Michael Cohen describes facing ‘pathetic, deflated’ Trump at fraud trial

Michael Cohen called his former boss Donald Trump a “sad-looking, pathetic, deflated individual” as he described testifying in front of the ex-president at his New York state fraud trial.

The disbarred attorney shared what was going through his mind as he took the witness stand in front of Mr Trump in an interview with CNN’s Erin Burnett.

“You were sentenced to three years behind bars for what you had called ‘dirty deeds’ that you committed on behalf of him,” Ms Burnett said in the segment that was taped Thursday but aired on Friday due to breaking news. “What was it like in that room, face to face?”

“I was confused on how I was going to be,” Cohen responded. “And actually, I felt nothing. It was so weird that here I am, sitting directly across from Donald Trump, and I felt absolutely nothing. And then directly over his left shoulder was his son, Eric, who also I maintained a relationship with. And I felt absolutely nothing. I looked at him, and I said to myself, boy, what a sad-looking, pathetic, deflated individual.”

Last month, Mr Trump was found liable for committing fraud in New York in a summary judgment in the case. The trial – including Cohen’s testimony – will determine the extent of any penalties levied against Mr Trump.

In 2018 Cohen pleaded guilty to charges of tax evasion, making false statements to a federally insured bank, and campaign finance violations. He admitted to paying two women – including Stormy Daniels – hush money to keep them from publicly discussing their affairs with Mr Trump and disrupting his 2016 presidential campaign.

He ultimately spent just over a year in prison and an additional year and a half of home confinement.

On the CNN segment this week, Ms Burnett also asked about Cohen’s testimony, in which he told the court he and the Trump Organization’s former CFO fudged the company’s numbers.

“So, you gave an example,” she said. “You said you were called into Trump’s office in Trump Tower… and you walk in there, big desk in the corner. And you say, quote, he would look at the total assets and say, I’m not worth $4.5bn. I’m really worth more like six. And then you said you would go back. You would reverse-engineer the value of his properties, one by one, to make it work. Did you make the case that Trump actually cooked the books, that he actually directed you to do that?”

“The answer is, yes,” Cohen replied. “I think that the attorney general’s office has more than enough information. In fact, they’ve already lost that point. It was already determined by Judge Engoron that the Trump Organization committed fraud. The rest of the case right now is all about disgorgement.”

He then predicted that Trump will be ordered to pay a $600m fine, which is $350m more than the $250m that New York Attorney General Letitia James is seeking.

On Wednesday, Mr Trump was fined $10,000 for violating the trial’s gag order a second time, after his comments outside of the courtroom appeared to target the judge’s chief clerk. His attorneys have vowed to appeal the sanctions.