Trump ex-lawyer Cohen agrees to plea deal: US media | 2018-08-22

Trump ex-lawyer Cohen agrees to plea deal: US media

Sun Online Desk

22nd August, 2018 01:04:12 printer

Trump ex-lawyer Cohen agrees to plea deal: US media

US President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen has agreed to plead guilty to charges stemming from a federal investigation of his business dealings and possible campaign finance violations, several US media reported Tuesday.

 

There was no initial confirmation of the plea deal reported by several media including NBC News and The New York Times, or of the specific charges involved, but Cohen was set to appear in Manhattan criminal court at 4 pm (2000 GMT).

 

Investigators are examining whether Cohen committed bank or tax fraud or violated campaign finance laws.

 

He had previously admitted to arranging hush money for a woman who claimed she had an affair with Trump, which could be a campaign finance violation.

 

Cohen is reportedly due to appear in a Manhattan courtroom on Tuesday.

 

He worked at the Trump Organization for more than a decade and continued to serve as Trump's personal lawyer after the 2016 election.

 

Cohen's potential co-operation with investigators against Trump has been tipped for weeks.

 

He once famously vowed he would take a bullet for Trump. But he told ABC News last month that his loyalty to his family and country came before his old boss.

 

Last month it also emerged that he had made a secret recording of the president, in which they discuss a payment to a model who said she had sex with Trump.

 

The nature of the reported plea deal is unclear and does not necessarily entail that Cohen is co-operating against the president.

 

It could simply mean he has agreed to plead guilty to unspecified charges in order to spare the prosecution a lengthy trial.

 

What does the deal mean?

Ever since federal investigators raided Michael Cohen's office and home back in April, there was speculation that it was only a matter of time before he faced criminal consequences. The only question was whether it would come in the form of an indictment or some type of plea deal negotiated with prosecutors.

 

It appears it will be the latter.

 

What this means, of course, is still an open question. Cohen was Donald Trump's long-time lawyer, business associate and all-around fixer. If there are skeletons in Trump's closet, Cohen could know where they lurk.

 

While a plea deal doesn't guarantee that he is sharing information relevant to other federal investigations, he may be rewarded during sentencing if he does so. And the growing tension between Cohen and the Trump team could make that more likely.

 

Cohen reportedly said he has details about the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between top members of Trump's campaign staff and Russian nationals.

 

He facilitated a six-figure payment on the eve of the 2016 election to an adult film actress who was poised to state that she had a sexual liaison with Trump.

 

These are topics that Cohen might be inclined to flush out in further detail, surely to the discomfort of those in the White House.

 

The FBI seized a number of files during a raid in April on Cohen's office and a hotel room used by him in New York.

 

They reportedly conducted the raid following a tip-off from the team of special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating whether Trump campaign aides colluded with alleged Kremlin attempts to sway the 2016 presidential election his way.

 

-AFP/BBC


Top