Former Trump Org. controller confirms payments to Cohen were for legal expenses: testimony

McConney, who took the stand on Monday, served as the Trump Organization’s controller for over two decades.

Hannah Nightingale Washington DC

During Monday’s trial date in Alvin Bragg’s falsified business records case against Donald Trump, former Trump Organization controller Jeffrey McConney testified that Trump did not direct him to set up reimbursement payments to former Trump attorney Michael Cohen. 

Defense attorney Emil Bove asked McConney whether Cohen was a lawyer, to which McConney responded, "sure, yes," according to Fox News

"And payments to lawyers by the Trump Organization are legal expenses, right?" asked Bove. 

"Yes," said McConney. 

"President Trump did not ask you to do any of the things you just described ... correct?" Bove asked. 

"He did not," McConney replied. 

"And as far as you know, President Trump did not ask anyone to do those things?" Bove continued. The prosecution objected 

"In none of the conversations that you had with Mr. Weisselberg, did he suggest that President Trump had told him to do these things?" Bove asked. 

"Allen never told me that," McConney said. 

McConney, who took the stand on Monday, served as the Trump Organization’s controller for over two decades. He testified that he was directed by former Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg to reimburse Cohen with $35,000 monthly payments. The last of these payments was sent in December 2017. 

He testified that Cohen was initially reimbursed through a trust, with the payments being switched to come from Trump’s personal account. An email from McConney to Cohen entered into evidence showed McConney confirming to Cohen that the checks would be sent to Trump at the White House for his signature. 

In total, Cohen was paid $420,000, with McConney testifying that the sum was "grossed up" to factor in taxes. 

McConney was the prosecution's tenth witness in the trial, which began in mid-April. Trump has been charged with 34 felony counts of falsifying business records by Bragg.

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