Michael Cohen

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Re: Michael Cohen

Postby seemslikeadream » Sat Apr 14, 2018 11:23 pm

Polly Sigh

How much did Trump know about his biz partners' criminality? Plenty. His small, sad company was mostly run by Don Jr, Ivanka & a lousy lawyer now facing federal charges – Cohen – who monetized Trump's willingness to sign contracts with criminals.


Michael Cohen and the End Stage of the Trump Presidency

Adam Davidson
On May 1, 2003, the day President George W. Bush landed on the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln in front of the massive “Mission Accomplished” sign, I was in Baghdad performing what had become a daily ritual. I went to a gate on the side of the Republican Palace, in the Green Zone, where an American soldier was receiving, one by one, a long line of Iraqis who came with questions and complaints. I remember a man complaining that his house had been run over by a tank. There was a woman who had been a government employee and wanted to know about her salary. The soldier had a form he was supposed to fill out with each person’s request and that person’s contact information. I stood there as the man talked to each person and, each time, said, “Phone number?” And each person would answer some version of “The phone system of Iraq has been destroyed and doesn’t work.” Then the soldier would turn to the next person, write down the person’s question or complaint, and then ask, “Phone number?”

I arrived in Baghdad on April 12th of that year, a few days after Saddam’s statue at Firdos Square had been destroyed. There were a couple of weeks of uncertainty as reporters and Iraqis tried to gauge who was in charge of the country and what the general plan was. There was no electricity, no police, no phones, no courts, no schools. More than half of Iraqis worked for the government, and there was no government, no Army, and so no salaries for most of the country. At first, it seemed possible that the Americans simply needed a bit of time to communicate the new rules. By the end of April, though, it was clear: there was no plan, no new order. Iraq was anarchic.

We journalists were able to use generators and satellite dishes to access outside information, and what we saw was absurd. Americans seemed convinced things were going well in Iraq. The war—and the President who launched it—were seen favorably by seventy per cent of Americans. Then came these pictures of a President touting “Mission Accomplished”—the choice of words that President Trump used in a tweet on Saturday, the morning after he ordered an air strike on Syria. On the ground, we were not prophets or political geniuses. We were sentient adults who were able to see the clear, obvious truth in front of us. The path of Iraq would be decided by those who thrived in chaos.

I had a similar feeling in December, 2007. I came late to the financial crisis. I had spent much of 2006 and 2007 naïvely swatting away warnings from my friends and sources who told me of impending disaster. Finally, I decided to take a deep look at collateralized debt obligations, or C.D.O.s, those financial instruments that would soon be known as toxic assets. I read technical books, talked to countless experts, and soon learned that these were, in Warren Buffett’s famous phrase, weapons of financial mass destruction. They were engineered in such a way that they could exponentially increase profits but would, also, exponentially increase losses. Worse, they were too complex to be fully understood. It was impossible, even with all the information, to figure out what they were worth once they began to fail. Because these C.D.O.s had come to form the core value of most major banks’ assets, no major bank had clear value. With that understanding, the path was clear. Eventually, people would realize that the essential structure of our financial system was about to implode. Yet many political figures and TV pundits were happily touting the end of a crisis. (Larry Kudlow, now Trump’s chief economic adviser, led the charge of ignorance.)

In Iraq and with the financial crisis, it was helpful, as a reporter, to be able to divide the world into those who actually understand what was happening and those who said hopeful nonsense. The path of both crises turned out to be far worse than I had imagined.

I thought of those earlier experiences this week as I began to feel a familiar clarity about what will unfold next in the Trump Presidency. There are lots of details and surprises to come, but the endgame of this Presidency seems as clear now as those of Iraq and the financial crisis did months before they unfolded. Last week, federal investigators raided the offices of Michael Cohen, the man who has been closer than anybody to Trump’s most problematic business and personal relationships. This week, we learned that Cohen has been under criminal investigation for months—his e-mails have been read, presumably his phones have been tapped, and his meetings have been monitored. Trump has long declared a red line: Robert Mueller must not investigate his businesses, and must only look at any possible collusion with Russia. That red line is now crossed and, for Trump, in the most troubling of ways. Even if he were to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and then had Mueller and his investigation put on ice, and even if—as is disturbingly possible—Congress did nothing, the Cohen prosecution would continue. Even if Trump pardons Cohen, the information the Feds have on him can become the basis for charges against others in the Trump Organization.

This is the week we know, with increasing certainty, that we are entering the last phase of the Trump Presidency. This doesn’t feel like a prophecy; it feels like a simple statement of the apparent truth. I know dozens of reporters and other investigators who have studied Donald Trump and his business and political ties. Some have been skeptical of the idea that President Trump himself knowingly colluded with Russian officials. It seems not at all Trumpian to participate in a complex plan with a long-term, uncertain payoff. Collusion is an imprecise word, but it does seem close to certain that his son Donald, Jr., and several people who worked for him colluded with people close to the Kremlin; it is up to prosecutors and then the courts to figure out if this was illegal or merely deceitful. We may have a hard time finding out what President Trump himself knew and approved.

However, I am unaware of anybody who has taken a serious look at Trump’s business who doesn’t believe that there is a high likelihood of rampant criminality. In Azerbaijan, he did business with a likely money launderer for Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. In the Republic of Georgia, he partnered with a group that was being investigated for a possible role in the largest known bank-fraud and money-laundering case in history. In Indonesia, his development partner is “knee-deep in dirty politics”; there are criminal investigations of his deals in Brazil; the F.B.I. is reportedly looking into his daughter Ivanka’s role in the Trump hotel in Vancouver, for which she worked with a Malaysian family that has admitted to financial fraud. Back home, Donald, Jr., and Ivanka were investigated for financial crimes associated with the Trump hotel in SoHo—an investigation that was halted suspiciously. His Taj Mahal casino received what was then the largest fine in history for money-laundering violations.

Listing all the financial misconduct can be overwhelming and tedious. I have limited myself to some of the deals over the past decade, thus ignoring Trump’s long history of links to New York Mafia figures and other financial irregularities. It has become commonplace to say that enough was known about Trump’s shady business before he was elected; his followers voted for him precisely because they liked that he was someone willing to do whatever it takes to succeed, and they also believe that all rich businesspeople have to do shady things from time to time. In this way of thinking, any new information about his corrupt past has no political salience. Those who hate Trump already think he’s a crook; those who love him don’t care.

I believe this assessment is wrong. Sure, many people have a vague sense of Trump’s shadiness, but once the full details are better known and digested, a fundamentally different narrative about Trump will become commonplace. Remember: we knew a lot about problems in Iraq in May, 2003. Americans saw TV footage of looting and heard reports of U.S. forces struggling to gain control of the entire country. We had plenty of reporting, throughout 2007, about various minor financial problems. Somehow, though, these specific details failed to impress upon most Americans the over-all picture. It took a long time for the nation to accept that these were not minor aberrations but, rather, signs of fundamental crisis. Sadly, things had to get much worse before Americans came to see that our occupation of Iraq was disastrous and, a few years later, that our financial system was in tatters.

The narrative that will become widely understood is that Donald Trump did not sit atop a global empire. He was not an intuitive genius and tough guy who created billions of dollars of wealth through fearlessness. He had a small, sad operation, mostly run by his two oldest children and Michael Cohen, a lousy lawyer who barely keeps up the pretenses of lawyering and who now faces an avalanche of charges, from taxicab-backed bank fraud to money laundering and campaign-finance violations.

Cohen, Donald, Jr., and Ivanka monetized their willingness to sign contracts with people rejected by all sensible partners. Even in this, the Trump Organization left money on the table, taking a million dollars here, five million there, even though the service they provided—giving branding legitimacy to blatantly sketchy projects—was worth far more. It was not a company that built value over decades, accumulating assets and leveraging wealth. It burned through whatever good will and brand value it established as quickly as possible, then moved on to the next scheme.

There are important legal questions that remain. How much did Donald Trump and his children know about the criminality of their partners? How explicit were they in agreeing to put a shiny gold brand on top of corrupt deals? The answers to these questions will play a role in determining whether they go to jail and, if so, for how long.

There is no longer one major investigation into Donald Trump, focussed solely on collusion with Russia. There are now at least two, including a thorough review of Cohen’s correspondence. The information in his office and hotel room will likely make clear precisely how much the Trump family knew. What we already know is disturbing, and it is hard to imagine that the information prosecutors will soon learn will do anything but worsen the picture.

Of course Trump is raging and furious and terrified. Prosecutors are now looking at his core. Cohen was the key intermediary between the Trump family and its partners around the world; he was chief consigliere and dealmaker throughout its period of expansion into global partnerships with sketchy oligarchs. He wasn’t a slick politico who showed up for a few months. He knows everything, he recorded much of it, and now prosecutors will know it, too. It seems inevitable that much will be made public. We don’t know when. We don’t know the precise path the next few months will take. There will be resistance and denial and counterattacks. But it seems likely that, when we look back on this week, we will see it as a turning point. We are now in the end stages of the Trump Presidency.
https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-des ... presidency

Polly Sigh

Former Russian Spy Worked On Trump Moscow Deal While Trump Ran For POTUS: Felix Sater contacted an 'ex' Russian GRU officer in 2015 who helped him & Michael Cohen seek financing from sanctioned VTB Bank & GenBank for the Moscow Trump Tower deal.

