Cohen Lawyer: Trump Suggestion That Tapes Were Illegal Is 'Flawed' Strategy
Jul 22, 2018, 01:12
Giuliani also said that no campaign funding was involved in the discussion between Trump and Cohen, who has distanced himself from Trump as the FBI investigates business dealings undertaken by the president's former lawyer.
An attorney for President Donald Trump's former lawyer says "any attempt at spin can not change what is on" a recording of Trump discussing a potential payment for a former Playboy model's account of having an affair with him years ago.
Cohen's lawyer, Lanny Davis, quickly fired back, hurling a tweet at the president, and his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, in a show of worsening relations between the president and his former attorney. The recording, which hasn't been made public, was discovered as part of an Federal Bureau of Investigation raid in April on attorney Michael Cohen's home office and hotel in NY, sources told ABC News.
The taped conversation, now in the FBI's possession, could also further entangle the president in a criminal investigation that for months has targeted Cohen.
Giuliani put a positive spin on the content of the in-person conversation on Friday, describing it as Trump discussing potential payments to former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who alleges Trump an affair with her. Trump denies the allegation.
Cohen had made a practice of recording telephone conversations, unbeknownst to those with whom he was speaking.
But he said no money was actually ever transferred, and the recording itself amounted to "powerful exculpatory evidence".
Payments made to cover up embarrassing information ahead of the election could violate campaign finance law. In New York state, it is legal to record a conversation if one party consents. They shared the recording with Trump's lawyers as well, The New York Times reported, citing three people briefed on the matter.
"I think we need to bring this in-house", Cohen tells Trump, according to one person with knowledge of the recording. Trump's campaign had said it knew nothing about any payment to ex-centerfold Karen McDougal. "Any attempt at spin can not change what is on the tape", Davis said in a statement on Friday.
Mitchell Epner, an attorney at Rottenberg Lipman Rich who was previously an assistant United States attorney for the District of New Jersey, told Business Insider that Cohen could have made the recording either "for his own protection" or to ensure he got repaid for an expenditure he thought could have been agreed to in the conversation.
Michael Cohen leaves federal court in NY. It was not immediately clear where Trump and Cohen were located at the time of the call.
Ms McDougal says she had a 10-month affair with Mr Trump in 2006, a year after he married his current wife Melania.
The FBI is also investigating Cohen'spayment of $130,000 to adult film star Stormy Daniels in the weeks leading up to the election in exchange for silence about an alleged one-time encounter with Trump. But the agreement meant that McDougal signed a non-disclosure agreement that prevented her from revealing the affair.
She says the $150,000 (£115,000) agreement gave the tabloid exclusive story rights and banned her from talking publicly about the alleged affair.
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