Trump’s Hush-Money Trial: 4 Key Moments That Defined the Week

In the past week of testimony in Donald J. Trump’s criminal trial, prosecutors were tying their case together, with two of the most important witnesses — a porn star and Mr. Trump’s one-time fixer — testifying just days apart.

Michael D. Cohen, Mr. Trump’s former personal lawyer and fixer, testified for over nine hours, saying the payment at the heart of the case, $130,000 to silence the porn star’s story of a sexual encounter with Mr. Trump, came at the orders of the former president and to the benefit of his 2016 campaign. Defense attorneys painted Mr. Cohen as a serial liar bent on exacting revenge against his former boss.

Mr. Trump’s attorneys grilled the porn star, Stormy Daniels, about her credibility, poking holes in her recollection of an assignation she said occurred in 2006.

The first American president to face prosecution, Mr. Trump is charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records in order to mask reimbursements to Mr. Cohen, who made the payment, in what prosecutors say was an effort to cover up the scandal. Mr. Trump has denied having sex with Ms. Daniels or having any knowledge of the payment scheme. If convicted, he could face probation or as long as four years in prison.

Here are the most memorable things said in court over the past seven days:

Ms. Daniels was shaky at times during her testimony last week, speaking quickly as she described threats she received to silence her story of a sexual encounter with Mr. Trump at a golf tournament in Lake Tahoe, Nev.

On cross-examination, Ms. Daniels took a more defiant tone, piqued by harsh questioning from a defense team that hoped to paint her as a woman adept at making up tales.

“You have a lot of experience in making phony stories about sex appear to be real,” said Susan Necheles, one of Mr. Trump’s lawyers.

“The sex in the films is very much real,” replied Ms. Daniels. “Just like what happened to me in that room.”

Mr. Trump’s team accused Ms. Daniels of profiting from the notoriety of her story, including a tell-all memoir, merchandise and a subsequent tour called “Make America Horny Again.”

You’re celebrating the indictment by selling things from your store, right?” said Ms. Necheles.

“Not unlike Mr. Trump,” responded Ms. Daniels.

Madeleine Westerhout, an assistant to Mr. Trump in the White House, took the stand last Thursday, giving one of the more flattering descriptions of Mr. Trump in the trial. She described him as a family man, deeply in love with his wife and misunderstood by the public.

Ms. Westerhout, who teared up on the stand, was fired from the White House. But in a book after her departure, she painted Mr. Trump as a mentor and a good boss.

“I don’t think he’s treated fairly, and I wanted to tell that story,” Ms. Westerhout testified. “I also felt it was really important to share with the American people the man that I got to know.”

Her appearance ushered in a new piece of evidence — Mr. Trump’s contact list, which she oversaw. The list included figures like Bill O’Reilly, Bill Belichick and Jerry Falwell Jr., Liberty University’s former president.

Mr. Cohen, testifying for nine hours over Monday and Tuesday, said that Mr. Trump had ordered him to make the hush-money payment in 2016 and had spoken to him about reimbursements.

“Would you have made that payment to Stormy Daniels without getting a sign-off from Mr. Trump?” asked Susan Hoffinger, a prosecutor.

“What I was doing was at the direction and benefit of Mr. Trump,” Mr. Cohen testified, adding that “everything required Mr. Trump’s sign-off. On top of that, I wanted the money back.”

He told jurors that the plan to disguise his hush-money reimbursements as run-of-the-mill legal expenses was devised during a meeting in New York at which Mr. Trump was present.

“Once I received the money back from Mr. Trump, I would deposit it and no one would be the wiser,” Mr. Cohen said.

Mr. Cohen, who called himself Mr. Trump’s “designated thug,” said that the months in 2018 after the disclosure of Ms. Daniels’s payoff were a period of damage control.

When the F.B.I. raided Mr. Cohen’s home that year, he received a call from Mr. Trump, he testified: “He said to me, ‘Don’t worry. I am the president of the United States. There is nothing here. Everything is going to be OK. Stay tough.’”

The then-president slowly distanced himself from Mr. Cohen but, Mr. Cohen testified, a back channel of communication was established through another lawyer connected to Mr. Trump’s circle, Robert Costello.

Mr. Cohen said Mr. Costello’s message was: “The president still supports you. Do not speak. Do not listen to what any of the journalists or anybody are saying and stay in the fold. Don’t flip. Don’t speak. Don’t cooperate.”

Mr. Cohen later pleaded guilty to federal crimes connected to hush-money deals, turned on Mr. Trump and is now the key witness against him.

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