A Former Russian Spy Worked On A Trump Moscow Deal During The Presidential Campaign

While Trump was running for president, his business team was trying to develop a Trump tower in Moscow — with the help of a former Russian military intelligence officer. But in a twist, that former officer also provided intelligence to the US.

April 13, 2018, at 4:14 p.m.

A former Russian spy helped Donald Trump’s business team seek financing for a Trump-branded tower in the heart of Moscow during the 2016 presidential campaign, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

This connection between Trump and Russian intelligence — made public here for the first time — is known to special counsel Robert Mueller’s team and raises fresh questions about the president’s connections to the Kremlin. The former agent, who had served in Russia’s military intelligence arm known as the GRU and later worked as an arms dealer, negotiated for financing from a Russian state-owned bank that was under US sanctions at the time.

But there is a twist: The former Russian spy also helped pass intelligence to the United States government on key national security matters, including al-Qaeda’s weapons caches and North Korea’s attempts to develop nuclear weapons. BuzzFeed News is not naming the Russian agent because two US intelligence officials said that doing so would endanger his life.

The Trump Moscow Project

Plans to build a Trump tower in Moscow were underway in late 2015 and early 2016, while Trump was running for president. A key player in the effort was Felix Sater, who had worked with Trump on real estate deals around the world.

In November 2015, Sater emailed Trump’s longtime personal attorney, Michael Cohen, famously saying in one message that he would “get all of Putin’s team to buy in” on the Trump tower deal, and boasting that he could get Putin to publicly praise the Republican candidate during the campaign. There is no evidence that Sater delivered on those promises. Sater previously told BuzzFeed News that his emails amounted to salesmanship, and the whole Trump Moscow project ultimately fizzled.

But a later message from Sater to Cohen, sent in early 2016, mentions a contact in Russia who could help facilitate the deal. That individual is a former colonel with Russia’s military intelligence, the two sources told BuzzFeed News. He did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Cohen also did not immediately respond to requests for comment sent through his attorney. Sater told BuzzFeed News, “I will not comment on anything related to ongoing investigations.”

Got a tip? You can email tips@buzzfeed.com. To learn how to reach us securely, go to tips.buzzfeed.com.
Sater contacted the former GRU officer in 2015 to help arrange financing. In Russia, where the president himself is a former KGB officer, it isn’t unusual for companies to work with former intelligence officers, who often retain key connections. To Sater, the former agent mentioned two banks: GenBank and VTB Bank. State-owned VTB was one of the top financial institutions in Russia for real estate projects at the time, but it was also on the US Treasury Department’s sanctions list. The former Russian agent told Sater that he could get financing through VTB Bank, but it is unclear how far negotiations may have progressed.

“VTB never held any negotiations on any matter relating to the construction of the Trump Tower," a VTB spokesperson said in a statement to BuzzFeed News. "We’d like to stress that no VTB group subsidiary ever had any dealings with Mr. Trump, his representatives or any companies affiliated with him.”

GenBank did not immediately respond to a request for comment; it could not be determined how far talks went with that bank.

Sater hoped to push the deal forward by attending the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum with Cohen in June 2016. Considered the most important economic gathering in Russia, the forum is regularly attended by business executives and top politicians, including President Vladimir Putin. The former Russian intelligence officer helped arrange an invitation to the conference for both Sater and Cohen, the sources said.

But neither Cohen nor Sater attended. Sources said Cohen canceled at the last minute and put the Moscow deal on hold until after the Republican National Convention. After Trump won the presidential election, the Trump Organization announced it would no longer be working on international deals, and Sater stopped working on the project.

Last year, after Sater, Cohen, and the Trump Organization turned over emails and documents to congressional and special counsel investigators, details leaked about the Trump Moscow deal and the attempt to get VTB to finance it.

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team questioned Sater extensively about the officer and his role in the deal, as did House and Senate Intelligence Committee investigators, sources said. Spokespeople for the Senate Intelligence Committee declined to comment. Spokespeople for the House Intelligence Committee and the special counsel’s office did not respond to requests for comment.

BuzzFeed News has independently confirmed with three former US intelligence officials that the man worked as a GRU officer — but also that he had been a source of important intelligence for the US.

Again, Sater was the link. Sater first met the former intelligence officer in 1997 in Moscow, and the officer in turn introduced him to Milton Blane, an American arms dealer who held contracts with the US Defense Intelligence Agency. Blane, who died last year, recruited Sater to work as a confidential source for the US government. Code-named the Quarterback, Sater served for decades as a source for US law enforcement and intelligence agencies, and he continues to do so.

Information that the former Russian spy passed to Sater included details about Russian military technology, the satellite phone numbers of Osama bin Laden, the locations of al-Qaeda weapons depots and training camps, and photographs of a North Korean military official purchasing nuclear materials.

Another alleged former GRU military officer has recently been in the news, as a business associate of Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort. The Washington Post has reported that a description in court documents matches Konstantin Kilimnik, who worked with Manafort in Ukraine. Kilimnik, whose spokesperson has denied that he was ever in Russian intelligence, is not the former GRU officer who worked on the Trump Moscow project.
https://www.buzzfeed.com/jasonleopold/d ... .xd07Lq0Gm
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Re: Michael Cohen

Postby seemslikeadream » Sun Apr 15, 2018 10:04 pm

Man pictured with Michael Cohen group accused of racist threat in 1998

Black parking attendant alleged that Jerry Rotonda repeatedly used racial slurs and threatened to hit her for giving him a $20 ticket

Jon SwaineSun 15 Apr 2018 21.04 EDT
One of the men photographed smoking cigars around Donald Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen in New York last week was once accused of racially abusing and threatening to run over a black parking attendant.

Jerry Rotonda, a Deutsche Bank executive, was charged with violating the civil rights of Shirlene Pierce after she placed a $20 ticket on his Audi for an expired meter in Boston in December 1998.

Rotonda, 50, was pictured on the outskirts of a gathering Cohen held outside the Loews Regency hotel on Manhattan’s upper East side on Friday, while Cohen’s attorneys were in court trying to seal documents seized from him by the FBI.

Pierce alleged to police that Rotonda, then 31, used racial slurs, threatened to hit her, and concluded his rant by saying: “I hope I see you crossing the street so I can run your n----- ass over,” according to press reports from the court case.

Rotonda was accused by Pierce of calling her “a stupid n-----,” saying “I’ll slap that stupid n----- grin off your face,” and telling her: “Don’t come to Kenmore Square where decent people live, city n----- scum. Go back to Dorchester where monkey n------ live.”

Pierce was reported to have said later in a victim impact statement: “What was even more frightening was that through his words, I could sense he was ready to harm me and that there would be no remorse on his part for doing so.”
Jerry Rotonda (back left), with Michael Cohen (center)
Jerry Rotonda (back left), with Michael Cohen (center) Photograph: Yana Paskova/Getty Images
Photographs and video clips of Cohen and a group of other men laughing and smoking cigars spread quickly through the media on Friday. About six miles to the south, Cohen’s lawyers argued that prosecutors should not be allowed to view records relating to his representation of clients such as Donald Trump.

Rotonda’s LinkedIn page states that he is the chief financial officer of Deutsche Bank’s American wealth management division. Kerrie McHugh, a spokeswoman for Deutsche Bank, said in an email: “We will decline comment.”

A call on Sunday to a cellphone registered to Rotonda was not answered and the voicemail box was full. A text message seeking comment sent to that number was not returned. A woman who answered a cellphone registered to Rotonda’s partner said she was not available. An email to Rotonda’s Deutsche Bank address was opened but not returned.

In 1999, Judge Edward Redd of Roxbury District Court found there “was a sufficient basis to find [Rotonda] guilty” in the civil rights case, according to court records, but accepted a request from Rotonda “to continue the case for one year without a finding” of guilt officially.

The judge said that Rotonda should receive “unsupervised probation” for one year, must have no contact with Pierce, must publicly apologise to her in front of her colleagues, and must make a payment of $5,000 to her.

Prosecutors in Boston were angry at the judge’s decision and appealed to the state’s supreme judicial court, which found that the order to make Rotonda pay Pierce money was not lawful. But when it sent the case back to the lower court, Redd closed the case, issued no punishment against Rotonda, and even ordered Pierce to return his $5,000.

The Massachusetts attorney general’s office later obtained a civil injunction against Rotonda, after filing a civil rights lawsuit against him over the Pierce incident. The injunction prohibited him from threatening, intimidating, harassing or assaulting anyone based on their race.

According to public records, Rotonda owns an apartment in the Trump World Tower in midtown Manhattan. Cohen and his wife, Laura, owned an apartment in the same building until October last year, when they sold it for $3.3m. Cohen’s in-laws own four apartments in the building.

He recently started a new Manhattan real estate company with Rotem Rosen, an Israeli-American developer whose late father-in-law Tamir Sapir was involved in the development of the Trump Soho hotel in Manhattan.

