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Cohen Pleads Guilty to 8 Counts, Including ‘Excessive Campaign Contribution’

Cohen Pleads Guilty to 8 Counts, Including ‘Excessive Campaign Contribution’

“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.

From Bloomberg:

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.


There was much speculation that Cohen would flip, especially after he insinuated Trump and Don Jr. were lying about the infamous Trump Tower meeting.

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 context:

  • 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.

USA v. Michael Cohen – Criminal Information 8-21-2018 by Legal Insurrection on Scribd


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The jails are full of brilliant criminals. Mueller is really good at attacking his targets attorney. This is a new kind of justice system. Lawyers will have to calculate their clients Social Justice Score before risking representing them.

Well this totally proves the Russians put Trump in office.

So now that they’ve Matlocked this case, they can get on to Hillary’s Uranium one (or take your pick from her time as Sec of State) crime?

The early reports about just what kind of plea or “bargain” was made are… confusing. I think I’ll withhold any commentary until it becomes clear just what has actually happened.

    Elzorro in reply to Tom Servo. | August 21, 2018 at 2:54 pm

    Your lawyer is going to prison because he is your lawyer. Ya picked the wrong one.

      Tom Servo in reply to Elzorro. | August 21, 2018 at 3:33 pm

      And how do you know there’s any prison involved at all? You see, that’s the problem when you jump in and start spouting emo lines about what you wish was true, based on no facts at all.

      To be clear, I’m not saying there won’t be prison time – maybe there will be, maybe there won’t be. But you certainly don’t know.

        mochajava76 in reply to Tom Servo. | August 21, 2018 at 4:19 pm

        NY Post says there is jail time. Cohen wanted 3 years but the Prosecutor wants more – 50 months.

          Elzorro in reply to mochajava76. | August 21, 2018 at 4:22 pm

          Maybe he can get the landscape detail He and Weenie can talk about old times while they mow the grass. He does not appear to be a good cook. Maybe a jailhouse lawyer?

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to Tom Servo. | August 21, 2018 at 3:09 pm

    Obviously they’re confusing because their obvious MSM Lies…….

Yup. And now the scuttlebutt re the Manafort jury is their note was edited by media sources. It didn’t say “what if we can’t come to a consensus on _a_ count”, it actually said “what if we can’t come to a consensus on _any_ count”..

No no no no. Nope. Not chasing this rabbit down the hole. Nope. Learned my lesson during the Clinton impeachment. We will know when we know and no sooner.

So Cohen’s attorney, Clinton Buddy Lannie Davis, has just ensured Cohen will spend over a decade in prison. The swamp plans to claim that the payments to women were “campaign finance violations”. They tried that tact with John Edwards and failed. But “Campaign Finance Violations” cast a wide penumbra. Guilt comes from who is examined. Look at Hillary and yea shall find.

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to dystopia. | August 21, 2018 at 3:08 pm

    Good points.

    The Uni-Party DC Swamp is so desperate, their next step should be their own mass-suicides. But suicide isn’t what psychopaths do – not when they still think they can murder everyone else.

    Close The Fed in reply to dystopia. | August 21, 2018 at 4:45 pm

    John Edwards was acquitted?! I didn’t know that!!!

great unknown | August 21, 2018 at 3:00 pm

A plea deal on a multi-million-dollar indictment can buy a lot of perjury.

notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital | August 21, 2018 at 3:04 pm

Isn’t this the same “old” news the Lying MSM has been screeching all the long summer long?

Rinse, Repeat MSM Lie, Rinse, Repeat MSM Lie.

It didn’t work the first 300 times so it’s not gonna work now!

Cohen is a reprobate and showed himself to be sleazy. In some sense, he doubtless deserves all of what’s coming his way.

My problem is simple: Cohen was indicted ONLY because he worked in some capacity as an attorney for Trump, the point of which was to intimidate any and all who may work or have worked for the president.

This little excursion is Mueller at his sleaziest. And make no mistake, Mueller is an evil toad (just check up on what he did when he was at FBI).

I’d by into this persecution of Cohen if these holier than thou legal frauds went after every single grifter in Washington.

