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Ex-Trump lawyer Cohen, in guilty plea, says made payments at candidate's direction


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Ex-Trump lawyer Cohen, in guilty plea, says made payments at candidate's direction

By Brendan Pierson

 

2018-08-21T215835Z_1_LYNXNPEE7K1EQ_RTROPTP_4_USA-TRUMP-RUSSIA-COHEN.JPG

U.S. President Donald Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, leaves the Daniel Patrick Moynihan United States Court House in lower Manhattan, New York City, U.S. August 21, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

 

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty in New York on Tuesday to campaign finance violations and other charges, saying he made payments to influence the 2016 election at the direction of a candidate for federal office.

 

The guilty pleas came in the same hour that a federal jury in Alexandria, Virginia, convicted former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort of eight charges of tax and bank fraud and failing to disclose foreign bank accounts.

 

Cohen, 51, appearing in federal court in Manhattan, pleaded guilty to one count of wilfully causing an unlawful corporate campaign contribution and one count of making an excessive campaign contribution.

 

Cohen, one of Trump's closest associates for more than a decade, said he arranged to make payments "for (the) principal purpose of influencing (the) election" at the direction of a candidate for federal office. He did not give the candidate's name.

 

Porn star Stormy Daniels has said Cohen paid her $130,000 (£100,749) shortly before the November 2016 election to keep quiet about a 2006 sexual encounter with Trump.

 

In addition, Cohen recorded a conversation with Trump two months before the election in which they discussed buying the rights to a story by former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who said she had an affair with Trump, lawyer Rudy Giuliani said last month.

 

Under U.S. election law, campaign contributions, defined as things of value given to a campaign in order to influence an election, must be disclosed. A payment intended to silence allegations of an affair just before an election could constitute a campaign contribution, some experts have said.

 

Cohen, who once said he would "take a bullet" for Trump, agreed to a plea bargain with federal prosecutors earlier Tuesday.

 

He also pleaded guilty to five counts of tax fraud and one count of making false statements to a financial institution.

 

The plea deal includes a possible sentence of up to five years and three months in prison, Judge William Pauley III said during the hearing. Pauley scheduled sentencing for Dec. 12 and set bail at $500,000.

 

Manafort conviction's resulted from U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible coordination with Trump's Republican campaign.

 

The probe also led to a referral from Mueller about Cohen to federal prosecutors in New York, who began their own probe of the attorney.

 

Trump has repeatedly denied any collusion with Russia or having sex with Daniels or McDougal, and has called the Mueller investigation a witch hunt. Russia has denied meddling in the election. U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded Moscow interfered.

 

Cohen, who worked as Trump's personal attorney at the Trump Organization, continued to advise the president after the election. But their relationship had frayed in recent months.

 

In court on Tuesday, Cohen's voice cracked as he answered questions from Pauley.

 

Asked a standard question about whether he had consumed any alcohol or drugs before making his guilty plea, Cohen said he had only a glass of 12-year-old Glenlivet, single-malt scotch with dinner the night before.

 

Cohen agreed to the plea deal to save millions of dollars, protect his family and limit his exposure, Politico said, quoting an unnamed source.

 

The investigation of Cohen included a raid in April by FBI agents, who seized documents and files from his office, home and hotel room.

 

The New York Times had reported on Sunday that federal prosecutors were focused on more than $20 million in loans obtained by Cohen from taxi businesses owned by him and his family. {nL2N1VB011]

 

Mueller's investigation, which began in May 2017, has resulted in the indictment of more than 30 people and five guilty pleas.

 

The April FBI raids provoked an immediate reaction from Trump, who asked a judge to block prosecutors from reviewing the materials they had seized, citing attorney-client privilege. The effort was unsuccessful.

 

A number of Cohen's financial dealings since Trump's January 2017 inauguration have become public.

 

Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG has said it had paid Cohen nearly $1.2 million in a consulting deal; U.S. telecommunications company AT&T Inc said it made payments of $600,000; and South Korea's Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd said it hired him for $150,000.

 

Critics have said the payments may have been attempts to buy influence with the president.

 

Cohen also received $500,000 from Columbus Nova LLC, a New York company linked to Russian businessman Viktor Vekselberg. The firm has said the transaction had nothing to do with Vekselberg.

 

(Reporting by Brendan Pierson and Jonathan Stempel; Writing by Jonathan Oatis; Editing by Susan Thomas and; James Dalgleish)

 
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-- © Copyright Reuters 2018-08-22
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Pat Cunnane (@PatCunnane)

8/22/18, 1:56 AM

Michael Cohen surrenders to FBI while Michael Flynn’s sentencing is delayed as Paul Manafort awaits verdict. 

It’s like if Obama spilled Grey Poupon on his tan suit while doing a terrorist fist jab with the First Lady who wasn’t wearing sleeves.

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10 minutes ago, jimmyyy said:

Cohen Lied to save his skin. The real truth will come out when the investigation of what the DNC did begins, which will be shortly. 

Cohen has got hard evidence, documents and tapes.

 

Correction, the FBI have now got Cohen’s hard evidence, documents and tapes.

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6 minutes ago, mtls2005 said:

"in coordination with and at the direction of (trump)."

 

Ouch, that's gonna leave a mark.

 

 

I'm starting to think Trump is made of Teflon - nothing sticks.

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5 minutes ago, Lacessit said:

I'm starting to think Trump is made of Teflon - nothing sticks.

 

David Roberts (@drvox)

8/22/18, 4:53 AM

The dominant theme of the Trump years: He is what he seems to be. The people around him? They are as they appear. What's going on? Just what it looks like. It's all right there. It's just taking everyone a long time to believe/accept that it is what it is.