Rosen appeared to be one of the other men present outside the Loews Regency on Friday. He could not be reached for comment.
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/201 ... are_btn_tw


Report: Cohen Killed Donald Trump Jr.–Aubrey O’Day Affair Story

President Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen reportedly killed a 2013 Us Weekly story alleging that Donald Trump Jr. had an affair with a Celebrity Apprentice contestant and Danity Kane member Aubrey O’Day, according to the Wall Street Journal. When the magazine called the Trump Organization for comment on the story, Cohen allegedly called back and threatened legal action. “We were all on speakerphone and huddled around the phone,” a source told the newspaper. “He was just one of these New York characters where he was just like swearing at us and totally over-the-top threatening.” The magazine then dropped the story after determining that it was not worth the legal fight, and wanting to maintain a “good working relationship” with President Trump on Apprentice-related stories. The Journal also reported that Cohen paid both Stormy Daniels and former RNC Deputy Finance Chair Elliott Broidy's “Playboy Playmate” mistress using the same Delaware-based limited-liability company. Both women had to sign non-disclosure agreements on their respective alleged affairs in exchange for the payout.
https://www.thedailybeast.com/report-co ... fair-story

Trump Lawyer Michael Cohen Used the Same Delaware Company for Payment Deals to Two Women
Federal probe looks closely at money flowing in and out of Essential Consultants
Michael Cohen is under investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller’s office and the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office.

By Michael Rothfeld, Erica Orden and Joe Palazzolo

Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, used the same Delaware limited-liability company in two secret deals relating to alleged sexual encounters involving his clients, according to people familiar with the matter.

Venture capitalist Elliott Broidy paid an initial installment of $62,500 to the company, Essential Consultants LLC, as part of Mr. Cohen’s $250,000 total fee for negotiating a nondisclosure agreement related to Mr. Broidy’s affair with a former Playboy model who alleged he had impregnated her, a person familiar with the matter said.

Federal prosecutors are examining money flowing in and out of Essential Consultants as part of a broad investigation into Mr. Cohen’s activities to silence women with allegations against Mr. Trump or those in his orbit, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Wall Street Journal first reported the $1.6 million agreement between Mr. Broidy—the Republican National Committee’s deputy finance chairman with ties to Mr. Trump—and the model on Friday. Mr. Broidy later resigned his RNC post.

Mr. Cohen also used Essential Consultants to pay $130,000 to former adult-film actress Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels, so she wouldn’t discuss an alleged sexual encounter with Mr. Trump; the payment was made 12 days before the presidential election.

Mr. Broidy paid the remaining fee installments totaling $187,500 directly to Mr. Cohen after the Journal revealed in January that the Clifford payment was made through Essential Consultants, the person said.

Mr. Cohen and his lawyers didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The monthslong criminal investigation stemmed partly from “suspicious activity reports” filed by banks, including one that included details of Mr. Cohen’s payment to Ms. Clifford, people familiar with the matter said.

FBI agents searched the office, home and hotel room of Mr. Cohen last Monday, seeking records of such payments, among other things. The searches were executed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as part of a grand-jury investigation by the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan, which received a referral for the probe by the office of special counsel Robert Mueller, according to court documents.

On Friday, the government said in a legal filing: “Given that the crimes being investigated involve acts of concealment by Cohen, the USAO-SDNY sought and obtained a search warrant—rather than using a subpoena—so that it would not have ... to rely on Cohen to accurately make such a production.”

The Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office is examining whether Mr. Cohen committed bank fraud by, among other things, taking out a home-equity credit line to pay for the Clifford agreement, a person familiar with the matter said.

A spokeswoman for the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office declined to comment.

Separately, Mr. Cohen succeeded around 2013 in killing a story Us Weekly was preparing about an alleged affair between Donald Trump Jr., who had been a judge a year earlier on the television show, “Celebrity Apprentice,” and one of the contestants, Aubrey O’Day, a member of the singing duo Dumblonde, according to people familiar with the matter.

Mr. Cohen transferred the payment to an attorney for Ms. Clifford from an Essential Consultants account at First Republic Bank , according to people familiar with the matter. He has said the funds came from his home-equity line at the same bank.

Investigators are examining whether Mr. Cohen fraudulently used a bank loan for something other than the purpose he described on his loan application, the person said.

The Journal previously reported that First Republic Bank, which Mr. Cohen used to wire the payment to Ms. Clifford’s lawyer in October 2016, conducted its own investigation into the transaction after receiving a subpoena from federal authorities, according to another person familiar with the matter.

First Republic sent its findings to the Treasury Department in a so-called SAR, or suspicious-activity report, the person said. Such reports are required to be sent to the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network when banks observe transactions that have no apparent lawful purpose or deviate inexplicably from a customer’s normal bank activity.

First Republic Bank declined to comment.

Part of the investigation into Mr. Cohen involves payments made by American Media Inc., publisher of the National Enquirer, and its officials including Chairman and Chief Executive David Pecker, a person familiar with the matter said.

Mr. Cohen communicated with Mr. Pecker and AMI’s chief content officer, Dylan Howard, during the course of negotiations for AMI to pay another Playboy model, Karen McDougal, to sell her story of an alleged 2006 affair with Mr. Trump to the National Enquirer, a person familiar with the matter said.

The Journal first revealed in November 2016 that AMI paid $150,000 to Ms. McDougal for her exclusive story of the alleged affair, which it then didn’t publish, a tactic known in the tabloid world as “catch and kill.”

Ms. McDougal filed suit last month seeking to extricate herself from that contract.

A spokesman for AMI said neither Mr. Cohen nor Mr. Trump influenced the company’s editorial decisions. “It is standard practice...to make inquiries of people who might be subjects of a story through their spokesperson,” the spokesman said.

According to the people involved in the US Weekly matter, the magazine then owned by Wenner Media had what staffers believed to be a solid source on the alleged affair and called the Trump Organization for comment. They received a call back from Mr. Cohen, who threatened legal action and became so irate that they muted the call while he spoke, one of these people said.

“We were all on speakerphone and huddled around the phone,” this person said. “He was just one of these New York characters where he was just like swearing at us and totally over-the-top threatening.”

The magazine’s staff didn’t believe it was a big story that would be worth a legal fight and had a good working relationship with the elder Mr. Trump on stories related to the TV show “The Apprentice,” so they dropped the story.

The story of the alleged affair was reported in entertainment media last month when Donald Trump Jr.’s wife filed for divorce; Mr. Cohen’s involvement in the Us Weekly story hasn’t previously been reported.
https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-lawy ... 1523835216
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Re: Michael Cohen

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Apr 16, 2018 9:09 am

Under Siege, Michael Cohen Is Vacillating Between a New Level of Exasperation and Trumpian Business-As-Usual
Cohen has been dismayed by the silence from Trump's inner-circle in Washington. One person familiar with his thinking said that he’s gotten messages from thousands of people since last Monday, but “it’s been a ghost town from D.C.”—other than from the president.

APRIL 15, 2018 11:22 PM

Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's personal attorney, chats with friends near the Loews Regency hotel on Park Ave on Friday.
By Yana Paskova/Getty Images.
The most vexing week of Michael Cohen’s career ended as bizarrely as it began. On Monday, a team of federal agents had obtained search warrants for Cohen’s home and office, following a referral from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office, as part of the U.S. attorney’s office’s months-long criminal conduct investigation. A dozen F.B.I. agents subsequently raided Cohen’s hotel room at The Regency—his apartment is undergoing construction—where they literally snatched his cell phone from his hand. Simultaneously, approximately two dozen other agents took business records, documents, computers, and electronic devices from his law office and apartment, seizing two cellphones, a tablet, a laptop and safe deposit box. They walked away with documents dating back years, potentially including those related to payoffs made to women alleging that they had affairs with Cohen’s longtime client, Donald Trump, during his presidential campaign. Investigators reportedly sought files related to the adult film star Stephanie Clifford, whom Cohen paid $130,000 to suppress an alleged sexual encounter with the president. (The president has denied the relationship.).

Cohen’s lawyer has called the raid “completely inappropriate and unnecessary”—an overreach beyond the law. Cohen, however, seemed notably demure. On Tuesday evening, a throng of photographers waited for him outside La Goulue, the newly re-opened old-timey French staple on East 63rd Street. The photographers trailed him as he strolled the three-or-so blocks back to the Regency, tripping over one another and spilling into the street. “I don’t want anyone to fall and hurt yourself,” Cohen said. “I’m not running anywhere. If you want me to stop so you guys can get in position and get your shot, I’ll stop.” So he did. He counted to three—“1 … 2 … 3 ...” so that they could take their photos before he resumed walking.

The next day, Cohen went to lunch at Fred’s, the watering hole atop Barney’s, where one diner told me several people approached his table to check in on him. The following night, he had dinner at Le Bilboquet, where another diner told me he mostly typed away on his phone and quietly sipped his drink. Cohen stopped at tables and waved to patrons on his way out—where, again, photographers awaited. This time, though, it seemed that fellow diners were less cordial. “He was definitely trying to work the room, but it didn’t work back.” Cohen eventually found a more hospitable crowd on Friday afternoon outside the Regency, holding a cigar with a quorum of coiffed well-wishers who looked perfectly at home as extras in this plot.