There are thousands of them. Indict them all!

But grabbing one guy because Trump, pfah.

God, I despise that Mueller crew (remember the one who, all by himself, put Arthur Anderson, LLC, out of business using a means that was subsequently overturned by the courts! Ask 25,000 former employees how they feel).

    JusticeDelivered in reply to Titan28. | August 21, 2018 at 5:32 pm

    “There are thousands of them. Indict them all!”

    If they did that all that would be left are all the entitled welfare slugs.

No, no, no. If you’re gonna write a court room update about Trump world, ya gotta talk about Stormy pr0n star, Trump calling far-off places a sh**hol**, and grab women by the wingding, or it just ain’t good click bait, Kemberlee.


“He was also under investigation for more than $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.”

So did he succeed in getting the loans by lying to the bank, and the business went out of business afterward, making the bank take a loss (fraud) or did he fail to get the loans? Because from my non-lawyer seat here in the peanut gallery, the first one seems more law-breaky than the second.

Close The Fed | August 21, 2018 at 4:52 pm

Honestly, the Manafort and Cohen prosecutions are disgusting and Mueller is rubbing our face in it.

Trump gets elected POTUS, head of the executive branch, and instead of seeing H. Clinton, Rice, et al. being prosecuted, we see all our allies being selectively prosecuted.

I appreciate that Jeff Sessions supported Trump early; I appreciate all he’s doing to enforce immigration law; but his recusal on the thinnest reed has allowed all of this lawless vigilantism to proceed unmoored to POTUS.

I do not find Manafort or Cohen to be slimy. They are doing what is done all the time. These are unacceptable political prosecutions.

This needs to be ended asap. Then instead of turning the other cheek to the dems, I would take the approach I hope Kurt Schlichter would approve: SCORCHED EARTH PROSECUTIONS AGAINST THE DEMS. Make sure the dems DO NOT LIKE THE NEW RULES. That is the ONLY way they will learn.

I would find every picayune violation of tax, lending, campaign laws, and JAYWALKING, and prosecute every one of them.

    I have to admit, it is a little weird seeing the winning side in an election conducting reprisals against itself.

      Aarradin in reply to txvet2. | August 22, 2018 at 3:39 am

      But – they aren’t.

      Its the Obama holdovers in the Dictatorship of the Bureaucracy, our true overlords, that are committing reprisals on the winning side of the election.

      They aren’t doing it to themselves.

      Mistake Trump made was YUGE – He ought to have fired 100% of the political appointees in every federal agency the day he was inaugurated.

      Personnel is politics.

      The President is one man. If you want your administration to carry out your will, then you need people in ALL of the political appointee positions atop every bureaucracy. They are the ones that are going to actually set your policies in motion.

      What happens when you leave the previous administrations picks in various top posts? They just keep on implementing their own ideological agenda, in this case, the Clinton/Obama agenda.

      Worse, as we’ve seen for the past two years, they have no qualms about actively sabotaging you.

    ConradCA in reply to Close The Fed. | August 22, 2018 at 11:49 am

    Hillary and the FBI crooks who obstructed justice by clearing her should be first to go to the chopping block. Next should be the criminals who did the illegal spying on Trump including those who got the FISA warrant based on lies and those who unmasked Trump campaign anssociates.

“Cohen said he was directed to violate campaign law at the direction of a candidate for federal office.”

No, he was directed to pay off a bimbo.

The canary is singing now isn’t he?

Cohen just claimed he was directed by “the candidate” to violate campaign finance law by paying Stormy out.

The clear insinuation is Trump told him to pay her.

Of course forget that only recently Cohen claimed he made the payments without Trumps knowledge!

So which is the truth?!?

No doubt the sharp a a fucking tack mother fucking media will be all over this like a fat chick over a packet of Smarties in a health camp!!

    Close The Fed in reply to mailman. | August 21, 2018 at 5:29 pm

    Dear Mailman:

    Indeed. Yettttttt, somehow, this still has nothing to do with “Colluding with Russia.”

    Hmmmmm…. almost like Mueller has NO LIMITS.

    How can that be, with “checks and balances”?

