Former fixer admits fraud and campaign finance charges and says hush money payments to women were directed by Trump
Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen on Tuesday said Trump directed him to make payments that infringed campaign finance laws, in an effort to keep quiet two women who alleged sexual affairs with the billionaire.
The president has denied any knowledge of the payments at the time they were constructed. His role in them could describe him personally into legal jeopardy, legal analysts said.
Lanny Davis, Cohen’s lawyer, said in a tweet:” If those pays were a crime for Michael Cohen, then why wouldn’t they be a crime for Donald Trump?
The disclosure was made as Cohen pleaded guilty to bank scam, tax fraud and campaign finance violations in federal tribunal in New York. At the same time in Alexandria, Virginia, Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort was found guilty of bank fraud, tax fraud and failure to report a foreign bank account.
The campaign finance charges against Cohen stemmed from pays he made to the pornographic film actor Stormy Daniels and to the former Playboy model Karen McDougal.
As part of the bargain, Cohen agreed not to challenge any prison sentence from 46 to 63 months.
” Mr Cohen decided he was above the law, and for that he is going to pay a very serious price ,” said deputy US attorney Robert Khuzami outside the district courthouse in Manhattan.
Cohen admitted to attempting to hide billings he made to ” the candidate” for” money to silence two women”, Khuzami said, by submitting invoices for legal services in 2017. In fact there were no such services and the invoices sought reimbursement for the hush payments.
Khuzami accused Trump’s former top deputy of” a pattern of lies and dishonesty over a substantial period of time” that was ” particularly significant when done by a lawyer “.
Cohen admitted to hiding $4.3 m in income over a five-year period, including receipts from loans, from his taxi the enterprises and from brokerage commissions. The subterfuge resulted in $ 1.3 m in unpaid taxes. He also failed to disclose more than $14 m in debt in a mortgage application.
Cohen pleaded guilty to campaign finance charges for causing an unlawful corporate contribution and making an excessive personal contribution for the purpose of affecting the election.
Read more: www.theguardian.com