Further downtown, however, Judge Kimba Wood was asking Cohen’s attorney, Todd Harrison, the whereabouts of his client. Wood, the Senior United States District Judge for Manhattan’s Southern District, was herself no stranger to the harsh glare of the media. In 1993, her chances of an appointment as U.S. Attorney General were famously dashed by reports that she had hired an undocumented worker to look after her child. In front of a rollicking court room in lower Manhattan, which included three rows of press personnel—so crowded, in fact, that folding chairs were brought in—Wood adjourned a hearing over whether she would grant the temporary restraining order (T.R.O.) that Cohen’s legal team had asked for that, for now, would effectively block prosecutors from reading the seized files. Harrison argued that the thousands of documents were protected by attorney-client privilege, and that Cohen or an independent lawyer should be allowed to review them first, rather than a so-called “filter team” of impartial government prosecutors. Judge Wood had asked Harrison to provide her with a list of Cohen’s clients to help substantiate the claims made in his request, but Harrison could not offer an accurate estimate and asked for more time. Prosecutors, meanwhile, argued that their investigation focused on his business dealings, not his legal work, and that Cohen, who is often referred to a Trump's “fixer,” was “performing little to no legal work,” and had exchanged zero e-mails with his famous client.

Meanwhile, Joanna Hendon, a lawyer hired by Trump two days earlier, addressed the court on her new client’s behalf. She asked Judge Wood for more time, too, arguing that she needed to get up to speed. “Those searches have been executed, and the evidence is locked down,” Hendon, said in court. “I’m not trying to delay,” she continued, “I’m just trying to ensure that it’s done scrupulously.” Her client, who she punctiliously noted was the President of the United States, had an acute interest in these proceedings. “Ultimately,” she said, “this is of most concern to him.” As the session adjourned, Judge Wood granted Harrison until Monday to come up with a client list and ordered him to appear alongside Cohen for another hearing on Monday.

Cohen’s week ahead may simply prove more agonizing. The raids on his residences and office have since become the biggest story in the media—outshining, somehow, the administration’s Syrian air strike on Friday night, and James Comey’s media tour. Trump’s own interest in the affair escalated throughout the week, in typically Chernobylesque fashion. On Monday afternoon, directly following news of the raids, Trump called it a “disgraceful situation” during a meeting with military commanders ostensibly about how to handle the Syria quagmire. By Friday, The New York Times reported that Trump had called Cohen to check in. That evening, McClatchy issued a report suggesting that Mueller had evidence that Cohen had been in Prague in the summer of 2016, as noted in the unverified Steele Dossier. (Cohen subsequently denied this.) The Times also reported that Trump now feared the Cohen Inquiry as a greater threat than the Mueller probe, itself.

As much as the raid has spooked President Trump, and in contrast to the breezy, cigar-smoking images portrayed, it has also weighed heavily on Cohen. In the days since the raid, according to two people familiar with his thinking, Cohen has grappled with the seriousness of his legal situation, and the impact it has had on his family, and the fallout that may follow in the weeks, months, and perhaps years to come. These people explained that Cohen feels as though he is a means to an end—as “collateral damage,” and a “disposable” element being used to get to his old boss.

Cohen, according to these people, has vacillated between this new level of exasperation and his typical Trumpian chest beating manner. He has suggested to people close to him that perhaps he should act as his own attorney, because he may be the most apt person to defend himself. He has expressed anger at the lack of outrage over the fact that his legal office and private residences were searched when he says he was willing to cooperate with any subpoenas. “Where is the A.C.L.U?” he has said; at times, he has jokingly asked whether there is going to be a “Million Michael March”—a reference to the renowned 1995 African-American display of unity—to retrieve his documents. Cohen, according to these people, has also been dismayed by the silence from Trump’s inner-circle in Washington, many of whom he expected would have his back. One person familiar with his thinking said that he’s gotten messages from thousands of people since last Monday, but “it’s been a ghost town from D.C.,” other than from the president.

Whatever relative calm Cohen was hanging onto at Fred’s or outside the Regency will be harder to muster come Monday afternoon. Cohen is due to present the court with a client list in order for Judge Wood to determine whether she will grant him the temporary restraining order. He will also face what seems like a deliberate test of his will in the form of Stormy Daniels, who is expected to be in attendance. On Sunday, her attorney, Michael Avenatti said on CNN that he got “comfortable with the security plan last night for my client” and that she plans to attend the hearing. “I think Monday afternoon could prove to be very interesting,” he said. (On Friday, the three rows of press erupted into whispers when Avenatti walked into court. “What is he doing here?” one reporter asked. “How many times is he going to be on T.V. after this one?” another joked. Avenatti addressed the court twice—first, asking to be heard because the information impacted his client, and second, to offer his insight on a matter prosecutors and Cohen’s attorneys were debating. He gave a statement to T.V. cameras outside afterward.)

Withstanding the hearing is only the beginning of what could be an ugly legal situation for Cohen. No charges have been filed against him, but prosecutors asserted that he is under criminal investigation. Cohen, who professes a devout fealty to his boss, has spent more than a decade working alongside the Trumps, devoting his professional life to protecting them. He may now be in a position where he could be forced to choose between continuing that line of defense, or putting himself and his own family first. In my interviews with Cohen, he has always stated plainly, repeatedly, and in a Godfather-esque lingua franca, how unfailingly loyal he is to the president and to the Trump family. Over the summer, Cohen told me that he would take a bullet for Trump. In February, as the Stormy Daniels controversy heated up, he told me that he would do it again today for Trump and again for him tomorrow. “No question,” he said. Last month, he told me that it was his job to protect his client—his friend—and the Trump family.
https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2018/04 ... -cohen/amp


April 16, 2018/0 Comments/in 2016 Presidential Election, emptywheel, Financial Fraud, Mueller Probe /by empty wheel

At 2PM today, in a court room in southern Manhattan, a lawyer someone hired last Wednesday to represent Donald Trump, Joanna Hendon, will push prosecutors from the Southern District of New York to explain that they have probable cause to believe crimes involving the president have been committed. Here’s why.

Last Monday, the FBI served Michael Cohen warrants listing crimes known to pertain to his taxi medallion businesses and his efforts to suppress information about Trump’s embarrassing sexual behavior, though the warrants themselves probably listed bank fraud, wire fraud, and campaign finance violations as the crimes. “[T]he riders to the search warrants – copies of which have been provided to Cohen – identify the federal criminal statutes under which Cohen is being investigated,” the government emphasized in its memo.

The taxi medallion stuff has no know tie to Trump. The hush arrangements clearly do, but at least in the case of Stormy Daniels, Trump and Cohen have both publicly denied an attorney-client role, which the government pointed out. “President Trump has publicly denied knowing that Cohen paid Clifford, and suggested to reporters that they had to ‘ask Michael’ about the payment.” It’s certainly possible Cohen has claimed to have firewalled Trump in other hush payments in the same effort to avoid campaign finance violations; to the extent that Trump has not been a formal party in those agreements, he may have likewise waived privilege.

And then there’s the crime-fraud exception to privilege, which the government invokes four times in its response to Cohen, describing how an investigative team can legally access such materials without approval from Cohen or his client if a judge okays it.

[T]he Filter Team will review them to determine whether the material is: (1) not privileged, (2) potentially privileged, (3) requires redaction, and/or (4) potentially meets an applicable exception (for example, the crime-fraud exception). To be clear, under no circumstances will a potentially privileged document or a document potentially subject to the crime-fraud exception be provided to or described to the Investigative Team without the consent of the privilege holder or his/her counsel, or the court’s approval. If the Filter Team is unable to clarify a document’s category, or if there is an exception to the privilege that applies to particular material, such as the crime-fraud exception, or any waiver of the privilege – the Filter Team will (1) confer with counsel for the privilege holder at the appropriate time and before any such material is shared with the Investigative Team and, if no agreement can be reached, submit the material under seal to an appropriate court for a determination as to whether the material is privileged;


In the face of inaccurate and/or overbroad claims of privilege, the USAO-SDNY would be seriously prejudiced if it were not able, through a Filter Team, to evaluate the validity of such claims. As Judge Barbara Jones explained in permitting review by a filter team, “[w]ithout the benefit of such a review, the privilege team would likely be unable to argue, for example, that no attorney-client privilege attached to the communication because of the crime-fraud exception, or that a document should be available for use at trial, regardless of work-product contents, because of necessity and unavailability by other means.” [my emphasis]

Even though the FBI informed Cohen he was raided as the subject of an investigation pertaining to his own business, he fought the memo by invoking the part of the US Attorney’s Manual pertaining to witnesses, not subjects, which SDNY corrected.

Cohen’s reliance on the USAM misplaced, but he invokes the wrong section. Cohen cites to section 9-19.220 of the USAM, which, as Cohen points out, applies to “attorneys who are not suspects” of a criminal investigations. See Br. at 22; USAM § 9-19.220 (noting the procedure to be followed when privileged materials are sought from a “disinterested third party”). Cohen, however, is not the disinterested third party contemplated by the USAM. The applicable provision is that which applies when the attorney is a “suspect, subject or target” of the investigation.

And even though he was told he was being investigated for crimes unrelated to it, his lawyers nevertheless treated the raid as part of the Mueller investigation. Their description of communications with SDNY, for example, begins this way, followed by several redacted lines.