    Oh, there aren’t any?? Ohhhhh, I seee…. Where did our “constitutional republic” disappear to? Venezuela, perchance??

“Cohen said he was directed to violate campaign law at the direction of a candidate for federal office.”

If that isn’t “cooperation”, I’m not sure how you can define the term. Of course, he could be talking about Hillary.

    Close The Fed in reply to txvet2. | August 21, 2018 at 6:17 pm

    TxVet2: I don’t practice criminal law, but it could mean he hasn’t agreed to provide information. In other words, he’s sentenced, but doesn’t sit down with them further to provide info or voluntarily testify.

Close The Fed | August 21, 2018 at 6:19 pm

I am surprised Cohen didn’t fight harder, but WHY did he hire Lanny Davis of all people? I mean that’s a guaranteed capitulation to Mueller. Bizarrooo.

    Ghost Rider in reply to Close The Fed. | August 21, 2018 at 6:48 pm

    Rather surprising that Cohen pleaded guilty to several crimes he didn’t commit — namely NDAs paid out of private funds, not campaign funds. But what do you expect when you’re represented by Lanny Davis, who has his own political agenda. I can only assume they had a lot more on Cohen to get him to do something this stupid to feed their political narrative.

    “…WHY did he hire Lanny Davis …”

    Why did he tape his clients without their knowledge? I can only conclude that the guy figures himself to be just a bit more of a player than he actually is.

As in the Manafort trial, our courts are being abused to advance a political agenda.

What I wonder is why the cute “directed by a candidate for federal office” phrasing. FGS, if you mean to say “directed by Trump” what possible legal purpose is served by being so mealey-mouthed?

Is he afraid Trump will sue for defamation if he says the “T” word?
Is it a defamation trap he’s been directed by a federal prosecutor to set, hoping tye legal wrangling will hurt Trump?

And WTH is the JUDGE thinking allowing a plea so lacking in plain speak. Doesn’t a judge have the power to alter any deal he thinks is questionable, including the language the defendent uses in accepting the plea?

    Fen in reply to BobM. | August 22, 2018 at 12:18 am

    Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but my understanding is that statement was drafted by the court or the prosecutor for him to recite as part of his plea deal. Those aren’t his actual words or thoughts.

How in the world can Cohen’s lawyer allow him to claim *intent* to violate campaign laws? That’s dumber than dirt. In my (admitted) limited knowledge, Trump used personal funds to pay a loudmouth blackmailer who threatened to go to the press and besmirch his character (or what’s left of it). For the glorious sum of $130k, said loudmouth blackmailer signed an agreement *not* to blab to the press or be liable for X% in fines for breaking the agreement.

Undoubtedly, there were other such ‘Here’s some money now shut up’ agreements over the years, which under no possible interpretation could be held to be campaign violations. Even after he started campaigning, merely paying a blackmailer to shut up is *not* necessarily a campaign violation, particularly when you use personal funds, not campaign funds (a certain no-no).

But to have your lawyer *admit* intent… That’s stupid.

The interesting question is this: what evidence is there that money donated to the Trump campaign was involved? Is there a check signed by Trump drawn from the campaign account?

    Milhouse in reply to SDN. | August 22, 2018 at 4:10 am

    No, nor is such a thing necessary. The whole point of his plea is that he admits he spent his own money on behalf of the campaign, at the candidate’s direction, thereby making an under-the-table donation to the campaign.

      Arminius in reply to Milhouse. | August 22, 2018 at 5:31 am

      Wrong. Again.

      “Former FEC Chairman To Mark Levin: Stormy Daniels Money Cannot Be In Kind Campaign Contribution

      ‘Historically, the FEC has said these things are not campaign contributions.'”

      You don’t know election law. Apparently Cohen’s attorneys don’t know election law as they allowed him to plead guilty to something that isn’t a crime. Which doesn’t surprise me because if Mueller’s deputy Weissman is an example of a typical US attorney that’s a standard tactic. But Law Professor and former FEC chairman Bradley Smith does know election law and he has explained in detail why what Cohen did on Trump’s behalf is not an in-kind campaign contribution.

