Cohen strikes plea deal in fraud case, reports say

Aug 23, 2018, 01:48
Cohen strikes plea deal in fraud case, reports say

The verdict was part of a stunning one-two punch of bad news for the White House, coming as the president's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, was pleading guilty in NY to campaign finance charges arising from hush money payments made to two women who say they had sex with Trump. But Cohen said Tuesday that Trump repaid him the money for the goal of influencing the campaign.

Other experts have said that a sitting president can be indicted, arguing that no person is above the law. If Democrats take back control of the House in November's midterm elections, it's their party that will have to decide what to do with Trump. Along with admitting that he made the payments to help Trump's 2016 White House bid, Cohen made the explosive claim that the future president personally coordinated and directed the transfer of the funds.

Last month, Cohen attorney Lanny Davis released an audio recording of a September 2016 conversation between Trump and Cohen in which they discussed a deal that a Playboy model made to sell the rights to her story of an alleged affair with Trump. He did not bring up either of his former associates.

"If those payments were a crime for Michael Cohen, then why wouldn't they be a crime for Donald Trump?".

Cohen appears to be open to a plea deal.

"Any attempt by the President to pardon Mr. Manafort or interfere in the investigation into his campaign would be a gross abuse of power and require immediate action by Congress", Senate Intelligence Vice Chairman Mark Warner said in a statement Tuesday. "And we've commented on this extensively", Sanders said.

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Cohen left the courthouse shortly after the hearing ended, entering a black Buick as a protester across the street screamed, "Lock him up". But he denies telling Cohen to do these things.

Cohenpleaded guilty to eight felony charges, including campaign finance violations and tax evasion.

"Most people will flip if the Government lets them out of trouble, even if it means lying or making up stories", he said.

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

"It was not the original mission", he said of the Mueller investigation.

Manafort was found guilty of five counts of tax frauds, one count of failure to report a foreign bank and financial accounts, and two counts of bank fraud.

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At almost the same moment, a jury in Alexandria, Virginia, convicted former Trump campaign boss Paul Manafort on eight of the 18 tax and bank fraud charges against him and said it was deadlocked on the other 10. The charges against Manafort mostly predate his work on Trump's campaign.

Trump denied to reporters in April that he knew anything about Cohen's payments to Daniels, though the explanation from the president and his attorney Rudy Giuliani have shifted multiples times since.

Trump has repeatedly played down Russian interference, and denounces Mueller's investigation as a politically motivated "witch hunt".

Cohen also received $500,000 from Columbus Nova LLC, a NY company linked to Russian businessman Viktor Vekselberg.

Davis said Cohen "would be able to provide information useful to the special counsel" but didn't elaborate on what that information may be.

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