On April 9, 2018, Mr. Cohen’s legal counsel was advised in a telephone call by an Assistant United States Attorney from the Southern District of New York, that the Office of Special Counsel (Robert Mueller) had “referred a portion of” the subject matter of the warrants to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. Id. ¶ 31. Each page of the attachments to the search warrants contains a footer with the date “2017.08.02” (August 2, 2017)—that happens to be the same date that the Office of Special Counsel’s jurisdiction was amended by the Deputy Attorney General. One obvious and credible explanation is that the attachments listing the subject matter of the warrant used by the U.S. Attorney’s Office were drafted by the Office of Special Counsel as earlier as that date. [three lines redacted]

The government, in addition to mocking Cohen’s assumption based off the footer metadata, reveals what that redaction hides: Cohen speculated, “see Br. at 10, that the SCO drafted the search warrants.”

Nevertheless, both sides treat Cohen’s attempt to treat this as a question of the Russia investigation seriously. The government provides three pieces of evidence to describe why Cohen couldn’t be trusted to turn these materials over pursuant to a subpoena — because the crimes themselves involve fraud and deception, because he had, by Friday, already invoked the Fifth in the Stormy Daniels civil suit suggesting he’d withhold documents here as well, and because a tantalizingly redacted passage that suggests Cohen or someone else has already started destroying evidence…


In addition, however, the government does contest Cohen’s claim that he fully cooperated with any of the three Russia investigation his lawyer addresses at length in his declaration, which (having treated this raid as part of the Mueller investigation rather than pertaining to separate crimes) he uses to argue that Cohen could be trusted to turn over documents willingly. For example, the government notes that Cohen himself has said he didn’t cooperate with the Congressional investigations (and wasn’t treated as a target).

It appears that Cohen was not a target of those investigations. Additionally, while Cohen claims in his motion to have been cooperative, he offers no support for this assertion. Publicly, Cohen suggested the opposite, telling Time Magazine that he declined a voluntary request from Congress because it was “too broad.”

Even better, and critically important to the Trump filing submitted last night, is where SDNY fact checks the Cohen claim, backed by his lawyer’s sworn declaration, that he hadn’t fully cooperated with Mueller’s investigation because Mueller asked for everything.

Cohen also states that the SCO “had requested that the Trump Organization produce all of Mr. Cohen’s communications that were within the Trump Organization’s custody, possession, or control,” and that Cohen objected “on the grounds that [the request] called for production of privileged communications, among other things.” (Br. 8-9). Although in the ordinary course, the USAO-SDNY would not comment on investigative requests or demands made to third parties, particularly those from a separate office undertaking its own, independent investigation, in light of the representations made by Cohen’s counsel, USAO-SDNY contacted the SCO about these representations and understands they are not accurate. In particular, the SCO did not request that the Trump Organization produce “all communications” by Cohen in the Trump Organization’s possession or control irrespective of subject matter or privilege. Indeed, the request made by the SCO was considerably narrower, and specifically omitted, among other things, any documents that were protected by privilege or of a purely personal nature. Cohen nonetheless objected to that request for documents and, after discussions between Cohen’s counsel and the SCO, the SCO decided not to seek production at that time. That Cohen sought to preclude the Trump Organization from producing these third party communications belies both (i) his general assertion of cooperation, and (ii) his stated principal interest in protecting attorney-client communications. Indeed, a careful review of Cohen’s motion papers reveals that he does not purport to have personally produced any documents to the SCO.

The intransigence pertaining to Cohen’s documents involving the Trump Organization continued over to last week’s response. While the Trump Organization (which I suspect is really who hired Hendon) did not request to be party to this fight, they did send SDNY a letter last week demanding that it return every document involving Cohen and the Trump Organization.

USAO-SDNY has already received correspondence from counsel for the Trump Organization (Cohen’s former employer), which referenced the searches conducted of Cohen’s premises and claimed:

We consider each and every communication by, between or amongst Mr. Cohen and the Trump Organization and each of its officers, directors and employees, to be subject to and protected by the attorney-client privilege and/or the work-product privilege.

As a reminder: in March, Mueller subpoenaed the Trump Organization for documents, including but not limited to Russia. That’s one reason, I suspect, that Cohen believes this raid is partly about supporting Mueller’s investigation (I wonder whether Trump Org is the entity that has started destroyed documents?). And that’s one reason, I suspect, that Cohen’s team made a bid to review the seized documents for responsiveness (they use the word 13 times in their filing) before SDNY’s taint team gets the documents.

That is, in addition to whatever other crimes Cohen has facilitated for the Trump Organization, he wants to make sure that the government can’t use materials seized in this raid to investigate other crimes, such as those Cohen might be suspected of in relation to the Mueller investigation.

Having failed to cooperate with both the congressional and Mueller investigations, which is one reason SDNY cites for having used a warrant rather than a subpoena, Cohen now wants to reset the clock so he can treat this raid as a subpoena rather than a warrant so he gets to decide what is responsive to the crimes he is being investigated for or even to the demands of the Russia investigation.

Frankly, to the extent that Mueller might use Cohen’s own crimes as an excuse to search his documents (which the FBI seems to have sorted, even to the level of describe specific checks on the search warrant returns) and his devices (which they seized) to find materials relating to the Russian investigation, I’m sympathetic to Cohen’s case. Sure, Mueller can and may already be working on obtaining warrants to search for materials he might use now that the devices are in the government’s possession. But given how advanced the Mueller investigation is, it seems the government should be expected to obtain separate probable cause warrants rather than rely on plain view doctrine to search for materials on Cohen’s devices relating to Russia.

All of which brings us to the letter Hendon submitted last night on behalf of Trump personally. Herndon actually goes several steps further than Cohen’s team did (while he asked to do the first review, he made a concerted case to appoint a Special Master to do it), asking that Cohen get copies of the seized materials, after which Cohen will decide what pertains to Trump, which Trump will then get to review to decide whether he will assert privilege, only after which SDNY will be permitted to object.

1. Enjoining the government from using a taint team to conduct an initial privilege review;

2. Directing the government to provide Mr. Cohen and his counsel with a copy of the materials seized from Mr. Cohen by the government on April 9, 2018;

3. Directing Mr. Cohen and his counsel, after the government provides Mr. Cohen and his counsel with a copy of the seized materials, to identify to the President all seized materials that relate to him in any way and to provide a copy of those materials to him and his counsel;

4. Directing the President and his counsel, after they review the materials provided by Mr. Cohen, to identify for the government’s taint team all materials over which the President asserts privilege;

5. Authorizing the government’s taint team to raise any objections to the President’s assertions of privilege with the Court; and

6. Prohibiting the government’s taint team from providing the Investigation Team with (a) any materials over which the President asserts a privilege without objection from the taint team, and (b) any materials that the Court rules are privileged over the taint team’s objection.

This effectively flips the process on its head, turning the seizure back into a subpoena situation. And while Herndon doesn’t make this as obvious as Cohen’s team did, they intend the Cohen and Trump reviews to include a review of responsiveness as well as privilege.

The level of protection provided to the privilege-holder in the familiar context of a grand jury subpoena duces tecum should be accorded to the President here. When a grand jury subpoena for documents is served, the recipient, with the advice of his counsel, reviews the documents in his possession and produces the responsive documents, with one critical exception: with notice to the government, the recipient withholds all responsive documents that he and his counsel conclude are subject to a privilege, identifying such documents in some fashion without disclosing the privileged contents, often by means of a privilege log. [my emphasis]

Curiously, Herndon doesn’t contest that the government has good reason to believe materials have gotten destroyed, but says that now that the government has obtained the documents, any risk of destruction is gone. Here’s the entirety of the section where Herndon addresses the government’s need to seize these documents.

Of course, here, the government chose not to serve a grand jury subpoena, but instead to execute search warrants on an attorney’s office, residences, and effects. The government asserts that this truly extraordinary measure was necessary to prevent the destruction of evidence. (Gov’t Opp. at 14.) But even if that is true, the exigency has dissipated entirely, as the seized materials are now in the government’s control, beyond any of the potential misuses of the materials that motivated the seizure in the first place. Therefore, the fact that the government seized privileged documents rather than subpoenaing them is now irrelevant – except for the profoundly important privilege issues that the government’s unilateral and peremptory action has raised.

The government insists that it is “entitled” to the seized materials. (Id. at 2, 19.) However, to the extent the government seized privileged information, it is not entitled to have that information, much less review it. See, e.g., von Bulow, 828 F.2d at 99 (recognizing the “urgent” “need for timely protection [from disclosure] … where the discovery sought is … blanketed by the absolute attorney-client privilege”). It simply cannot be the case that by acting in such an aggressive, intrusive, and unorthodox manner, the government has somehow created an entitlement on its own part to eliminate the President’s right to a full assertion of every privilege argument available to him. Indeed, if the Court were to endorse the use of a taint team under these circumstances, raids of law offices would likely become more commonplace, as they would permit the government to wrest from the privilege-holder the ability, in the first instance, to assert privilege over documents and rightfully withhold them.

The government has done what it has done, and it has thereby protected against every notional evil it could have articulated in favor of its action. It no longer has any cognizable interest in proceeding by any procedure other than that which is typically employed to ensure that the attorney-client privilege is fully protected.

Note what has fallen out of the discussion of exigency? The crime-fraud exception, which SDNY had made clear it expected to find ample evidence of.

