Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer and “fixer” Michael Cohen testified for four hours Monday about his claim that the former president orchestrated an altercation with demonstrators outside Trump Tower in 2015.
Lawyers grilled Cohen about his recent assertion that Trump directed his bodyguard to “get rid of” a group protesting his derogatory comments about Mexicans early in the 2016 presidential race.
“They asked me questions, and I answered them honestly and truthfully, and the truth does not benefit Donald,” Cohen told reporters as he was leaving Monday’s deposition.
The protesters are suing Trump and his company for damages from what they allege were “wanton and malicious assaults and batteries” by his security team.
Trump testified in October that he “didn’t know about” the altercation between his bodyguard, Keith Schiller, and a group of protesters until the day after it happened, according to a partial transcript of his testimony included in a court filing.
He also maintained his bodyguards “did nothing wrong.”
Trump’s videotaped deposition will serve as his testimony at the civil trial, which is scheduled to begin on June 22.
Cohen’s videotaped deposition will be used the same way, meaning neither he nor Trump will have to appear in person at the trial in New York’s Bronx Supreme Court.
Cohen was sentenced in 2018 to three years in prison for what a federal judge in Manhattan called a “veritable smorgasbord” of criminal conduct, including facilitating secret payments to women who claimed they had affairs with Trump and lying to Congress about Trump’s business dealings with Russia.
Once regarded as one of Trump’s staunchest defenders, Cohen later blasted his former boss in a congressional hearing and cooperated with investigations into Trump’s business practices by the New York attorney general’s office and the Manhattan district attorney’s office. Trump has not been accused of criminal behavior in either of those probes.