Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s longtime personal attorney, pleaded guilty to eight criminal counts in a federal court in Manhattan today. The charges include tax evasion, making false statements to a financial institution and making illegal campaign contributions.
In his plea deal, the longtime fixer implicated his former boss.
“On or about October 27, 2016, Michael Cohen knowingly and willfully made and caused to be made a contribution to Individual-1, a candidate for Federal office…in excess of the limits of the Election Act…and did so…in cooperation, consultation, and concert with, and at the request and suggestion of one or more members of the campaign,” the plea deal read.
“To wit, Cohen made a $130,000 payment to Woman-2 to ensure that she did not publicize damaging allegations before the 2016 presidential election and thereby influence that election,” it continued.
“Individual-1” is believed to be President Trump and “Woman-2” is believed to be Stephanie Clifford, an adult film actress who allegedly had an affair with Donald Trump in 2006, and then accepted a cash payment from Cohen in October 2016 to not speak publicly about it.
The charges against Cohen carry with them a maximum of 45 years in prison and over $1.6 million in fines. As a result of the plea Cohen will serve a maximum of 63 months in prison and pay a fine in the range of $20,000 to $1,000,000.
The FBI raided Cohen offices and homes earlier this year. Agents reportedly seized tax documents, business records and correspondence between Cohen and his clients, including President Trump. It was later revealed that Cohen routinely recorded conversations he had with his clients, including President Trump.
Cohen subsequently indicated a willingness to cooperate with investigators in the ongoing probe. “My wife, my daughter and my son have my first loyalty and always will. I put family and country first,” Cohen said in an interview with ABC News.
Current lawyers attempted to defend the President from any allegations by painting Cohen as an unreliable witness. “There is no allegation of any wrongdoing against the President in the government’s charges against Mr. Cohen. It is clear that, as the prosecutor noted, Mr. Cohen’s actions reflect a pattern of lies and dishonesty over a significant period of time,” Rudy Giuliani said today.
Photo by Department of Justice