Elsewhere, Herndon does mention SDNY’s expectations of finding materials that fall under the crime-fraud exception, but she suggests that a taint team cannot be trusted to access the documents first because it might provide the investigative team documents that are clearly not privileged, a non sequitur to the point of crime-fraud exception documents.

The government has assured the Court that “under no circumstances will a potentially privileged document or a document potentially subject to the crime-fraud exception be provided to or described to the Investigative Team without the consent of the privilege-holder or his/her counsel, or the court’s approval.” (Gov’t Opp. at 6.) Presumably the government intends by those words to comfort the Court, but the government simply cannot make that guarantee. See, e.g., Lek, 2018 WL 417596, at *1-3. As discussed above, under the government’s proposal, the taint team will turn over to the Investigative Team all materials that the taint team itself deems not privileged. If such materials contain any privileged information that the taint team failed to identify, the President’s privilege will be irremediably violated. The President, the public, and the government have a vital interest in ensuring the integrity of the privilege review process, and the taint team procedure is plainly inadequate to the task. [my emphasis]

Remarkably, Herndon suggests that the public (!!!) has an interest in letting criminal suspect Michael Cohen, who has already proven uncooperative with valid investigations, sort through his materials to decide whether the government should have documents that prove he abused his position as a lawyer to commit fraud on behalf of a client.

As the government has said, it’s not clear Cohen has any clients besides Donald Trump.

Which is why I suspect SDNY is going to provide details in court today of the crimes that it has probable cause to believe were committed. Because, in the face of an otherwise compelling claim that this is an exceptional case, what SDNY is investigating is still that Cohen served not to provide legal advice to Donald Trump, but to provide legal cover for fraud.

I have no idea what Kimba Wood will do in response (and I suspect SDNY will challenge the legal precedents Herndon has invoked).

But I suspect we’re going to hear a lot more about how SDNY has reason to believe that Michael Cohen hasn’t been serving as a lawyer for Trump, he has been serving as a fixer for him.

And Stormy Daniels will be looking on as evidence of that fact.
https://www.emptywheel.net/2018/04/16/s ... ent-today/

Michael Avenatti

Verified account

1h1 hour ago
As I read Mr. Trump's filing last night whereby he attempts to avoid having his own Justice Dept. review the documents seized in the raid, I could not help but draw parallels to the "Stennis Compromise" (below). And we all know how that ended...#basta

The Stennis Compromise was a legal maneuver attempted by U.S. President Richard Nixon on October 19, 1973, during the Watergate scandal.

The Compromise was offered by Nixon to Archibald Cox, the special prosecutor who was appointed by the Justice Department to investigate the events surrounding the Watergate break-in of June 17, 1972. It was made in response to a subpoena requesting, as evidence, copies of taped conversations which Nixon had made in the Oval Office.

After an initial refusal to comply on the grounds of executive privilege, Nixon offered to remit the tapes to a respected U.S. Senator, John C. Stennis, a Democrat from Mississippi. Sen. Stennis would listen to the tapes himself, then summarize the tapes for the special prosecutor's office.

The explanation was that Stennis would be sensitive to matters of national security contained within. However, Stennis was famously hard-of-hearing, therefore it is believed that President Nixon did not want the tapes entered into the public record, because they contained recordings of Nixon using coarse language and racial epithets, and – preeminently – implicating himself in the "cover-up" surrounding the Watergate break-in.

Cox refused the compromise that evening. Nixon's response was to have the special prosecutor fired the next day, in a chain of events later known as the "Saturday Night Massacre."[1][2]
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Re: Michael Cohen

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Apr 16, 2018 1:29 pm

Cohen Used Trump Email For Taxi Business Now Under Scrutiny

Ben FractenbergApril 16, 2018Getty Images

Michael Cohen
President Trump has called the seizure of documents from his longtime personal lawyer Michael D. Cohen a “witch hunt” — and lawyers for both men were in federal court Friday seeking limits to what evidence federal prosecutors will get to see.

But Cohen has blurred the line between his personal dealings and work with Trump for nearly a decade, according to documents obtained through a freedom of information request into Cohen’s taxi medallions, the Forward has learned.

Cohen, who has worked for Trump since the mid-2000s and has been described as his “pit bull,” has used his Trump Organization email address to conduct business with New York’s Taxi and Limousine Commission since at least 2009. That could mean that if Cohen did anything illegal that involved both his taxi business and his work for Trump, it might be hard for either of them to maintain that Trump didn’t know anything about it.

The search warrant used by the FBI last week included a request for information about Cohen’s taxi medallion ownership, CNN reported.

Cohen’s usage of Trump Organization email was not just limited to taxi affairs: He also used his Trump account to negotiate a non-disclosure agreement with the porn actress known as Stormy Daniels in 2016, NBC reported in March.

“It exposes [Trump] to so many more risks,” David Shapiro, a former FBI legal adviser and expert in forensic accounting, told the Forward. “[Cohen has] now tied all of those things presumptively to the president, which is a world of hurt for [Trump] with the position he’s in.”

Michael Cohen
The raid on Cohen’s office, home and hotel room were in the spotlight Friday when Trump and Cohen, through their lawyers, asked a federal judge to keep the evidence under wraps until they can determine if they want to challenge the seizure on the grounds that the records are covered by attorney-client privilege.

Prosecutors said little if any of the evidence was likely covered by the privilege, and noted that the probe had been going on for months and focuses on Cohen’s business deals, not legal work.

U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood ordered Cohen to appear at a fresh hearing Monday and disclose a list of all his legal clients.

The possibility for legal exposure is one reason why lawyers are not supposed to mix their work on behalf of clients and other business dealings, Shapiro said. Indeed, the federal investigators who conducted the raid were looking in part for Cohen’s communications with a bank that loaned him money against his taxi business in 2014, according to The Washington Post.

The investigators were also looking for information about Daniels, whom Cohen paid $130,000 in 2016 to keep quiet about what she said was an affair with Trump. Cohen said Trump didn’t know about the payment.

The taxi-related emails would have been stored in Trump Organization servers for nearly a decade and should have raised red flags that he was conducting outside business through the company, Shapiro said. “[Trump] may be implicated in who knows what,” he added.

Trump supporter Michael D. Cohen (L) and progressive columnist Michael A. Cohen (R)
Investigators could use the emails as evidence to demand more communications from Cohen, which could in turn lead to more risk for Trump, said Fred Klein, a professor of law at Hofstra University who was a state and local prosecutor for more than 30 years.

In addition to the scrutiny over the Daniels payment, greater focus is being given to Cohen’s Russian connections, including negotiations about building a Trump Tower in Moscow, which included an email to President Vladimir Putin’s press secretary about getting the project approved.

Cohen has downplayed his Russian contacts, but several people who know him told the Forward that he has bragged about his connections to Russian businesspeople, including owning cabs in that country as well, according to multiple sources who declined to give their name out of fear of reprisals from the lawyer.

Cohen’s lawyer, Stephen Ryan, did not return an immediate request for comment.

Cohen owes more than $40,000 on more than a dozen taxi medallions, according to state records and information obtained through the FOIL request. He owns at least 32, according to the Daily News.

Medallions serve as licenses to pilot a yellow cab in New York. They can be bought and sold and owned by multiple people. The city of New York created the medallion program in 1937, when the number of taxis on the streets far exceeded the demand for cab rides.

The city has issued new medallions at a slow pace over the years; the current supply is capped at 13,587.

The low number of medallions put them in short supply and once caused their price to swell dramatically. Investors like Cohen saw a gold rush in yellow cabs and bought medallions by the handful, leasing them to drivers.

Prices peaked in 2014 at over $1 million. That year, the last medallion auction brought the city nearly $360 million in revenue from the sale of 350 new medallions.

Then Uber arrived on the scene. Ride-sharing services flooded the streets of New York with cheaper alternatives to taxis. As the number of cars offering ride sharing services in the city soared to 63,000 this year, the value of the medallion plummeted. In April, a medallion sold for $241,000, the lowest price this century.

That plunge means Cohen likely lost millions on his medallions. He also owns lucrative property investments, so it’s unclear if the crash in value is tied to his tax liabilities.

Ben Fractenberg is a reporter and photographer based in New York City.

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They could still get him out of office.
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Re: Michael Cohen

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:23 pm

Oh my SWEET BABY JESUS just give us the NAME!!!!





What did Sean need Cohen for?????

Poor Sean he didn't want to be associated with this case :P

CNN: Hannity named as Cohen’s client.

BBC: Hannity named as Cohen’s client.

ABC: Hannity named as Cohen’s client.

NBC: Hannity named as Cohen’s client.

MTV: Hannity named as Cohen’s client.

CBS: Hannity named as Cohen’s client.


Sean Hannity was using @FoxNews to attack the FBI’s raid on his personal attorney Michael Cohen. There are conflicts of interest here I’ve never even seen before.


I'm wondering whether Hannity's legal business w/Michael Cohen came before he did an interview w/Julian Assange where the latter claimed Russia didn't hack the DNC?

Let's go back to this.

This means we're going to get fee arrangements for whatever hush payment Cohen set up for Sean Hannity.

So Trump's personal attorney had blackmail material (and maybe tapes?) on the guy who pushed the Seth Rich scandal.

Maybe THAT'S why Hannity wanted this suppressed?

Fuck I hope this doesn't mean there's an unknown Hannity spawn out there.
I speculated last night that it may have been Trump Org that deleted docs. PURE speculation tho.

