The employee faces up to 5 years in prison.
Back in May 2018, attorney Michael Avenatti published what looked like bank records related to President Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen, who in turn demanded the court force Avenatti to reveal his source.
Avenatti claimed that Cohen lacked evidence that he received or distributed any bank records. At the time, Cohen represented Stormy Daniels in her case against Trump.
Well, now an IRS employee has been charged with providing Cohen’s information to Avenatti.
Here is some background on the case:
- Court appoints Special Master to screen Michael Cohen files seized by Feds
- Michael Cohen lawyers ask court to require Michael Avenatti to reveal source of bank records (Updated)
- Stormy Daniels court filing: Michael Cohen trying “to soil Mr. Avenatti” (Updated)
- Michael Avenatti to court: Michael Cohen “has presented no evidence” that I received or distributed SAR info
You can read the affidavit here.
IRS employee John C. Fry, based in San Francisco, received charges of “illegally disclosing suspicious activity reports – investigative records the service kept detailing potentially illegal transactions” that involved Cohen.
From Fox News:
According to an affidavit by Linda Cieslak, a special agent with the U.S. Department of Treasury, Fry repeatedly searched law enforcement databases for information relating to Cohen. Fry, an investigative analyst for the IRS’ law enforcement arm who has worked for the agency since 2008, is accused of gaining access to five SARs, which are filed by banks when transactions are spotted that raise questions about possible financial misconduct.
One of the reports Fry allegedly accessed showed Cohen’s Essential Consultants had received a total of $500,000 from Columbus Nova, a company associated with Viktor Vekselberg, a Russian oligarch who donated money to Trump’s inauguration fund. Other payments to Essential Consultants came from AT&T ($200,000) and pharmaceutical company Novartis (approximately $399,920).
Cieslak said Fry called Avenatti from his cellphone three separate times and relayed the information from the SARs to the attorney verbally. The agent added that Fry admitted to doing so when investigators confronted him in November.
The affidavit says Avenatti made the information he obtained from Fry public on Twitter May 8, writing: “Mr. Trump and Mr. Cohen have a lot of explaining to do.” Avenatti declined to say how he obtained the records, telling Fox News at the time: “That’s my work product and will not be disclosed.”
According to the affidavit, Fry also talked with reporter Ronan Farrow, who wrote about the leak in the New Yorker magazine. Farrow wrote “that the law enforcement official who released the report had grown concerned after he was unable to find two other reports on Cohen’s financial activity that he believed should have been in a government database.”
Fry claimed “that Farrow had contacted him to confirm information supplied to Farrow by Avenatti.”
If found guilty, Fry faces five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.DONATE
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