UPDATE 2 — 8/22, 6:22 p.m. EDT: Legal documents related to Michael Cohen’s criminal case reveal the current president’s former lawyer was reimbursed $420,000 from the Trump Organization using misleading invoices to conceal the nature of the transaction, alleged to be pay-off money for at least two women Trump had affairs with prior to the 2016 election.
“In truth and fact, there was no such retainer agreement, and the monthly invoices COHEN submitted were not in connection with any legal services he had provided in 2017,” read a document authored by federal prosecutors.
Trump said later on Wednesday the payments Cohen made to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal “came from me,” and were not campaign funds.
UPDATE — 6:44 p.m. EDT: Michael Cohen pleaded guilty Tuesday afternoon to eight federal crimes related to bank and tax fraud, as well as campaign finance law violations as part of an agreement with prosecutors that will “save millions of dollars, protect his family, and limit his exposure.”
During his appearance in a New York court, Cohen also admitted to paying off two women who allegedly had affairs with Donald Trump “for the purposes of influencing the election”, at the “direction” of the New York businessman, which could implicate the current president as a co-conspirator in the crime.
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are said to be preparing charges against Michael Cohen for bank and tax fraud and violations of campaign finance law, according to multiple media sources close to the investigation.
It is believed Cohen, a former personal attorney for Donald Trump, will face charges related to $20 million in loans for New York taxi firms he owns.
Sources say prosecutors are likely to indict Cohen by the end of August.
As stated by two unnamed sources familiar with the investigation, prosecutors believe Cohen obtained loans from two financial institutions, Sterling National Bank and the Melrose Credit Union, for his taxi companies.
Officials probing Cohen theorize he misrepresented his assets to secure loans by not fully reporting income from his New York taxi service.
Under New York law, for taxi companies to operate, a license known as a medallion must be acquired. Investigators suspect did not report medallion income to the IRS.
Investigators with U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York are also looking at Cohen for possible violations of campaign finance law for payments from Trump’s lawyer totaling $280,000 to keep two of the president’s alleged former mistresses quiet prior to the 2016 election — adult entertainer Stormy Daniels and ex-model Karen McDougal.
Daniels, whose given name is Stephanie Clifford, contends she engaged in a brief extramarital affair with Trump in 2006, while McDougal’s encounters with the New York businessman allegedly occurred in 2006 and 2007 for a period of nine to 12 months.
The investigation looking into Cohen’s business activities is unrelated to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
[AP] [CNN] [New York Times] [Politico] [Washington Post] [Photo courtesy Indian Express]