They also have twice said ANYTHING Cohen touched is privileged, even tho Cohen often played role of a flack.

This is the best day on the Wall of Plato's Twitter cave since Mark Sanford's Appalachian Trail presser.


Sunday, 4:30P, @Sulliview argues Trump might survive firing Mueller bc of the services of Sean Hannity.

Monday, 2:51P, Judge makes Trump's fixer reveal he "represents" both of them.

Klasfeld is IMO the best live tweeter from NYC courtrooms.


Adam Klasfeld

Verified account

"All rise!"

Judge Wood just took the stand.

The attorneys introduce themselves.

* The bench.

Judge: Do you know roughly the volume of privileged documents that were seized?

Cohen's attorney Todd Harrison: No, judge, we don't... We don't recognize all of the items that the government seized.

Judge Wood asks AUSA McKay to estimate the number of privileged documents.

McKay: "No. In fact, because of the pendancy of this motion," it's difficult to talk to privilege team.

AUSA McKay: Cohen has more attorneys than he has clients.

McKay estimates that there are up to 10 "physical boxes" of documents, but the "real volume" will come from the electronic files.

McKay: Cohen "does not state whether he has retained any material from the Trump Organization when he left over one year ago."

"The silence from the Trump Organization is telling," he adds later.

"Mr. Cohen may have a legal degree," McKay allows, but adds this search is about his private business dealings.

This is "far from" the Lynne Stewart case, he continues.

More on that case here.

McKay noted that Cohen refused to disclose the third client's name under seal.

"If he can't disclose the client name, even to the court under seal..." McKay asks how the government can contest an overbroad claim of privilege.

"There's nothing improper about the way the search warrants were executed in this case," McKay says, slamming Cohen's Fourth Amendment claim as frivilous.

Quoting this line from Cohen's letter about "attacks on the impartiality of the Justice Department and the USAO," McKay notes the irony that I pointed out early.

Cohen and Trump both made "inflammatory" attacks on that search, McKay said.Adam Klasfeld added,

This line by Cohen's attorneys is incredible:

Cohen argues that "the appointment of a Special Master" will shield against "toxic partisan politics of…

Cohen's other attorney Steve Ryan says the third client is a "publicly prominent individual," and he didn't want the name to be released from the public.

"We are protecting that persons identity, but not from the court," he claims, if there will be a sealed in camera review.

Jargon explanation: In camera = for the judge's eyes alone.

Judge Wood wants to know the "legal grounds" for withholding the client's name.

After commenting on Cohen's responsibilities, Ryan says: "I'm simply trying to protect the privacy of that individual."

An attorney for the press objects, notes that the public also has a right.

That attorney's name is Robert Balin, who reads a citation indicating that a client's fear of guilt by association is not enough to prevent disclosure.

The reason this is so, Balin says, is, "So that We the People, and the press, can monitor our institutions."

Balin's citation sounds like Vignelli, but I'll track it down with the transcript later.

Crowd-source request: Does that ring a bell to any attorneys?

BREAKING: Judge Wood rules that the name "must be disclosed publicly now."

Dramatic buildup here.

As noted, Judge Wood made her ruling on disclosure, but no name yet. They're arguing about a privilege log.

Todd Harrison is up now.

Judge Wood: "I understand that he doesn't want his name out there, but that's not enough under the law."

"The client's name is Sean Hannity"

Harrison: Mr. McKay makes a good point about the fact that we can conceivably limit this search by time and subject.

"My guess is that this could be done in relatively short order," he said.

He claims it would be easier than Lynne Stewart case, which took 15 months.

Judge Wood sounds skeptical, noting that case involved fewer files.

Harrison doubles down on claim that there are "thousands" of privileged documents, a number that he struggled to corroborate on Friday.

Wood challenged him on it back then

"The American public is watching this," Harrison says, adding that the public does not "feel comfortable" with what's unfolding.

"I think that America, frankly, is looking to the court as the third co-equal branch of gov't..." to provide the appearance of fairness.

McKay: "Your honor, where to begin, this isn't a battle between the different branches of government."

"Everyone is watching this case, that may be true," but that's why the court should follow the usual procedures, McKay says.

McKay: Cohen said that there were "thousands, if not millions of privileged documents," but there were actually three clients.

"The motion should be denied because the factual premise for it is faulty," he says.

McKay: Cohen's emails used to say special counsel to the Trump Organization and then said personal attorney to the President.

Those might fall under the sweeping rubric of ones that "relate" to Trump "in any way."

McKay predicts wide over-breadth in privilege assertions if the court orders a special master (i.e. neutral third party) to handle the matter.

"They are going to start by bidding high in the amount of privileged material," the prosecutor said.

Art of the deal?
Cohen's other attorney, Ryan: "Candidly, I think the Russia case is a complete dry hole."

Ryan represents Cohen in the Russia probe.

McKay said that Ryan has "not cited any authority" why Trump's attorney-client privilege matters more than any other person's.

"Their privilege is no different form the President of the United States' privilege," he said.

Trump's attorney Joanna Hendon is up now.

Hendon agrees that attorney-client privilege does not include every message with the word "Trump" in it.

Prosecutors expressed that fear earlier.

(Reminder: Cohen boasted about his Trump ties in his signature line, McKay said earlier.)

Hendon: "Nothing less than the fair and just operation of our legal system... depends upon this privilege."

Hendon: "I agree with Mr. McKay. We're not asking for anything special or different in this case. I am asking for the president to have access to this sacred privilege," for cases as mundane as dog bite cases and slip-and-falls.

Hendon responds to government's suggestion that Cohen is "not a real lawyer."

"That may be right, that may be wrong," she says, but adds someone who "holds these views and expresses them publicly cannot be counted upon" to vindicate attorney-client privilege.

Hendon: The president should make his privilege determinations in the manner that I've decided, [correcting] that I've described.

There's been a lot of talk about the Lynne Stewart case, but Hendon distinguishes her process from that case.

Instead of a special master, Hendon proposes Cohen and Trump's legal teams assert privilege for review and take it to the gov't. If gov't objects, it goes to Wood.

Hendon claims that would protect Trump's privilege while being more efficient than the Stewart process, which, again, took roughly 15 months to complete.

McKay's back up now.

McKay says that the filter team, sometimes described as the taint team, would consult with Trump's attorneys in either event.

"Where Mr. Cohen is clearly under criminal investigation, he is going to have even more incentive" to "drag things down" with assertions of privilege.

McKay on Trump: "He's a busy man."

"Defense counsel is not going to agree with privilege determinations without consulting with her client," he notes.

It's more efficient, he argues, for USAO to give him potentially privileged documents for him to review than vice versa.

Trump's attorney's back up.

Meanwhile, outside the court:

Sean Hannity

Michael Cohen has never represented me in any matter. I never retained him, received an invoice, or paid legal fees. I have occasionally had brief discussions with him about legal questions about which I wanted his input and perspective

Hendon says that the government may fail at even good-faith efforts to identify privileged material since "A taint team is even further removed."

"Privileged material may not be recognized as such," she adds later.

Judge Wood calls her premise wrong, as gov't will talk w/ her.

Wood: "You're getting into areas that we don't need to deal with now."

She wants to know how to get the matter to the "next step" and "get it underway."

McKay back up to comment on that.

McKay argues that Cohen's awareness of his own files undercuts the argument from Team Trump.

"Cohen is sitting at the table and is zealously asserting his client's interest."


"The premise that Mr. Cohen can't successfully navigate his client's files rings hollow."

McKay: "My understanding is that most of the electronic devices were imaged onsite," allowing Trump and Cohen to review and make privilege assertions.

Hendon, Trump's attorney, responds to McKay's comments about what happens in every other case.

"This is a case of first impression for this court," she claims.

Cohen's attorney Todd Harrison: "The balance of the equities should be with the American citizen whose stuff was taken."

McKay counters that the American citizen whose stuff was taken was someone whom a magistrate judge found evidence of crimes.

Judge Wood: "I have faith in the Southern District U.S. Attorney's Office."

"Their integrity is unimpeachable, and so I think a taint team is a viable option."

But in terms of "perception of fairness," a special master "might have a role here," if a more limited one.

Wood warns: "I would want opposing counsel to move very fast."

"If" there is a special master, she adds.

She solicited proposals on how to move fast.

"I'm denying the motion for a TRO because it's currently moot," she said.

The gov't isn't accessing the material now anyway

Hendon: So your honor has denied the TRO, but not the preliminary injunction.

Wood: Right.

Jargon explanation: TRO= temporary restraining order.

Preliminary injunction has not yet been ruled on.

The parties will propose suggestions for a special master, but Wood said that she has not decided whether to appoint one.

Adjourned. No @MichaelAvenatti. At least not inside the court.

https://twitter.com/KlasfeldReports/sta ... 9574804481

Donald J. Trump

Verified account

Follow Follow @realDonaldTrump

Big show tonight on @seanhannity! 9:00 P.M. on @FoxNews


8m8 minutes ago
I don't get the sense that Cohen and Hannity have thought this all the way through -- the impact of their positions on the attorney-client privilege, and how they may be waiving and/or undermining privilege.

They need to be playing chess. They're playing Hungry Hungry Hippos.