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32 minutes ago, Chomper Higgot said:

Cohen has got hard evidence, documents and tapes.

 

Correction, the FBI have now got Cohen’s hard evidence, documents and tapes.

Correction, Mr. Mueller has now got Cohen's hard evidence, documents, and tapes.  All the denials of Trump and crew are coming home to roost.  Which confirms what everyone knows--Trump has been lying all along.  And he's going to keep lying.   

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Can't help but thinking of Al Capone here -- for all he did, what brought him down was tax evasion.

All this Cohen stuff, when you get down to the core of the whole mess, had to do with DT dipping his wick.  And of course yapping off.  You'd think someone over 70 would know when to keep their mouth shut.

 

 

 

 

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1 minute ago, BobBKK said:

What's the big deal?  anything about Russia?  you feel this will bring down POTUS?  really?

 

Read what Cohen said in court.

 

 

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I'm still not clear why he's morphed it into a "rigged witch hunt"?

 

By definition, a "witch hunt" is understood to be "rigged".

 

Is that a he said "would", he said "wouldn't" double-negative? Or his he just trying to "sell the base" on the "whitewalls"?

 

Can't wait to see the post-rally tweets; he'll go full rocket-man, I think.

 

trump supporters must be "morning drinking" here.

 

 

 

 

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Just now, mtls2005 said:

I'm still not clear why he's morphed it into a "rigged witch hunt"?

 

By definition, a "witch hunt" is understood to be "rigged".

 

Is that a he said "would", he said "wouldn't" double-negative? Or his he just trying to "sell the base" on the "whitewalls"?

 

Can't wait to see the post-rally tweets; he'll go full rocket-man, I think.

 

trump supporters must be "morning drinking" here.

 

 

 

 

I really don't think so. I'm no Trump supporter, and the liberals might be orgasmic this morning, but Trump paid off a few girls?  what's the big deal? and what, what, what about Russia?  wasn't that the main focus?  where's the meat in the burger?

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8 minutes ago, Scott said:

Troll post and replies removed.   I am not sure what ....but, but, but Hillary has to do with this topic.  

 

But, but, on these forums, the only mention of Hillary's, or the DNC's blatant transgressions are replies to threads like this.  And, those are often removed.

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2 minutes ago, BobBKK said:

I'm no Trump supporter,

 

Sure, keep telling yourself that.

 

If you can't see the importance of these two convictions you are willfully blind.

 

 

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10 minutes ago, BobBKK said:

What's the big deal?  anything about Russia?  you feel this will bring down POTUS?  really?

There's much more to come.  Not just the conspiracy/collusion, but obstruction, corruption, violation of campaign finance laws, etc.  I wouldn't be surprised if the Trump Organization was built upon tons of laundered Russian money.  Ever heard of the RICO law? 

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This is it. 100%. Trump's profiteering joy ride at our expense is over.

 

There is evidence he paid hush money to influence an election. Stick a fork in him. It may take a while but he is going to be fried upand served better than a piece of bacon.

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4 minutes ago, BobBKK said:

I really don't think so. I'm no Trump supporter, and the liberals might be orgasmic this morning, but Trump paid off a few girls?  what's the big deal? and what, what, what about Russia?  wasn't that the main focus?  where's the meat in the burger?

Because it was illegal to use those funds for the the campaign. As for Russian being the main focus, the main focus of whom? 

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Just now, Berkshire said:

There's much more to come.  Not just the conspiracy/collusion, but obstruction, corruption, violation of campaign finance laws, etc.  I wouldn't be surprised if the Trump Organization was built upon tons of laundered Russian money.  Ever heard of the RICO law? 

Laundered Russia money?  maybe, any evidence, data, links those types of things?

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6 minutes ago, BobBKK said:

I really don't think so. I'm no Trump supporter, and the liberals might be orgasmic this morning, but Trump paid off a few girls?  what's the big deal? and what, what, what about Russia?  wasn't that the main focus?  where's the meat in the burger?

I'm no Trump supporter”

 

 

Says a man who habitually comes out swinging in defence of Trump.

 

Perhaps you’ now putting some ‘space’ between you and Trump. - That’s a wise move.

 

The truth will (despite Trump’s best efforts) out!

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Just now, bristolboy said:

Because it was illegal to use those funds for the the campaign. As for Russian being the main focus, the main focus of whom? 

 

Muller, CNN and the liberals and all these other peripheral charges came out of that. Trump will look 'unclean' (and he is) but we know that. Where the collusion is what most of us are waiting for.

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22 minutes ago, BobBKK said:

What's the big deal?  anything about Russia?  you feel this will bring down POTUS?  really?

HE is a goner. 100%. It is already over. 

 

The crime he has been implicated in helped inluence a close election. Plus cohen the convited party was not even the beneficiary of the crime, trump was. Stick a fork in him seriously. He will have some lasting power no doubt but fork is lodged firmly up bunghole already, all trump has to do is sit back and take it while he tweets about how great manaford is some more. 

 

Seriously manaford is a "great guy" lol. He is stupid, priveledged, white, and rich, which in trumps book equates to "great".

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Just now, Chomper Higgot said:

I'm no Trump supporter”

 

 

Says a man who habitually comes out swinging in defence of Trump.

 

Perhaps you’ now putting some ‘space’ between you and Trump. - That’s a wise move.

 

The truth will (despite Trump’s best efforts) out!

Not at all I was for Bernie and think Trumps a megalomaniac but I want truth, not petty liberal 'get him at all costs'.  If he's done wrong let's see it in cold, hard facts.  Paying off girls is unsavory but endemic I want to see the BIG stuff like collusion.

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