Michael Cohen, a lawyer who worked directly for Donald Trump, has pleaded guilty in federal court to campaign finance violations. Cohen’s statements implicates President Trump in these crimes, and acknowledged that Cohen worked at the direction of then candidate Trump to pay off Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal.
“Although he didn’t mention Trump by name,” The Daily Mail writes, “Trump’s longtime lawyer spoke in open court about a $130,000 payment as well as a deal he helped negotiate with a publisher involving McDougal.”
Cohen acknowledged that these payments were made “in coordination and at the direction of a candidate for federal office.” That person is President Trump.
The new came within minutes of the announcement that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort had been found guilty on eight counts in his trial on tax and fraud charges. While Manafort’s jury could not reach agreement on 10 other charges, Manafort will likely spend the rest of his life in prison.
Cohen, for his admission of guilt, agreed to spend up to four years in prison.
Oddly, Cohen’s plea deal doesn’t include a deal to cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe.
The $130,000 payment Cohen made to porn star Stormy Daniels was meant to keep her silent about her alleged affair with Trump. That payment constituted a campaign finance violation. It is unclear what will happen now to President Trump. The campaign finance violation is a federal crime.
“Trump said in April that he did not know about payments Cohen made to Daniels – although lawyer Rudy Giuliani later said Trump reimbursed his longtime lawyer for the funds,” DM notes. Cohen’s statements, though, call this into question.
“Cohen admitted the payment was a violation of strict federal limits on political contributions. Prosecutors deemed the payment an in-kind contribution to the Trump campaign since it helped shelve potentially damaging information,” DM writes.
Cohen agreed to jail time as part of the agreement.
In addition, Cohen detailed the payment of $150,000 to American Media Inc. Karen McDougal, a former Playboy Playmate, had sold the rights to her story to the company. That payment was used to effectively silence her and her allegations of a long-term affair.