Here’s a rundown of the latest developments in the ongoing trial

Michael Cohen, once Trump’s attorney and key confidant, has finally taken the stand in the hush money trial, marking a pivotal moment in the proceedings. According to the Washington Post

Prosecutors have meticulously built their case around allegations of Trump’s manipulation of business records to conceal payments made by Cohen to silence damaging stories ahead of the 2016 election.

Throughout the trial, a cascade of evidence, including text messages, audio recordings, and written notes, has been presented to jurors, painting a vivid picture of what prosecutors argue was a concerted effort to illegally sway the outcome of the election.

Compelling testimonies from individuals like former National Enquirer head David Pecker and even Stormy Daniels, the adult film actress embroiled in a legal dispute with Trump, have added further intrigue to the courtroom drama.

As the prosecution nears the conclusion of its presentation, anticipation mounts regarding the testimony of Michael Cohen, whose firsthand accounts are expected to provide critical insights into Trump’s alleged involvement in the scheme. With the prosecution indicating that only a couple more witnesses remain to be called, the trial, now in its 16th day, seems to be reaching a crucial juncture. reported by NBC News

Last week’s proceedings were not without their share of drama, including Stormy Daniels’ detailed recollection of a purported 2006 encounter with Trump, an incident vehemently denied by the former president. Additionally, the defense made two unsuccessful attempts to declare a mistrial, further underscoring the intensity of the legal battle unfolding in the courtroom.

Trump, who faces a staggering 34 felony charges, has maintained his innocence throughout the trial, positioning this case as a historic moment—the first criminal trial of a former U.S. president and the inaugural instance of Trump facing a jury in one of the four prosecutions brought against him.

5:25 p.m. EDT

Trump speaks to reporters after hush money trial adjourns for the day

Former President Donald Trump looked annoyed as he left the courtroom after his hush money trial in New York adjourned for the day.

Trump approached reporters in the hallway after the court adjourned Monday and read out quotes from pundits critical of the case, as he had done some prior days.

Among those he quoted was U.S. Sen. JD Vance of Ohio, who was among the Republican officials who came to support him at the courthouse earlier in the day.

Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer and personal fixer, who is the prosecution’s star witness, will return to the witness stand on Tuesday.

5:00 p.m. EDT

Cohen says he talked about reimbursement for Daniels’s payment with Trump Organization CFO

As Michael Cohen seethed over his slashed bonus and not being repaid for the $130,000 he shelled out to Stormy Daniels, Trump called him and assured him he’d “take care of it,” Cohen testified in Trump’s hush money trial Monday.

Cohen recalled Trump calling him while he was on a holiday vacation in December 2016. He said the then-president-elect told him: “Don’t worry about that other thing, I’m going to take care of it when you get back.”

The former Trump lawyer said he then met with the Trump Organization’s longtime CFO Allen Weisselberg to discuss being reimbursed for the Daniels payment.

“I, of course, brought it up to Mr. Weisselberg to ask, ‘When am I getting the money back?’” Cohen testified. “He said, ‘Let’s sit down, let’s meet, let’s do it.’”

Cohen said Weisselberg asked him to provide a copy of the bank statement showing the $130,000 transfer to Daniels’ lawyer.

Cohen said Weisselberg then wrote out various amounts on the statement, including the $130,000 reimbursement, $50,000 for another expense he said he incurred for technology services, plus a $60,000 bonus.

Cohen said Weisselberg suggested he take the money as income rather than a tax-free reimbursement and added additional funds — known as grossing up — to cover his tax bill.

Looking at the note in court, Cohen testified, “I recognize his handwriting but I was also in the room when he was writing it.”

Cohen describes his outrage to receive a slashed bonus check in 2016

Michael Cohen did a double take when Trump’s longtime executive assistant Rhona Graff handed him a Christmas card containing 2016’s bonus check — as was tradition at the Trump Organization — and saw his usual amount had been cut by two-thirds, Cohen testified in the former president’s hush money trial.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Trump’s former lawyer said, describing himself as “pissed off,” ”beyond angry” and “personally insulted” to get the slashed check after all he had done, including the $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels

“I was truly insulted. Personally hurt by it. Didn’t understand it. Made no sense,” he said. “It was insulting that the gratitude shown back to me was to cut the bonus by two-thirds.”