      The fact that Cohen said he violated election laws does not make it true. It does confirm the old adage that prosecutors can not only get defendants to sing, they can coerce them to compose.

      You really shouldn’t spout off about things you don’t know about, Milhouse. One of the confirmed reasons the federal prosecutors didn’t charge Cohen with multiple federal financial crimes that they could have proven and allowed Cohen to get off so leniently even without an agreement to cooperate is because they wanted to avoid a trial. And one of the reasons they wanted to avoid a trial is because they couldn’t prove in court what they persuaded Cohen to stipulate to.

      The only significance of Cohen’s statements in is guilty plea is that it proves this prosecution was indeed political and the target is Trump.

        Milhouse in reply to Arminius. | August 22, 2018 at 9:28 am

        No, you are wrong, Arminius. Again. SDN asked whether the money came from the campaign account, thus showing that he misunderstood what is going on. The whole point of the plea is that the money didn’t come from the campaign, though it should have; instead Cohen paid a campaign expense, thus making an under-the-table donation. That is what Cohen was charged with, and agreed to plead to, mostly because it will not add to his sentence so there was no point in fighting it.

        Whether such a “donation” is actually illegal if undeclared is unclear. Bradley Smith believes it isn’t. Mueller believes it is. No court has yet considered the matter, so the truth is nobody knows. Smith is an expert in this area of law, but he is not the only expert, and on many such questions he’s in the minority. Let Trump put him on the DC circuit and we might see the law move in the direction he’d like to push it, which would be a good thing. But whether he’s right or wrong in this instance, SDN’s question was about what happened yesterday, to explain which only Mueller’s opinion is relevant.

          Arminius in reply to Milhouse. | August 22, 2018 at 10:20 am

          Still wrong, Milhouse. You really should have taken my advice not to spout off about things you don’t know about. No court has ever considered this matter because the FEC has never referred any condidate to the DoJ for expenditures like this for prosecution. Because it’s not illegal under federal election law.

          And this court didn’t have a chance to consider the matter because the US attorney made sure it didn’t go to trial where the prosecution could not make the case that what Cohen confessed to is actually a crime.

          Trump will not be indicted over this non-crime. This is just a political smear campaign.

          But please, keep embarrassing yourself, know-nothing.

I can’t wait for the spectacle of hypocrisy from the Democrats as they try to inflate Cohen’s statement in court that he violated federal election law by paying off two women with a total of $280k into an impeachable offense.

1. First of all, those payoffs don’t consitute illegal campaign contributions. But even if for the sake of argument I allow that they are…

2. Where were the Democratss when the FEC fined Obama $375k for knowingly accepting approximately $2M in illegal campaign contributions. How do I know it was deliberate?

If you hide the identities of 1300 donors, fail to report donations over a certain amount, knowingly accept excessive donations, and refuse to return the illegal donations within the 60 day window that’s not an accident. That’s by design.

Obama’s fine alone was $100k more than the total amount Cohen claimed he made in in-kind contributions. The fine Trump would have to pay would be in the five figures, a fraction of the six figure fine Obama had to pay.

Funny how the Dems weren’t talking about criminal prosecution or impeachment back in January 2013 when Obama’s violations came to light. And by funny, I mean entirely predictable.

buckeyeminuteman | August 22, 2018 at 7:59 am

This should serve as a warning to Trump. You lie down with dogs and you get fleas. That includes shady lawyers, campaign chairmen and porn stars. It’s not up to me to decide Manafort’s or Cohen’s guilt. But it does look bad for Trump to be engaging in business with them.

video – 9 minutes 15 seconds
Mark Levin says Lanny Davis had Michael Cohen plead guilty to two counts of criminality that don’t exist

This being a legal site and all….Is it significant that he declined to name the party upon whose behalf he was acting?

It just seems too cutesy; that perhaps what he admitted to is not what actually transpired, but is what the prosecution wanted to hear and get into the news. And that naming the person he’d acted for would be able to rip his “confession” apart, so the prosecution doesn’t want any more than that, either.

It just stinks of artful contrivance.

The truth with come out eventually.

If Cohen is telling the truth, he will get a pardon, however if he is lying, he will have to wait for a Democrat President to pardon him.

