $25 million this week.

The people spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the closed-door event.

1:30 p.m. ET: Michael Cohen’s life after prison, disbarment

Before he concluded his initial testimony prior to the break, Cohen shared how he makes money now that he’s served prison time and been disbarred as a lawyer. Cohen said he’s working now predominantly in "media and entertainment" — specifically on two podcasts where he’s frequently critical of Donald Trump, the Associated Press reported. 

Cohen tried to downplay his shows’ outsized focus on Trump, testifying that "Mea Culpa" and another one he hosts on the liberal MeidasTouch network talked about the "news of the day."

"Among other topics, do you frequently discuss Mr. Trump?" prosecutor Hoffinger asked.

"I do," he said, his eyes shifting around.

Hoffinger also asked Cohen about two books he wrote: "Disloyal," which he described as a memoir he wrote in prison, and "Revenge," which he said was about the "weaponization" of the Justice Department against a critic of the president, referring to himself.

She also asked him about merchandise he sells; while most are about him, but said, "There is one that is reflective of Mr. Trump."

Cohen also testified having Stormy Daniels on his podcast at one point.

"I thought it would be a good time to speak to her and to ‘Mea Culpa,’ and to apologize," he testified.

Cohen said that was the first time he spoke with Daniels. He invited her on his podcast a second time later on.

1:15 p.m. ET: Michael Cohen recalls 2019 congressional testimony where he apologized to his family and country

Prosecutor Susan Hoffinger asked Cohen to describe his 2019 testimony to Congress before he reported to prison. Cohen said that in his congressional testimony, he apologized to the country and his family, to Congress for having lied in his prior appearance before congressional committees in 2017 and to the American public.

Hoffinger asked him what he apologized to the American public for.

"For lying to them for acting in a way that suppressed information, that the citizenry had a right to know in order to make a determination on the individual who was seeking the highest office in the land," Cohen said.

1:00 p.m. ET: Appeals court upholds Trump gag order

A New York appeals court denied and dismissed Trump’s appeal of the gag order in the trial, finding that Judge Merchan properly determined the former president’s public statements "posed a significant threat to the integrity of the testimony of witnesses and potential witnesses," the As

Trump had asked the state’s intermediate appeals court to lift or modify the gag order, which bars him from commenting publicly about jurors, witnesses and others connected to the case, including the judge’s family and prosecutors other than District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

Specifically, according to the ruling, Trump challenged restrictions on his ability to comment about Matthew Colangelo, a former Justice Department official who is a part of the prosecution team, and Merchan’s daughter, the head of a political consulting firm that has worked for Trump’s rival Joe Biden and other Democratic candidates.

The appeals court ruled that Merchan "properly weighed" Trump’s free speech rights against the "historical commitment to ensuring the fair administration of justice in criminal cases, and the right of persons related or tangentially related to the criminal proceedings from being free from threats, intimidation, harassment, and harm."

12:20 p.m. ET: After guilty plea, Trump turned on Michael Cohen

Donald Trump bashed his former lawyer on Twitter, writing: "If anyone is looking for a good lawyer I would strongly suggest that you don’t retain the services of Michael Cohen!"

Cohen testified that the tweet, and another noting that "unlike Michael Cohen" former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort "refused to ‘break,’" when fighting his own federal charges, left him feeling like he was out of the fold — abandoned by Trump and his associates, the Associated Press reported. 

"It caused a lot of angst, anxiety," Cohen testified.

12:15 p.m. ET: Michael Cohen’s family pushed him to turn himself in

Michael Cohen’s tone shifted — more deliberate and emotional — as he described how his family convinced him to finally turn on Trump after the FBI raided his office, apartment and hotel room in April 2018, the Associated Press reported. 

Amid conversations with lawyers, including one connected to Trump loyalist Rudy Giuliani, Cohen said his wife and two children broke through to his sensibilities and made him see how sticking by Trump was detrimental.

"My family, my wife, my daughter, my son, all said to me, ‘Why are you holding onto this loyalty? What are you doing? We’re supposed to be your first loyalty,’" Cohen testified.

Cohen says he came away from the conversation thinking "that it was about time to listen to them" and show loyalty "to my wife, my son, my daughter and my country."

Cohen pleaded guilty in August 2018 to federal charges involving the hush money payment, Stormy Daniels and other unrelated crimes — he served time in federal prison.