Cohen said he took the issue to company CFO Allen Weisselberg, laying into him with “quite a few expletives.”

Weisselberg, he said, advised him to calm down and said he’d take care of it.

“Take it easy. You know Mr. Trump loves you. We’re going to do right by you,” he recalled Weisselberg saying.

Trump won the election; Cohen lost his job

After Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election, Michael Cohen knew his role as Trump’s personal fixer wasn’t going to last, Cohen said Monday at Trump’s hush money trial in New York.

However, Cohen said he figured, given his unique relationship with the president-elect, he might be considered for one of the most prestigious jobs in the White House: chief of staff.

“I just wanted my name to have been included,” Cohen testified, even as he acknowledged he was likely not “competent” enough for the role. “It was more about my ego than anything.”

Instead, Cohen was offered a position as assistant chief counsel, which he turned down.

He then pitched Trump on the role of being his “personal attorney,” compiling a memo on his credentials and bringing in another attorney well-versed in presidential history to highlight the importance of the job.

Before McDougal’s story’s publication, Cohen says he headed a preemptive damage control operation

When Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen found out the Wall Street Journal would be publishing a story days before the election about the National Enquirer’s catch-and-kill efforts, he said he held a series of calls to coordinate strategy and figure out how to “change the narrative” and deal with the fallout.

Among the people he spoke with, he said Monday at Trump’s hush money trial in New York, were Trump’s campaign communications director Hope Hicks, then-National Enquirer publisher David Pecker, and Keith Davidson, a lawyer who represented Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels in their hush money deals.

Hicks sent Cohen a series of four different response options in an email shown in court that the campaign was considering releasing to reporters. The proposed responses included painting it as an “attempt by the liberal elite to disparage Donald Trump.”

Cohen said he contacted Davidson to make sure that “Ms. Daniels did not go rogue.”

The Wall Street Journal article was published on Nov. 4, 2016, just four days before Election Day. The newspaper reported that the National Enquirer had paid McDougal $150,000 to bury her claim of an affair with Trump.

Cohen also testified about a conversation he had with Trump before The Wall Street Journal’s hush money article was published. He said he spoke to Trump via his bodyguard’s phone.

“This was a real serious — again — problem,” he said in court of the situation.

Cohen said he relayed to Trump that everyone would be on board to deny the story and protect him. But he said Trump was nonetheless upset “because there was a negative story” that could damage the campaign.

Cohen hides hush-money payments from his wife

Michael Cohen, the prosecution’s star witness in Donald Trump’s hush-money trial, said he agreed to front the money to pay off Stormy Daniels but had to hide the payment from his wife.

Daniels needed to be paid to prevent her from going public about a sexual encounter she says she had with Trump, who was running for the White House in 2016. She told jurors last week that she received $130,000.

To get the money for the payment, Cohen testified that he decided to take out a home equity line of credit, in part because the bank would send him updates electronically, rather than to his home, keeping his wife out of the loop.

Cohen said that before he went to First Republic Bank to open up the account that would be used to pay Daniels, he talked to Trump to let him know the plan.

“Everything required Mr. Trump’s sign-off,” Cohen testified. “On top of that, I wanted the money back.”

On Oct. 27, 2016 — less than two weeks before the 2016 election — Cohen finalized the payments to buy Daniels’ story. Immediately, he went to Trump to inform him the deal was done.

Cohen testifies about payments to Stormy Daniels

In afternoon testimony at Donald Trump’s hush-money trial, Michael Cohen said he used the Jewish high holiday of Yom Kippur — the day of atonement — as one of many excuses to delay completing a deal with Stormy Daniels.

