Cohen on Trump fraud trial: ‘There’s no way for him to escape this’
Former Trump attorney Michael Cohen said that the ongoing New York business fraud trial is likely to spell the end of former president Trump’s business empire, as Cohen prepares to testify against him in the case.
“I can assure you that, as I had stated once again before the House Oversight Committee, everything that happened at the Trump Organization happened with the direct knowledge and at the direction of, and ultimately signed off by, Donald J. Trump,” Cohen said in a CNN interview Friday. “There’s no way for him to escape this.”
New York prosecutors argued that Trump and his sons committed business fraud by intentionally inflating and deflating the value of their assets in order to get more favorable loans and insurance rates.
A judge ruled that Trump did commit fraud last month, and the trial this week is set to determine damages. Prosecutors are seeking $250 million in financial penalties and to bar Trump and his children from running businesses in New York.
Cohen, who served time in prison after he testified against Trump in a separate criminal case, said he has evidence against the former president and plans to testify in court.
“So you have more examples?” CNN’s Erin Burnett asked him. “You’ve got the receipts?”
“Yes,” Cohen replied. “And, actually, the receipts are in the hands of the attorney general.”
After the ruling against Trump late last month, Cohen said it could mean that Trump will need to sell his most iconic assets in order to raise funds. Trump has appealed that ruling.
“The damages, in my estimation, with interest and penalty, will exceed $600 million,” Cohen said. “Will that put him into bankruptcy? He does not have the liquid cash in order to pay that off.”
“If you want to get to Donald, the way to do it is through his bank book,” he continued. “It’s not by saying he’s a narcissistic sociopath or that he’s definitely not 6’3” and he’s not 215 pounds. You go after the wallet. … Once you start hitting that bank book, that’s what really gets to him.”
Trump also dropped a civil suit against Cohen on Friday. Trump was scheduled to sit for a deposition next week.
In the Friday interview, Cohen theorized that the move was because Trump didn’t want to be asked questions under oath.
“He certainly was concerned that some of the information he may have to testify to, because it was an expansive testimony, that it could ultimately implicate him in crimes and that he earlier needed [attorney] Chris Kise to prevent him from implicating himself from being able to assert the Fifth Amendment,” Cohen said. “This is the craziest scenario.”
A New York appeals court declined to halt Trump’s trial on Friday, after requests from his attorneys, but did pause the process of canceling his New York business licenses.