Trump hush money trial enters final phase with Cohen back on witness stand for cross-examination

The trial is entering its final phases, with the defense team having the option to present its case.
Donald Trump

Former President Donald Trump's criminal hush money entered its final phases Monday when star prosecution witness Michael Cohen returned to the stand to be cross-examined by defense attorney Todd Blanche.

Blanche is expected early Monday to conclude his questioning of Cohen – who as Trump's attorney and fixer arranged in 2016 to pay off porn actress Stormy Daniel to keep quiet about an alleged sexual encounter with Trump.

Judge Juan M. Merchan started proceeding Monday earlier than their usual 10 a.m. ET start time.

The final phases of the trial will be the prosecution again questioning Cohen and the defense presenting its case.

However, as of Monday morning it was unclear whether Trump's lawyers would call witnesses – including Trump.

Trump is on trial in Manhattan for allegedly falsifying business records to conceal the hush money payment – to keep the matter from being made public in the closing stages of his 2016 presidential bid. 

Trump is charged with 34 felony counts in the case, according to the Associated Press.