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Michael Cohen Has Undoubtedly Changed. To Whose Benefit?

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It was a highly domesticated Michael Cohen who took the stand at former President Donald Trump’s criminal hush money trial in New York.

Over the last few weeks, jurors and reporters in the courtroom have heard others paint a visceral portrait of the man who, for a decade, worked as Trump’s exceedingly aggressive personal attorney and “fixer,” becoming something of a raging attack dog for Trump. Cohen once told a magazine that he would “take a bullet” for his then-boss. His displeasure with others was often expressed as a barrage of swear words hurled at high volume. So unpleasant was he to deal with that Keith Davidson, a former attorney to porn actor Stormy Daniels who testified earlier in the trial, suggested that he almost walked away from an easy $10,000 paycheck just because he would have to speak to Cohen on the phone.

“No one wanted to talk to Cohen,” Davidson said on the stand.

But the version of Michael Cohen who appeared in Judge Juan Merchan’s courtroom this week was calm and polite, answering many of prosecuting attorney Susan Hoffinger’s questions with “yes, ma’am.” Less pit bull, more Labrador. A good family dog. And family, by all accounts, is very important to Cohen — it’s perhaps the key to understanding him as a witness.

Cohen spoke of his family at a couple of moments in his testimony, most notably when Hoffinger asked about the point when he finally decided to turn on Trump, after the FBI raided his home and office looking for evidence relating to the hush money paid to Daniels.

“My wife, my daughter, my son all said to me: ‘Why are you holding on to this loyalty? What are you doing? We’re supposed to be

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