In a pivotal moment in the Manhattan district attorney's historic criminal case against Donald Trump, the former president's ex-lawyer Michael Cohen testified on Monday about the hush money deals he helped arrange at Trump's direction to benefit his 2016 presidential campaign. Cohen, who began his testimony by recounting his legal career and his hiring by Trump in 2007, revealed that the then-candidate desperately wanted to silence porn actress Stormy Daniels, whose claims of a 2006 sexual encounter Trump feared would be a "total disaster" for his campaign.

According to Cohen, Trump expressed concern about the potential impact of Daniels' story becoming public, stating, "Women are going to hate me" and "Guys may think it's cool, but this is going to be a disaster for the campaign." Cohen also testified that Trump was more focused on the campaign than on his wife Melania's reaction, with the ex-president allegedly saying, "Don't worry. How long do you think I'll be on the market for? Not long."

The testimony shed light on the efforts made by Cohen and Trump to address potential scandals during the campaign, including meeting with National Enquirer publisher David Pecker to place positive stories about Trump and negative stories about his rivals. Cohen detailed his involvement in killing stories about a doorman claiming Trump had a love child and a Playboy model named Karen McDougal who alleged an affair with Trump in 2006.

Cohen also discussed the release of the notorious "Access Hollywood" tape in October 2016, which caught Trump boasting about groping women without their consent. He testified that Trump called him and asked him to reach out to his media contacts, with the spin being that the conversation was "locker room talk" and something that Melania had recommended.

The most significant revelation in Cohen's testimony revolved around Stormy Daniels' allegation, which Cohen feared could be lethal for Trump's campaign. He recounted Trump's irate response upon learning that Daniels' story had re-emerged, quoting him as saying, "This is a disaster, a total disaster. Women are going to hate me. This is really a disaster. Women will hate me. Guys, they think it's cool. But this is going to be a disaster for the campaign."

Cohen testified that he reached a deal to buy Daniels' silence for $130,000 but that Trump urged him to stall her, saying, "If I win, it won't have any relevance. If I lose, I don't really care." Despite the delay frustrating Daniels and her lawyer, Cohen said he was following Trump's directions and eventually finalized the deal.

The testimony also revealed the financial arrangements made to reimburse Cohen for the hush money payments, including a plan devised by then-Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg to "gross up" the payments and provide Cohen with a $60,000 bonus.

Trump's attorney, Todd Blanche, maintained that Cohen was being paid for legal services and argued that he "cannot be trusted," referring to Cohen's previous guilty pleas for making false statements to Congress and other criminal charges.