“Cohen said he was directed to violate campaign law at the direction of a candidate for federal office.”
Former Trump attorney Michael Cohen has pleaded guilty to eight counts, which include the following: evading personal income taxes, making an unlawful corporate campaign contribution, making a false statement to a financial institution, and making an excessive campaign contribution in October 2016.
Cohen was shaking head and appeared to be holding back emotions as judge reviews possible sentence. Cohen faces a likely prison sentence of 46 to 63 months, the judge said.
In acknowledging the charges against him, Cohen said he was directed to violate campaign law at the direction of a candidate for federal office. At the same candidate’s direction, he said he paid $130,000 to somebody to keep them quiet, which was later repaid by the candidate. He didn’t identify the candidate or the person who was paid, but those facts match Cohen’s payment to [ex-Playboy Playmate Stephanie] Clifford and Trump’s repayment.
However, no one mentioned the candidate’s name. Bloomberg continued:
The prosecutor told the judge the purpose of the payments was to ensure that the individuals did not disclose “alleged affairs with the candidate.” Besides the $130,000 payment, Cohen admitted to making an illegal contribution of $150,000, which was how much [ex-Playboy Playmate Karen] McDougal received from the National Enquirer’s publisher to quash her story.
*FROM EARLIER TODAY
Looks like Michael Cohen pleading guilty before Judge Pauley at 4 pm today.
— Preet Bharara (@PreetBharara) August 21, 2018
There was much speculation that Cohen would flip, especially after he insinuated Trump and Don Jr. were lying about the infamous Trump Tower meeting.
The Michael Cohen plea agreement is *not* a cooperation deal. He is merely pleading guilty, according to @CNN.
This might mean that he didn’t have enough of value to offer prosecutors. Or it could mean he wasn’t willing to flip. https://t.co/6kf8BD3pBF
— Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) August 21, 2018
Axios has more:
President Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen has reached a plea deal with federal prosecutors in New York, per ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos.
The big question: It’s still unknown whether Cohen’s deal means he’ll be cooperating with federal investigators, including those in the Mueller investigation.
- The deal reportedly encompasses campaign finance violations, bank fraud, and tax evasion, per ABC News’ Karen Travers.
- Cohen was under investigation for possible violations of campaign finance law regarding payments he facilitated to multiple women who claimed to have had extramarital affairs with Trump.
- He was also under investigation for more then $20 million of bank and tax fraud after allegedly misrepresenting the value of his assets in trying to obtain loans for his family taxi business.
The timing: There could be a jury decision in the trial for Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort as early as this afternoon.
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