Trump's ex-lawyer pleads guilty to charges over hush money

Aug 23, 2018, 01:48
Trump's ex-lawyer pleads guilty to charges over hush money

Cohen told a court on Tuesday that he had paid off porn actress Stormy Daniels and model Karen McDougal in order to influence the 2016 United States election campaign, at the direction of a "candidate".

Speaking under oath in court Tuesday, Michael Cohen admitted arranging payments to keep a former Playboy model and a porn star quiet during the 2016 election about alleged affairs "in coordination with and at the direction of a candidate for federal office" - Trump.

The charges against Manafort were brought by special counsel and respected former Federal Bureau of Investigation director Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russia's role in tipping the 2016 presidential election in Trump's favor. "Where is the collusion?" the president asked his audience.

Lawyers for Michael Cohen - Donald Trump's former personal attorney who is being investigated for financial fraud - are in negotiations with prosecutors that could result in a plea deal, according to reports.

Cohen left the courthouse shortly after the hearing ended, entering a black Buick as a protester across the street screamed, "Lock him up".

The 51-year-old said in federal court in NY that he made the payments in coordination with President Trump, who was not named, to influence the election.

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As part of his plea deal, Cohen agreed to file corrected tax returns and pay $1.5 million to the Internal Revenue Service.

Reporter: Why not report the payments?

In turn, Trump has distanced himself from Cohen, who has told friends he has felt isolated, according to the friends.

Enter Trump. The president has publicly said a couple times since Manafort's conviction that Manafort is a good or courageous man. However he has not yet been sentenced, and he would require additional legal representation in any negotiation with prosecutors to enter a potential cooperation agreement in the special counsel's Russian Federation investigation or other matters.

Mr. Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, previously confirmed that Cohen was repaid by Mr. Trump. Another possibility is that Cohen knows something that Mueller doesn't know Cohen knows.

Manafort was found guilty on five tax fraud charges, two counts of bank fraud and one charge of hiding foreign bank accounts.

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Cohen, 51, surrendered to the FBI, CNN said.

As cable networks were showing split-screen coverage of the dueling conviction and plea bargain by two former loyalists, Trump boarded Air Force One in the afternoon on the way to a rally in West Virginia.

The New York Times reported on Sunday that federal prosecutors were focused on more than $20 million in loans obtained by Cohen from taxi businesses owned by him and his family. Prosecutors could try to challenge it, but The Post spoke with a number of legal experts who are doubtful they would, or that it would work.

U.S. District Court Judge Kimba Wood appointed a former federal judge to act as a special master and review the seized items to assess what material must be withheld from investigators because it is covered by attorney-client privilege.

Sarah Sanders: I think that's a ridiculous accusation.

Pecker and a top National Enquirer official warned Cohen through an encrypted application that Daniels was going to make a deal to sell her story to another outlet, court papers said.

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