Secret audio tape among evidence collected by DA in Trump fraud case
Trump’s 2016 recording reportedly contained a discussion of silent money.
Evidence in the Manhattan DA criminal fraud case against former President Donald Trump includes a secretly made 2016 recording of Trump and a witness, believed to be Michael Cohen, which ABC News says contained a discussion about a plan to buy the silence of the Playboy model. Karen McDougal ahead of the 2016 election.
The recording is included in a document known as the Autodiscover Form that lists the type of evidence Manhattan prosecutors have accumulated during their multi-year investigation, to be turned over to Trump’s attorneys as they prepare his defence.
Last month, Trump pleaded not guilty to 34 counts of falsifying business records in what prosecutors say was a ‘scheme’ to boost his 2016 election chances by using silent payments to suppress damaging information from two women who claimed to have long denied affairs with Trump.
Although the witness’s name was not released in the auto-discovery form that was made public on Friday, ABC News reported the person was Cohen when it reported on the secret recording in 2018.
Cohen, Trump’s personal attorney at the time, told investigators he worked with National Enquirer publisher, longtime Trump ally David Pecker, to pay McDougal $150,000 for the rights to her story that she had a 10-month affair with Trump from 2006 to 2007, so the Enquirer could suppress the story and prevent it from becoming public.
On the recording obtained by ABC News, Trump and Cohen were heard discussing the payment with Cohen.
“Do not pay cash…by check,” Trump said, according to a transcript released by Trump’s legal team after news of the taping became public.
Trump’s attorneys said the recording showed Trump wanted to pay by check in order to properly document the payment.
Trump has denied all charges against him. A judge on Tuesday set a trial date for March 25, 2024 for the case.