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Michael Cohen says Trump had him find a fake bidder for charity auction portrait



Michael Cohen claims that President Donald Trump had him find a fake bidder to buy a portrait of him at a 2013 charity auction in the Hamptons so it would sell higher than everything else, and then paid the buyer back with Trump Foundation funds.

While speaking to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform on Wednesday, Cohen spoke about the painting as part of his testimony on his 10-year relationship with Trump.

In his opening statement, he said the portrait of Trump was being auctioned off at an Art Hamptons event.

“The objective was to ensure that his portrait, which was going to be auctioned last, would go for the highest price of any portrait that afternoon,” Cohen said.

Cohen said the portrait was purchased for $60,000 by a fake bidder that he found.

“Mr. Trump directed the Trump Foundation, which is supposed to be a charitable organization, to repay the fake bidder, despite keeping the art for himself,” Cohen said.

Read more: Read Michael Cohen’s full testimony to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform

The testimony referenced evidence connected to the auction that was shown to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.

In 2013, Trump tweeted about the charity auction, boosting that his portrait “topped list” when it was sold for $60,000.

The 9-foot oil painting, made by artist William Quigley, shows Trump, wearing a black suit and blue tie, with a serious expression on his face.

The Dans Paper , a local Hampton newspaper, reported in 2015 that Trump was not in attendance at the auction, but that he asked his friend, pharmaceutical entrepreneur Stewart Rahr to place a bid on the painting.

Proceeds from the auction benefitted the Guild Hall Center for the Visual and Performing Arts.

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