Daniels told jurors last week that the $130,000 she received was meant to prevent her from going public about a sexual encounter she says she had with Trump in a hotel suite a decade earlier. Trump worried that the story could hurt his 2016 campaign for the White House.

Cohen testified that Trump implored him to delay finalizing the transaction and paying Daniels until after election day so he wouldn’t have to pay her.

With the story about to come out, Cohen said Trump told him to finally pay up.

“He expressed to me: just do it,” Cohen testified, saying Trump advised him to meet with CFO Allen Weisselberg and figure it out. Weisselberg balked at paying, however, so Cohen decided to come up with the money himself.

“I ultimately said, ‘Ok, I’ll pay it,’” Cohen testified.

Cohen, 57, worked for the Trump Organization from 2006 to 2017 as Trump’s lawyer and fixer. After once proudly proclaiming he’d “take a bullet” for his boss, he broke with Trump after the FBI raided his office, apartment, and hotel room in 2018.

1:09 p.m. EDT

Trump approved payments to kill negative stories, Cohen testifies

Michael Cohen‘s testimony in Donald Trump’s hush-money trial has implicated the former president in efforts to buy and then suppress news stories about sex that he feared could hurt his 2016 White House campaign.

“You handle it,” Cohen quoted Trump as telling him after learning that a doorman had come forward with a false claim that Trump had fathered a child out of wedlock. The Trump Tower doorman was paid $30,000 to keep the story out of the press.

A similar episode occurred after Cohen alerted Trump that Playboy model Karen McDougal had alleged that she and Trump had an extramarital affair. Cohen said Trump ordered him to “make sure it doesn’t get released.”

As he worked to secure funding for the $150,000 payment, Cohen said he received guidance from Allen Weisselberg, then the Trump Organization’s CFO.

“Allen then said to me, if we do it from a Trump entity that kind of defeats the purpose because the point is not to have the Trump name affiliated with this at all,” Cohen said he was told.

The conversation with Weisselberg happened right after he briefed Trump about the deal to acquire McDougal’s story from the National Enquirer, Cohen testified.

11:48 p.m. EDT

Cohen testifies that the publisher pressed him for reimbursement for suppressed stories

After the National Enquirer shelled out $150,000 to suppress Karen McDougal’s story about Donald Trump, Michael Cohen testified that the tabloid’s publisher was hounding him to get Trump to reimburse him for the cost.

Cohen, the prosecution’s star witness in Trump’s hush-money trial in Manhattan, recounted meeting the former publisher of the National Enquirer, David Pecker, at his favorite Italian restaurant and the publisher being upset about not being repaid to bury the story about Trump’s alleged affair with McDougal, a former Playboy model.

Pecker was concerned, Cohen said, that “it was too much money for him to hide from the CEO of the parent company” and he’d already laid out $30,000 to suppress another story.

Cohen said at some point Pecker had also expressed to him that his company, American Media Inc., had a “file drawer or a locked drawer as he described it, where files related to Mr. Trump were located.”

Cohen said he was concerned because Pecker’s relationship with Trump went back years and that Pecker was in the running to head another media company. Cohen feared what would happen to the files if Pecker left.

11:05 a.m. EDT

Cohen describes how he worked to quash the story about his alleged affair with a Playboy model

Michael Cohen, called to the stand by the prosecution in Donald Trump’s hush-money trial in Manhattan, testified he went to Trump immediately after the National Enquirer alerted him to a story being peddled that alleged Trump had had an affair with former Playboy model Karen McDougal.

Cohen recalled going to Trump’s office, asking Trump if he knew McDougal or anything about the story.

Cohen said Trump then told him to make sure that the story doesn’t get released.

Cohen said he communicated regularly with National Enquirer publisher David Pecker and editor Dylan Howard to stop the story from getting out. He said the tabloid executives updated him regularly on their discussions and that he kept Trump apprised of developments.

Cohen said he thought the story would have a “significant” impact on Trump’s presidential campaign if it became published.

The McDougal news came on the heels of the National Enquirer paying $30,000 to squash a doorman’s false rumor about Trump having a child out of wedlock.