    Arminius in reply to CaptTee. | August 23, 2018 at 2:19 pm

    It appears there is a great deal of confusion out and about concerning the meaning of Presidential pardons.

    Burdick v. United States, 236 U.S. 79 (1915)

    “Quaere whether the President of the United States may exercise the pardoning power before conviction.

    A witness may refuse to testify on the ground that his testimony may have an incriminating effect, notwithstanding the President offers, and he refuses, a pardon for any offense connected with the matters in regard to which he is asked to testify.

    There are substantial differences between legislative immunity and a pardon; the latter CARRIES AN IMPUTATION OF GUILT AND ACCEPTANCE OF A CONFESSION OF IT, while the former is noncommittal, and tantamount to silence of the witness.

    There is a distinction between amnesty and pardon; the former overlooks the offense, and is usually addressed to crimes against the sovereignty of the state and political offenses, the latter remits punishment and condones infractions of the peace of the state.”

    If a President offers someone a pardon pre-conviction it means the President believes that someone is guilty as charged. If a President offers someone a pardon post-conviction that person has been found guilty. If someone accepts a pardon a pardon, either pre or post-conviction that person is admitting guilt. No innocent person accepts a pardon. An innocent person will demand their day in court, and if necessary appeal the decision until their appeals are exhausted. Because if they accept the pardon it means they are in fact guilty of the crimes they are accused of.

    Gerald Ford wrote fairly extensively about his thought process before pardoning Nixon. And that he made it clear to Nixon that he believed him to be guilty, and by accepting the pardon Nixon would be admitting guilt. Nixon at fist refused to accept that fact, but eventually did.

    Furthermore, no President can protect himself from the truth by pardoning anyone. His or her own spouse would retain spousal immunity but that’s not an effect of the pardon but rather baked in the cake by the Constitution. Everyone else loses all legal rationale for refusing to testify. They are immune from prosecution already.

    Cohen isn’t going to get a pardon. But if in some alternate universe he did, that wouldn’t protect Trump. Cohen could spill the beans if he wanted to, and if he didn’t want to spill them could be compelled and jailed for contempt if he refused.

Just who recommended Lanny Davis as legal counsel for Cohen? This screams “collusion” of Cohen with Dems and Mueller (redundent) to max out plea deal. I guess Hillary Clinton would have been on his short list but her legal standing before the bar excluded that.

I commented earlier on the Manafort conviction and I’ll now do the same re: the Cohen deal.

Again, we have a shady character who did what thousands of people who make a lot of money do, he cheated on his income taxes. Not smart and definitely illegal. He may also have dabbled in fraudulent or borderline fraudulent behavior. And, he has been doing this for years and, just like Manafort, no one cared. The prosecution really stretched on the campaign finance charges. And, we will never know if these charges were for actual criminal activity or not, because they will never go to court. judicial precedent would strongly suggest that they are not, in fact, a violation of federal campaign finance laws. If they are, then paying someone to fabricate lies concerning your political opponent, and then using those lies against him, would certainly qualify as a campaign finance law violation.

It is interesting that Cohen’s attorney was the long standing attorney and advisor for the Clintons, Lanny Davis. If you were associated with DJT and were facing criminal charges for non-related activities would you engage the services of someone intimately related with DJT’s political opponent, who might also be looking at criminal prosecution for HER activities? Gotta wonder about that.

As to the impact on Trump, again it is low. It is pretty well known that Trump authorized the payments to both Daniels and Clifford. In Daniels’ case she signed a nondisclosure agreement, which she has since reneged on, ostensibly for more money. In the McDougal case, Me. McDougal SOLD her story to the National Enquirer for $150,000. Trump then bought the rights to that story from the Enquirer. The prosecution would have to show that the deals were a violation, a clear violation, of federal campaign finance laws, which, given the opinions of several respected legal scholars, is not going to happen. All the prosecutors wanted from Cohen was to get him to plead guilty to two charges which are far from being viewed as actual violations of law, in order to embarrass DJT. And, as Lanny Davis is involved, there is a good chance that Cohen will be made financially whole at a later date.