12:10 p.m. ET: Michael Cohen said he communicated with Trump through an elaborate backchannel

Michael Cohen described a backchannel that was set up for him to communicate with Trump via Costello, who would communicate with Giuliani, who would then relay information to Trump. As they made use of the backchannel, some of the emails between Cohen and Costello contain a barely disguised reference to Giuliani and Trump, with a wink and a nod to men as "my friend" and "his client," the Associated Press reported. 

"Since you jumped off the phone rather abruptly, I did not get a chance to tell you that my friend has communicated to me that he is meeting with his client this evening and he added that if there was anything you wanted to convey you should tell me and my friend will bring it up for discussion this evening," Costello said in an June 2018 email.

"It’s all back channel, sort of I-Spy-ish," Cohen said of the covert references. "Never mentioning President Trump, just using code word."

11:50 a.m. ET: ‘Sleep well tonight, you have friends in high places’

Michael Cohen recounted in detail outreach he received from a New York attorney named Robert Costello under questioning from prosecutors that appeared designed to show jurors the lengths the Trump orbit went to try to keep Cohen from cooperating with prosecutors and to lay the groundwork for a potential pardon, according to the Associated Press. 

Costello identified himself as a close friend and former coworker of Giuliani, a "relationship that could be very beneficial to you," Cohen recalled him saying. He presented a retainer agreement to Cohen at their first meeting, something Cohen said he found odd, and asked him to consider hiring him as his lawyer.

Jurors saw an April 2018 email in which Costello said he had spoken with Giuliani. "You are ‘loved,’" Costello wrote. "lf you want to call me I will give you the details. I told him everything you asked me to and he said they knew that. There was never a doubt and they are in our corner."

He told him that he should "sleep well tonight, you have friends in high places."

11:35 a.m. ET: ‘Concerned. Despondent. Angry.’ Michael Cohen describes the 2018 raid by federal agents

In April 2018, federal agents raided Michael Cohen’s law firm, a hotel room where he’d been temporarily staying and a bank where he’d stashed valuables, the Associated Press reported. 

Asked how he felt, he responded: "How to describe your life being turned upside down? Concerned. Despondent. Angry."

"Were you frightened?" Hoffinger asked. Cohen replied: "Yes, ma’am."

But he said he was heartened by a phone call from Trump that he said gave him reassurance and convinced him to remain "in the camp."

"He said to me, ‘Don’t worry. I’m the president of the United States. There’s nothing here. Everything’s going to be OK. Stay tough — you’re going to be OK,’" Cohen quoted Trump as saying.

Trump subsequently posted a series of social media posts praising Cohen, which the lawyer says further encouraged him to remain loyal. The tweets defend Cohen as "a fine person with a wonderful family" and said, "Most people will flip if the government lets them out of trouble, even if it means lying or making up stories. Sorry, I don’t see Michael doing that."

Trump’s lawyers were also continuing to pay his legal fees and he remained part of a joint-defense agreement with Trump and his attorneys.

Cohen summed up the message he felt Trump was sending him in the tweets: "Don’t flip."

11:20 a.m. ET: A nondisclosure agreement and a restraining order

Michael Cohen ran through the flurry of legal action that ensued as Stormy Daniels appeared poised to go public with her story in 2018, culminating in a decision to release her from a nondisclosure agreement — which he says was done to avoid Trump having to answer questions under oath at a deposition, the Associated Press reported. 

In an answer that was stricken from the record after a defense objection, Cohen testified that Trump decided to release Daniels from the agreement before he would have been required to appear for a deposition in her lawsuit against him, which had sought to nullify the nondisclosure deal.

"Prior to that date that he was required to sit, the decision was made to terminate the nondisclosure agreement," Cohen testified.

Daniels had filed the lawsuit through her then-new lawyer Michael Avenatti after Trump had previously sought to enforce the nondisclosure agreement with a temporary restraining order, Cohen testified.

Cohen said Trump and his son Eric Trump had tasked him with seeking the restraining order amid concerns that Daniels would go public with her story, possibly in a "60 Minutes" interview, which she eventually did.

Cohen said he worked with another lawyer to obtain the restraining order but was never able to serve Daniels. When he contacted the lawyer who negotiated the deal for her, Keith Davidson, he said Davidson told him he no longer represented Daniels.

11:10 a.m. ET: ‘Client says thanks for what you do’

Jurors saw a public statement from Michael Cohen to The New York Times in 2018 in which he asserted, falsely, that he had "used my own personal funds" to pay Daniels and that he had not been reimbursed for that expenditure, either directly or indirectly. He ended the statement by asserting that the payment to Daniels was "lawful, and was not a campaign contribution or a campaign expenditure by anyone."

Cohen said the statement, issued in response to a complaint filed with the Federal Election Commission alleging possible campaign finance violations, was misleading.

