Donald Trump’s political proxies appear outside Stormy Daniels trial

He later added, “At the time, I was deep in the cult of Donald Trump.”

Stormy Daniels said he had sex with Donald Trump in a hotel room.

Stormy Daniels said he had sex with Donald Trump in a hotel room.Credit: Getty

Cohen told the court how the FBI raided his home in April 2018, along with his law office and the hotel suite he was staying in at the time. Among the items they took was a cell phone that he had used to record Trump speaking to him about the deal to silence Daniels.

Later, he received a call from Trump who told him, “Don’t worry – I’m president of the United States. There’s nothing here. Everything will be fine. Stay tough. You will be fine.” The pair have not spoken since, he said.

After the raid, a lawyer closely associated with Trump’s legal team, Robert Costello, offered to represent him and serve as a conduit for the former president through Trump’s now-disgraced lawyer Rudy Giuliani. An email from Costello to the jury read: “You are loved: sleep tight tonight, you have friends in high places.”

When asked how he interpreted that message, Cohen said, “It let me know that I was still important to the team and staying the course; the president stood behind me.”


Cohen remained loyal to Trump until August 2018, when he pleaded guilty to a variety of federal crimes, including campaign finance violations for his role in the hush money deal with Daniels. He also pleaded guilty to personal financial crimes unrelated to Trump, including tax evasion, and for lying to Congress about plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.

In his long-awaited cross-examination, defense attorney Todd Blanche tried to use Cohen’s history as a convicted felon and liar to discredit him before the jury, which will ultimately determine whether Trump becomes the first U.S. president in history to be convicted.

Setting the tone for the upcoming barbecue, Blanche opened by telling the witness, “Mr. Cohen, my name is Todd Blanche and you and I have never met… You went on TikTok and called me a ‘crying little s– t’.”

Cohen, who is known for his temper, responded: “That sounds like something I would say.”


He then portrayed Cohen as someone who was both driven by revenge against Trump — noting that he had a book of the same name — while also being obsessed with him and trying to monetize the experience through podcasts and cable news appearances.

Cohen remained calm as Blanche said he had compared Trump to a “clumsy cartoon woman” and a “Cheeto-smeared cartoon villain.”

“Do you want President Trump to be convicted in this case?” Blanche asked.

“I would like to see accountability,” he replied.

Trump is currently facing 34 charges of falsifying company records related to a $130,000 hush money payment to cover up an alleged affair with Daniels, which took place in 2006 when he was newly married to his current wife Melania.

Stormy Daniels (second from left) leaves the courthouse in New York.

Stormy Daniels (second from left) leaves the courthouse in New York.Credit: AP

While Cohen himself made the payment, the jury was shown checks Trump signed that prosecutors said showed his attempt to disguise the hush money as a legal retainer in violation of campaign finance laws.

Trump, who has repeatedly denied wrongdoing, is barred from attacking witnesses in the case because of a silence order imposed by Judge Juan Merchan. However, Republicans are now going to court to launch attacks on his behalf.

“The system is currently using every tool at its disposal to punish one president and provide for another,” Johnson said, calling the trial a “sham” and a “disgrace.”

Speaker of the House of Representatives Mike Johnson.

Speaker of the House of Representatives Mike Johnson.Credit: AP

Ramaswamy, who sat next to Trump in the courtroom today alongside his son Eric and daughter-in-law Lara Trump, described the courtroom as “Kafka-esque” and “depressing.”

“It appears that the prosecution’s strategy is to try to force the jury to convict,” he wrote on X.

Earlier, Vance described the prosecution team as a group of “Democratic political operatives,” while Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville complained that Trump was referred to in court as “Mr. Trump” instead of “former president.”

“The Republican candidate for president of the United States is experiencing mental anguish in a courtroom that is very depressing, very depressing,” he said.

Former President Donald Trump appears in Manhattan Criminal Court before his trial in New York.

Former President Donald Trump appears in Manhattan Criminal Court before his trial in New York.Credit: AP

“Give him some respect!”

The trial continues Thursday with Cohen on the stand before the prosecutor rests his case. Trump is not expected to testify, even though he initially said he would.

Receive a note directly from our foreigner correspondents about what’s making headlines around the world. Sign up here for the weekly What in the World newsletter.