Smoke from Canadian wildfires reaches US, Minnesota under air quality alert
May 13, 2024
2 years after racially motivated Buffalo mass shooting, hate crimes targeting Black people persist
May 13, 2024

Trump trial live updates: Star witness Michael Cohen expected to take the stand

Former US President Donald Trump attends his trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments linked to extramarital affairs, at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York City, on May 7, 2024. (Photo by Win McNamee / POOL / AFP)

(NEW YORK) — Former President Donald Trump is on trial in New York City, where he is facing felony charges related to a 2016 hush money payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels. It marks the first time in history that a former U.S. president has been tried on criminal charges.

Trump last April pleaded not guilty to a 34-count indictment charging him with falsifying business records in connection with a hush money payment his then-attorney Michael Cohen made to Daniels in order to boost his electoral prospects in the 2016 presidential election.

Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:

May 13, 9:47 AM
Cohen identifies Trump in court

Michael Cohen briefly introduced himself to the jury, telling them how his father immigrated to California after surviving the Holocaust.

“Four children later, here I am,” Cohen said about his parents.

Cohen told the jury that he went to law school at the urging of his family, though he did not want to practice law.

“I wanted to go to Wall Street,” Cohen said.

He briefly explained how he acquired wealth with real estate investments and taxi medallions.

“I ended up going into business with a friend of mine who had grown up with me and we started purchasing buildings,” Cohen said.

Cohen stood up in the witness box so he could identify Trump in the courtroom.

“He is wearing a blue and white tie,” Cohen said while looking toward Trump.

May 13, 9:43 AM
Cohen takes the stand

“The people call Michael Cohen,” prosecutor Susan Hoffinger said.

Michael Cohen entered the courtroom and took his seat in the witness box.

Donald Trump stared straight forward as Cohen walked into the courtroom. He did not appear to look toward Cohen.

May 13, 9:42 AM
Judge denies state’s request regarding Weisselberg

Judge Merchan began by denying the state’s request to enter into evidence former Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg’s separation agreement with the company.

“It would come in as a business record, but I am not going to allow it in,” Merchan said. “It doesn’t prove any element of the offense, it doesn’t move the ball in any way.”

Prosecutors sought to introduce the agreement — which allotted Weisselberg $2 million after he left the Trump Organization– to explain why Weisselberg was not testifying at the trial. Weisselberg is currently serving a five-month sentence on Rikers Island for perjury.

Trump, meanwhile, has been waiting patients at the defense table for the jury to enter, which is taking a bit longer than usual.

“Where’s the jury?” one individual in his entourage could be heard whispering.

May 13, 9:35 AM
Proceedings are underway

Judge Juan Merchan took his seat on the bench and opened the day’s proceedings.

Each of the lawyers made brief introductions before Merchan addressed Trump in his usual fashion.

“Good morning, Mr. Trump,” Merchan said from the bench.

May 13, 9:28 AM
Trump, Bragg enter courtroom

Donald Trump has entered the courtroom. He looked around the room as he made his way to the front.

The former president is joined by his attorneys, as well as numerous associates and Secret Service.

Eric Trump and attorney Alina Habba are seated together in the first row, immediately behind Trump. Behind them in the second, which is completely full, are Trump’s legal adviser Boris Epshteyn, Natalie Harp, and JD Vance.

Campaign team members Jason Miller and Karoline Levitt are seated in the very back of the courtroom.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has also entered the courtroom.

May 13, 9:17 AM
Prosecutors enter courtroom

Prosecutors from the Manhattan district attorney’s office have entered the courtroom.

Prosecutor Susan Hoffinger, who is expected to lead Michael Cohen’s direct examination, placed a hefty three-inch binder at the lectern before returning to the counsel table.

May 13, 9:09 AM
Dozens of reporters crammed into courtroom

The courtroom in the Manhattan Criminal Courthouse is packed with reporters and security ahead of Michael Cohen’s testimony.

Approximately 70 reporters are crammed into the gallery of the courtroom, seated on wooden benches that seat six per row. Five members of the public are seated in the back of the gallery behind the prosecution counsel table and jury box, and five court officers are scattered throughout the courtroom.

On the right side of the courtroom, earlier witnesses Jaden Jarmel-Schneider and Georgia Longstreet are seated near computer monitors. Both work as paralegals for the Manhattan district attorney’s office and testified as part of the prosecution’s case.

Jarmel-Schneider introduced phone records and a summary exhibit about the falsified documents into evidence, while Longstreet introduced Trump’s social media posts into evidence.

May 13, 8:58 AM
Members of public wait overnight for seat in courtroom

Several members of the public waited overnight to secure a spot in the courtroom for Michael Cohen’s testimony, traveling from as far as Los Angeles for the momentous day in court.

Michael Powers told ABC News that he joined the line at 2:30 p.m. yesterday to secure his spot in court, though he enlisted the help of professional line sitters to hold the spot overnight. He rejoined the line at 5:00 a.m.

“It’s history in the making,” Powers said. “This isn’t gonna happen very often.”

Powers said he prioritized seeing Michael Cohen’s testimony due to its importance to the prosecution’s case.

“I find him credible” Powers said. “He’s lied in the past, but he lied for Donald Trump in my opinion, so I think he’ll be a good witness.”

Other members of the public waited overnight without the use of line sitters, including Chris Sagastizabal, who joined the line at 6:45 p.m. on Sunday with two friends.

“I changed my work schedule,” Sagastizabal said.

Five members in the public have been seated in the courtroom this morning, with several others seated in a nearby overflow room.

May 13, 7:59 AM
Cohen arrives in court

Michael Cohen has arrived at the lower Manhattan courthouse ahead of today’s expected testimony.

Proceedings are scheduled to get underway at 9:30 a.m. ET.

May 13, 7:01 AM
Star witness Michael Cohen expected to take the stand

Michael Cohen, who for nearly a decade was Donald Trump’s trusted adviser, personal attorney, and self-described “attack dog with a law license,” is scheduled to take the stand this morning as the prosecution’s star witness in Trump’s criminal hush money trial.

According to prosecutors, Cohen was in the room in when Trump and former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker agreed to a catch-and-kill scheme to hide negative information about Trump from 2016 voters, and Cohen himself made a $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels to buy her silence about an alleged 2006 sexual encounter with Trump. The former president, who has denied the encounter took place, is on trial for allegedly falsifying business records related to his company’s reimbursement to Cohen in 2017.

But Cohen’s value to the prosecution’s case could be endangered by the disbarred lawyer’s credibility issues. Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to tax evasion, campaign finance allegations, and lying to Congress in what Cohen says was an effort to protect Trump. The former president’s lawyers have also argued that Cohen perjured himself again when he testified at Trump’s civil fraud trial last year, and accuse Cohen of making his livelihood off books and podcasts that antagonize Trump.

Cohen is the final key witness in the prosecution’s case, after which the defense will present its case.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.