Hoffinger asked him about that last line: "Was that a false statement?"

"It was my drawing a legal conclusion, which was inaccurate," Cohen said.

He said that when he sent the statement to Trump’s personal lawyer at the time, Jay Sekulow, the response was, "Client says thanks for what you do."

11:05 a.m. ET: A ‘misleading’ statement

Michael Cohen testified that a Feb. 8, 2018, statement he released that declared, "Neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms. Clifford," was "a true statement but it’s deceptive. It’s misleading."

Hoffinger asked why it was misleading.

Cohen said it was because it was neither the Trump Organization nor the campaign that was a part of the transaction, but the revocable trust.

"It was Mr. Donald J. Trump himself," Cohen said.

He said he made the misleading statement "in order to protect Mr. Trump, to stay on message."

11:00 a.m. ET: Michael Cohen testifies to crafting Daniels’ hush money denial

After The Wall Street Journal reported on Jan. 12, 2018, that Michael Cohen had arranged the $130,000 payment to Daniels, Cohen said he felt a second, official statement from Daniels would put an end to the story once and for all, according to the Associated Press. 

Cohen testified that he’d heard Daniels was planning to go on Jimmy Kimmel’s late-night show at the end of the month and again contacted Davidson about issuing a statement.

The day of Daniels’ appearance, she issued a statement again denying that she had a sexual encounter with Trump and reiterated that she had not been paid "hush money" to deny the claim.

Cohen testified that he knew the statement was false because he had helped craft it, and he knew the payment had been made because he had paid it.

"Was that false?" prosecutor Hoffinger asked of the payment.

"Yes," Cohen said.

"How do you know?" Hoffinger asked.

"Because I paid it," Cohen said.

10:55 a.m. ET: Michael Cohen admits lying to The Wall Street Journal

Michael Cohen testified that he spoke with Trump before making a statement to The Wall Street Journal in January 2018 in which he claimed that he — Cohen — had made the $130,000 payment to Daniels on his own, without Trump knowing about it, the Associated Press reported. 

Cohen said he told Trump that he planned to tell the newspaper that he’d "paid the money on his behalf without his knowledge" and that "just because something isn’t true doesn’t mean it can’t hurt you."

Cohen said Trump responded: "Oh, that’s good. Good."

Cohen testified that he continued to lie about the Stormy Daniels payment into 2018 "in order to protect Mr. Trump."

Cohen said he also contacted Keith Davidson, the lawyer who represented Daniels in the hush money deal, and asked him to issue a statement denying Trump’s involvement.

"I was angry and I was concerned," Cohen testified, adding that he was skeptical of how the story had gotten out.

In a text message shown in court, Davidson told Cohen: "WSJ called stormy. She didn’t answer. They say they are running story & have a deadline of tonight for her to comment."

"Write a strong denial comment for her like you did before," Cohen replied.

Cohen later sent a statement to The Wall Street Journal signed by Daniels denying that she had a "sexual and/or romantic affair" with Trump.

10:50 a.m. ET: Michael Cohen admits lying to Congress

Under questioning from prosecutor Susan Hoffinger, Michael Cohen admitted that he lied to Congress during an investigation into potential ties between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign.

Cohen pleaded guilty as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, admitting that he lied, among other things, about the number of times he spoke with Trump about a real estate project in Moscow.

Asked why he lied, Cohen said, "Because I was staying on Mr. Trump’s message that there was no Russia, Russia, Russia."

Cohen also explained that at the time he was part of what’s known as a joint defense agreement, in which attorneys for multiple subjects in an investigation work together toward a common purpose and communicate during the course of that probe on strategy.

While Hoffinger appears to be trying to take the sting out of the upcoming cross-examination, likely to delve into Cohen’s past lies, she is also painting him to the jury as someone who’d been a devoted Trump loyalist, whose crimes were committed on the former president’s behalf.

10:45 a.m. ET: With Trump in the White House, Michael Cohen says he profited from the connection

As personal attorney to the president, Michael Cohen said he continued to look out for Trump and lie for him, saying he did so "out of loyalty and in order to protect him."

At the same time, Cohen testified, he sought to profit from his title by attracting clients and collecting fees from companies looking for insights into Trump’s leadership and politics.

Cohen said he also signed a lucrative agreement with a major law firm to perform legal work.

10:40 a.m. ET: Michael Cohen’s work picked up when Stormy Daniels went public in 2018

Michael Cohen said he did only "minimal" work for Trump in 2017 but didn’t send an invoice because it was so limited that it didn’t require payment.

