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Did a 14-year-old prank caller just blow up Michael Cohen’s testimony?

Michael Cohen was bombarded with prank calls in October 2016, the same month he was urgently arranging a deal to buy Stormy Daniels’ silence.

On October 24, 2016, the prank caller forgot to hide their number, and Cohen sent them a message: “This number has just been sent to Secret Service for your ongoing and continuous harassment to both my cell as well as the organization’s main line.”

“I DIDNT DO IT,” the prankster replied.

“Im 14,” another text read. “Please don’t do this.”

That night, Donald Trump’s fixer called his boss’s bodyguard, and then texted him the alleged 14-year-old prankster’s phone number to deal with it.

That moment, drawn out by defense attorneys in a Manhattan courtroom during Cohen’s testimony in the former president’s hush money trial on Thursday, intended to undercut Cohen’s prior testimony about the call to Mr Trump’s body man, Keith Schiller.

According to Cohen’s testimony earlier this week, it was on that call that Cohen told Mr Trump that he secured the hush money deal to bury Ms Daniels’ story about having sex with Mr Trump in 2006.

A courtroom sketch depicts Todd Blanche during cross examination of Michael Cohen in Donald Trump’s hush money trial on May 16. (REUTERS)

Throughout the trial, Mr Trump’s defense attorneys have repeatedly tried to plant seeds of doubt in the jury’s minds with their often-vitriolic and skeptical cross examinations of the prosecution’s chief witnesses.

Cohen is the only witness who can directly link Mr Trump to a scheme to buy Ms Daniels’ silence, as well as Mr Trump’s approval of the plan to reimburse Cohen $130,000 after he paid her.

Cohen’s invoices for those repayments and the checks that Mr Trump signed are among the 34 allegedly falsified business records at the center of the case.

Mr Trump is charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records, in a case that prosecutors have framed as his illegal effort to conceal the true nature of his reimbursements: Hiding stories from voters to boost his chances of winning the presidential election.

He has pleaded not guilty.

Cohen’s text exchange with the prank caller took place between 7:10pm and 7:24pm on October 24, 2016. He texted Mr Schiller at 7:48pm, and they spoke on the phone around 8pm, according to texts and call records shown in court.

The call lasted one minute and 36 seconds.

Cohen, who remained calm and unfazed while defense attorney Todd Blanche screamed accusations that Cohen was lying to jurors, explained that he believed he spoke to Mr Trump and Mr Schiller about both the prank call and the hush money.

“I believe I was telling the truth,” he said on Thursday.

“We are not asking for your belief,” Mr Blanche fired back. “This jury does not want to hear what you think happened.”

Michael Cohen leaves a criminal courthouse in Manhattan after testifying in Donald Trump’s hush money trial on May 17. (REUTERS)

Cohen said that, during the call, Mr Schiller handed the phone to Mr Trump to give him an update on Ms Daniels, which Cohen had previously testified was part of his own ego-stroking motive to stay in his boss’s good graces: getting “credit” for his loyalty.

“I always run everything by the boss immediately,” he said. “It could’ve just been me saying, ‘Everything’s been taken care of, it’s been resolved.’”

Three days later, on October 27, 2016, Cohen wired $130,000 to Ms Daniels’ attorney Keith Davidson using a shell company.

The next day, Ms Daniels signed a nondisclosure agreement promising her silence.

Then, on a call that lasted more than five minutes, Cohen told Mr Trump that “the matter was completely locked down and under control,” according to Cohen’s prior testimony.

Mr Trump won the presidential election less than two weeks later.

Cohen will return to the witness stand on Monday for a final day of cross examination and more questions from Manhattan prosecutors, who intend to close their case early next week.

Closing arguments could begin as soon as Tuesday.


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