10:16 a.m. EDT

Cohen testifies about his 10 years with Trump, says Trump never had an email address

Michael Cohen, the prosecution’s star witness in Donald Trump’s hush-money trial testified that he reported directly to Trump during his decade-long tenure as his executive vice president and special counsel.

He recalled being tasked to renegotiate bills on Trump’s behalf, including a law firm invoice that Trump felt wasn’t “fair, reasonable, justified” and outstanding invoices from 50 vendors of Trump’s failed Trump University project.

Cohen testified that he managed to trim most of the Trump University bills by more than 80%, sparing Trump from having to cover costs behind the $2 million left in the project’s bank account.

Cohen also testified he spoke with Trump — either in person or by phone — multiple times a day. But Trump was wary of using email, Cohen said.

“Mr. Trump never had an email address,” Cohen said. Trump knew too many people who had “gone down” as a result of emails that prosecutors were able to use against them in legal cases, Cohen said.

Though now a fierce critic of Trump, Cohen testified that his decade working for him was largely a “fantastic” experience.

10:47 a.m. EDT

Cohen testifies about how tabloid offered to help Trump

Michael Cohen, who is testifying for the prosecution in Donald Trump’s hush-money trial in Manhattan, offered his side of an August 2015 meeting at Trump Tower where former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker testified he’d offered to look out for negative stories before they were published.

Cohen testified that Pecker offered to publish positive stories about Trump and negative stories about his opponents. He said the publisher also offered to “keep an eye out for anything negative about Mr. Trump and that he would be able to help us know in advance what was coming out and try and stop it from coming out.”

Cohen said he was seeking to harness the power of the National Enquirer to Trump’s benefit, given its high visibility next to the cash registers at tens of thousands of supermarkets across the U.S.

Cohen also testified about his role in brokering a deal to buy a potentially damaging story — which claimed, falsely, that Trump had a child out of wedlock — from a Trump Tower doorman in order “to take it off the market.”

Cohen, 57, worked for the Trump Organization from 2006 to 2017 as Trump’s lawyer and fixer. Cohen broke with Trump after the FBI raided his office, apartment, and hotel room in 2018. He has been a fierce critic ever since.

9:50 a.m. EDT

Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal attorney, takes the stand

He once said he would take a bullet for Donald Trump. Now Michael Cohen is the prosecutors’ star witness in the former president’s hush money trial.

Cohen is expected to testify about his role in arranging hush money payments on Trump’s behalf during his first presidential campaign, including to porn actor Stormy Daniels, who told jurors last week that the $130,000 that she received in 2016 was meant to prevent her from going public about a sexual encounter she says she had with Trump in a hotel suite a decade earlier.

Cohen, 57, worked for the Trump Organization from 2006 to 2017 as Trump’s lawyer and fixer. Cohen broke with Trump after the FBI raided his office, apartment, and hotel room in 2018. He has been a fierce critic ever since.

Cohen first came to Trump’s attention as a condo board member who took the developer’s side in a dispute between residents and management at a Trump building where he lived in Manhattan.

9:39 a.m. EDT

Trump, flanked by supporters, speaks before the trial begins

As Donald Trump entered the criminal courtroom in Lower Manhattan on a pivotal day of his hush-money trial, he stopped to talk to reporters to proclaim his innocence. He also called the case a “political witch hunt.”

His comments come moments before the expected beginning of testimony of a pivotal witness: his former lawyer and personal fixer Michael Cohen, now one of his sharpest critics.

Some of Trump’s political allies lined up behind him as he spoke, including Republican Ohio Sen. JD Vance. Vance, who has become a close ally of the former president, is considered one of the top contenders on Trump’s shortlist of vice presidential candidates.

Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville and Rep. Nicole Malliotakis of New York were also among the crowd. It was by far the biggest showing of support from Trump’s Republican allies after one-off appearances in recent days by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and others.

Trump has started inviting supporters to join him in court as he is subject to a gag order that prohibits him from criticizing the witnesses and other.