The work concerned a lawsuit against Trump from Summer Zervos, a former contestant on the TV show, "The Apprentice," who alleged that she’d been defamed by Trump.

The defamation lawsuit was eventually dropped in 2021.

But in 2018, work for Trump picked up.

"As a result of the Stormy Daniels matter and her electing to go public, Mr. Trump wanted an action to be filed, an arbitration action," for breach of the nondisclosure agreement.

Cohen said he was contacted by Trump and his son Eric Trump about how to go forward with the arbitration. Eric Trump was running day-to-day operations at the Trump Organization while his father was in the White House.

Again, he said he did not bill for the work.

10:30 a.m. ET: Speaker Mike Johnson calls the trial a ‘sham’

"The people are losing faith right now in this country, they’re losing faith in our system of justice," he charged, putting the weight of his powerful office behind the indicted former president and denouncing the criminal proceedings as "not about justice" but rather "all about politics."

With Donald Trump barred by gag order from attacking witnesses and the judge’s family, Johnson did the dirty work for him. Decrying Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and other court officials as partisans, he honed in on Cohen, the prosecution’s star witness, slamming him as "a man who is clearly on a mission for personal revenge" and "has trouble with the truth."

"No one should believe a word he says today," Johnson said.

Standing outside the courthouse, the House speaker showed just how far Trump’s Republican allies are willing to go in their support for the former president as seeks to retake the White House.

"I came here again today on my own to support President Trump because I am one of hundreds of millions of people and one citizen who is deeply concerned about this," he said.

10:15 a.m. ET: Michael Cohen details the dry paperwork at the case’s heart

Prosecutors are walking step-by-step through monthly invoices Michael Cohen sent and checks that he received, having Trump’s former fixer explain the purpose of each document as it is shown to the jury and reading the text contained. It’s the dry paperwork of the business records that prosecutors have made the crux of the case.

Under questioning by prosecutor Susan Hoffinger, Cohen reiterates again and again that he had no retainer agreement with Trump and that the payments were a reimbursement, not for legal services rendered. That testimony is important because prosecutors allege that the reimbursement records falsely described the purpose of the payments as legal expenses done pursuant to a retainer.

"Were the descriptions on this check stub false?" Hoffinger asked.

"Yes," Cohen said.

"And again, there was no retainer agreement," Hoffinger asked.

"Correct," Cohen replied.

All told, Cohen was paid $420,000, with funds drawn from a Trump personable account.

9:50 a.m. ET: Michael Cohen questioning resumes

Michael Cohen went under questioning again as Trump's hush money trial resumed.

Prosecutor Susan Hoffinger resumed her questioning shortly after Cohen entered court. Trump didn’t appear to react to Cohen’s entrance. Instead, he focused on a piece of paper in his hand, which he raised and showed to his attorney, Todd Blanche, with a scowl as Cohen walked by.

Before the jury and Cohen arrived in the courtroom, a sidebar conference was held with the judge at the request of prosecutor Joshua Steinglass. The subject was not clear.

During the sidebar, Trump had an extended conversation with his attorney Emil Bove, occasionally gesturing with his hand or thumb.

Trump, flanked by supporters including the speaker of the House and several potential vice presidential picks, railed against the trial once again before entering the courthouse.

Trump, who is barred by gag order from going after witnesses, jurors and the family members of court officials, quoted a litany of conservative commentators’ criticism of the case.

Among those in the courtroom with Trump were former presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, one of Trump's sons, Eric, and daughter-in-law Lara.

9:40 a.m. ET: Cohen gives jurors an insider's account

Once Donald Trump’s loyal attorney and fixer, Michael Cohen on Monday provided jurors with an insider’s account of payments to silence women’s claims of sexual encounters with Trump, saying the payments were directed by Trump to fend off damage to his 2016 White House bid.

While prosecutors’ most important witness, he’s also their most vulnerable to attack — having served time in federal prison and built his persona in recent years around being a thorn in Trump’s side.

Cohen is expected to be on the witness stand for several days, and face intense grilling by Trump’s attorneys, who have painted him as a liar who’s trying to take down the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing in the case.

9 a.m. ET: Trump enters court, Speaker Mike Johnson to address ‘sham’ 

U.S. Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-LA) listens as former President Donald Trump speaks to the media as he arrives for his trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments linked to extramarital affairs, at Manhattan Criminal Court on May 14, 2024, in New York City. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

U.S. Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-LA) listens as former President Donald Trump speaks to the media as he arrives for his trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments linked to extramarital affairs, at Manhattan Criminal Court on May 14

Former President Donald Trump walked into court just before 9 a.m. Tuesday for another day of testimony from his fixer-turned-foe, Michael Cohen.

House Speaker Mike Johnson, second in the line of succession to the president, traveled with Trump in his motorcade in a politically stunning and significant show of Republican support.

Johnson is using his powerful pulpit to attack the U.S. judicial system, criticizing the courts as biased against the former president. The speaker claims the case is politically motivated by Democrats and insists Trump has done "nothing wrong."

It’s a remarkable, if not unprecedented, moment in modern American politics to have the powerful House speaker, a constitutional officer, turn his political party against the U.S. system and rule of law by declaring a trial illegitimate.

Johnson's team announced he planned to address media later in the morning "outside of the ongoing sham prosecution of President Trump."

Trump's hush money case

The indictment against Trump centers on payoffs allegedly made to two women, porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal.

Trump’s former lawyer and "fixer," Michael Cohen, paid Daniels $130,000 and arranged for the publisher of the National Enquirer supermarket tabloid to pay McDougal $150,000.

Trump's company, the Trump Organization, then reimbursed Cohen and paid him bonuses and extra payments – all of which, prosecutors say, were falsely logged as legal expenses in company records. Over several months, Cohen said the company paid him $420,000.

Payments were also allegedly made to a Trump Tower doorman who claimed to have a story about a child he alleged Trump had out of wedlock.

The indictment, brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, made Trump the first ex-president ever to face criminal charges.

Trump has denied the accusations.

Who are the jurors?

After being forced to release a seated juror, the judge ordered the media not to report on where potential jurors have worked – even when stated in open court – and to be careful about revealing information about those who would sit in judgment of the former president. Here's what we can report.

Juror 1 and foreperson: A man who lives in New York City and has no children. Loves the outdoors and gets his news from The New York Times, Daily Mail, Fox News and MSNBC. 

When asked by Trump defense attorney Todd Blanche if he was aware Trump is charged in other cases and jurisdictions, and how that affects him, the man said, "I don’t have an opinion." 

Juror 2: A man who said he follows Trump’s former lawyer, Cohen, on "X," formerly known as Twitter. He also revealed he follows other right-wing accounts including Trump’s former adviser, Kellyanne Conway. 

He has said he would unfollow Cohen as he may be a witness in the trial. 

Juror 3: A middle-aged man who lives in Manhattan. He grew up in Oregon. He gets his news from The New York Times and Google. 

Juror 4: A man who lived in New York City for 15 years. He is originally from California. He is married with three children and a wife who is a teacher. He has served on a jury before – both on a grand jury and a jury in a criminal trial. 

The juror said he gets his news from "a smattering" of sources and does not use social media. 

Juror 5: A young woman who is a New York native. 

She gets most of her news from Google and Tiktok. 

Juror 6: A young woman who lives in Manhattan and likes to dance. 

Juror 7: A man who is married with two children. 

He gets most of his news from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the New York Post and The Washington Post. The man has said he is aware there are other lawsuits but said, "I’m not sure that I know anyone’s character." 

Juror 8: No information has been released about this juror. 

Juror 9: A woman who lives in Manhattan. She is not married and has no children. 

She has never served on a jury before and does not watch the news. However, she said she does have email subscriptions to CNN and The New York Times. She follows social media accounts and listens to podcasts. She also enjoys watching reality TV. 

Juror 10: A man who lives in Manhattan. He is not married and has no children. He does have a roommate who works in accounting. He rarely follows the news but he does listen to podcasts on behavioral psychology. 

Juror 11: No information has been released about this juror. 

Juror 12: No information has been released about this juror. 

How long will the trial last? 

The trial is expected to last anywhere from six to eight weeks. Trump is expected to attend court each day.

How can I watch the Trump trial?

The trial is not being televised. Instead, news reporters and producers will have the ability to sit inside the courtroom and deliver information to the public.

How many court cases is Trump involved in?

As of this report, Trump is currently involved in four criminal cases, which includes the hush money case. 

A second case out of Fulton County, Georgia, has charged Trump, as well as 18 others, with participating in a scheme to illegally attempt to overturn the former president’s loss to President Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. 

Trump is also involved in a third criminal case in Washington, D.C., which charged him with allegedly conspiring to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in the run-up to the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol. 

And his fourth case involves classified documents that Trump illegally retained at his Mar-a-Lago estate after he left the White House. 

RELATED: A guide to Trump’s court cases

The Associated Press, FOX News, FOX 5 NY and Catherine Stoddard contributed to this report.