Cohen: Hannity was my mysterious 3rd Client.

Hannity: I wasn't his client.

If Hannity is right:

1. there's no attorney-client privilege

2. Cohen just lied to the judge.
Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
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Re: Michael Cohen

Postby seemslikeadream » Tue Apr 17, 2018 7:48 am

Mystery Third Client of Trump Revealed as Sean Hannity

April 16, 2018 ADAM KLASFELD

Michael Cohen in New York on April 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

MANHATTAN (CN) – At an explosive court hearing where it was revealed that a secret client of Michael Cohen’s beside President Donald Trump is none other than conservative pundit Sean Hannity, a federal judge refused to put a restraining order Monday on the files that prosecutors seized last week from the embattled lawyer.

“I have faith in the Southern District U.S. Attorney’s Office,” U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood said in court. “Their integrity is unimpeachable.”

Hannity’s name arose this afternoon after attorneys for Cohen alerted the court in a brief shortly before the start of Monday’s hearing that the FBI’s raid of Cohen’s home, hotel and office implicates privileged materials from three clients: Trump, the unnamed individual now revealed to be Hannity and Elliot Broidy, the recently jettisoned deputy finance chair of the Republican National Committee.

Briody stepped down Friday after confirming that Cohen helped him negotiate a $1.6 million payment to a Playboy playmate who said that Broidy impregnated her.

Hannity tried to downplay his association with Cohen on Twitter.

“Michael Cohen has never represented me in any matter,” Hannity tweeted Monday. “I never retained him, received an invoice, or paid legal fees. I have occasionally had brief discussions with him about legal questions about which I wanted his input and perspective.”

Wood refused to let Cohen keep Hannity’s name secret.

“I understand that he doesn’t want his name out there, but that’s not enough under the law,” she said.

With Cohen fighting to have the evidence face an initial review a neutral third party known as a special master, Wood allowed that such a person “might have a role in this process.”

She proposed a plan to how to designate such a person efficiently, but Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas McKay called the consideration unnecessary, telling Wood that Cohen has more attorneys than he has clients.

The revelation that Cohen’s solo law practice had just three clients undercuts Cohen’s claim that there were “thousands, if not millions of privileged documents,” McKay said.

“The motion should be denied because the factual premise for it is faulty,” McKay said.
McKay estimated that the government seized no more than 10 “physical boxes” of documents, but said the “real volume” will come from the electronic files.

The prosecutor also highlighted the irony of a point in Cohen’s brief that says “the appointment of a special master will protect the integrity of the government’s investigation from the toxic partisan politics of the day and attacks on the impartiality of the Justice Department and the USAO.”

“There are three parties in this case,” McKay said. “Only two of them have made public comments about the searches. Last Monday both Mr. Cohen and President Trump made inflammatory comments about this case. Our office has done no such thing.”

In his brief, McKay slammed Trump and Cohen’s attorneys for trying to “erect an unprecedented and unwarranted obstacle to the government’s ability to investigate attorneys for their own conduct, in this case or any other.”

President Donald Trump’s legal team proposed its method for assessing attorney-client privilege on Sunday evening, asking Wood to keep prosecutors from reviewing the seized materials before they do.

“The lodestar is fairness – not speed,” Joanna Hendon, new counsel for Trump, argued in an 8-page letter.

After revelation from Friday that Cohen has been the subject of a months-long criminal investigation is said to have enraged the White House, with Trump’s insiders telling The New York Times that the president fears scrutiny of his business ties even more than the probe of Russia interference in the election.

“In the highly politicized, even fevered, atmosphere that envelops this matter, it is simply unreasonable to expect that a team of prosecutors, even if not directly involved in the investigation of Mr. Cohen, could perform a privilege review in the manner necessary to safeguard the important interests of the president, as the holder of the privilege,” Trump’s attorney said in the letter.

Stormy Daniels arrives for the 49th Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. President Donald Trump’s personal attorney says he paid $130,000 out of his own pocket to a porn actress who allegedly had a sexual relationship with Trump in 2006. Michael Cohen tells The New York Times he was not reimbursed by the Trump Organization or the Trump campaign for the payment to Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles, File)
Though Cohen missed the Friday hearing, his appearance Monday was court ordered. Also in attendance was the porn actress who says she and Trump had a one-night stand over a decade ago.

Represented by Michael Avenetti, actress Stormy Daniels contends that Trump’s associates bullied her into signing a $130,000 settlement so that she would not speak about their fling before the 2016 election.

Avenetti told Judge Kimba Wood on riday that he believes that some of the files seized from Cohen’s office could invade his client’s privacy.

“We have every reason to believe that some of the documents that were seized relate to my client and, in fact, may impact this privacy issue that the court is speaking about,” he said at the time.

Friday’s hearing was only partially public, and an unsealed transcript from one of the secret moments shows that prosecutor McKay told Wood that the government would like to move as quickly as possible on their “fast-moving investigation.”

Seeking a temporary restraining order on the seized files, Cohen’s legal team has asked Judge Wood for “first cut” at inspecting the documents to identify ones that may qualify for attorney-client privilege.

Prosecutors call such a request “unprecedented” and say that the alternative – appointing a neutral special master to handle attorney-client privilege issues – could delay the investigation for more than a year.

In making this proposal, Cohen’s legal team largely relies on the case of the radical lawyer Lynne Stewart, who was prosecuted for smuggling messages by jailed 1993 World Trade Center bomb plotter Omar Abdel-Rahman.

From left, attorneys Joseph B. Evans and Todd Harrison emerge from the federal courthouse in Manhattan on April 13, 2018. The court heard arguments this morning on a bid by Michael Cohen, the longtime personal attorney to President Donald Trump, to keep the FBI from using evidence seized earlier this week from his home and office. Represented by Evans and Harrison, Cohen claims he used his own money to keep Daniels from going public about her claims of an affair with Trump. (JOSH RUSSELL, Courthouse News Service)
A tenacious if controversial criminal defense attorney, Stewart represented Abdel in her lifelong commitment to defending poor and unpopular defendants, and the case against her contained a thicket of attorney-client privilege issues. A judge appointed a neutral special master to navigate those issue, starting a process that took 15 months to finish.

Assistant U.S. Attorney McKay contends that the Cohen’s case is far different from Stewart’s.

“Here, unlike in Stewart, Cohen appears to practice only civil law, such that no Sixth Amendment concerns are raised by the seizure of any of his client files,” McKay wrote in a memo on Friday. “In addition, for the reasons set forth above, there is reason to believe that Cohen has few actual representations, and that the amount of potentially privileged material as to those representation will be low.”

Ex-U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who was fired by Trump, told CNN on Sunday that Cohen is “barely a lawyer,” and the government’s brief states that Cohen’s only publicly identified client is the president.

“And there is reason to doubt that even communications with his only publicly identified client regarding payments to Stephanie Clifford, who is also known as Stormy Daniels, would be protected by attorney-client privilege,” the brief states.

Michael Avenatti, an attorney for porn actress Stormy Daniels, speaks to reporters outside the federal courthouse in Manhattan on April 13, 2018. The court heard arguments this morning on a bid by Michael Cohen, the longtime personal attorney to President Donald Trump, to keep the FBI from using evidence seized earlier this week from his home and office. Cohen claims he used his own money to keep Daniels from going public about her claims of an affair with Trump. (JOSH RUSSELL, Courthouse News Service)
“Among other things, President Trump has publicly denied knowing that Cohen paid Clifford, and suggested to reporters that they had to ‘ask Michael’ about the payment,” it continues.

Trump’s legal team meanwhile insists that the president’s privilege interests require deference.

“This court has the opportunity at the outset of the matter to establish an efficient, fair procedure that avoids the grave risks posed by taint team review: initial review by the privilege-holder,” his letter states. “The government can articulate no conceivable prejudice from such a procedure other than an unsubstantiated claim of potential ‘delay,’ and that concern pales in comparison to the president’s vital interest in the full and fair protection of his attorney-client privilege.”
https://www.courthousenews.com/trump-te ... hen-files/


Michael Avenatti

$100,000 reward for information leading to the positive identification of the man that threatened Ms. Clifford in Las Vegas. Send all leads to idthethug@gmail.com.

Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
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Re: Michael Cohen

Postby seemslikeadream » Wed Apr 18, 2018 9:46 am

Hannity retained Jay Sekulow and Victoria Toensing in 2017 ......two more of trump's lawyers

Michael Cohen made at least 10 appearances on Sean Hannity's show.


Trump calls Stormy Daniels composite sketch 'a total con job'



Stormy Daniels’ Penthouse Reveal: Plans to Donate $130K to Planned Parenthood in Trump and Cohen’s Names

An exclusive tease of the porn star—and alleged Trump paramour’s—big issue of Penthouse, which hits newsstands May 8.

Marlow Stern

04.17.18 5:55 PM ET
In addition to her 60 Minutes sit-down with Anderson Cooper and appearance on The View this morning, Stormy Daniels will grace the cover of Penthouse magazine.

The issue, which hits newsstands across North America on May 8, brands the porn actress the “Penthouse Pet of the Century” followed by the sub-headline: “Getting Intimate with the Most Wanted Woman in America.”

Sources close to Penthouse have informed The Daily Beast that Daniels “talks about everything” concerning her alleged 2011 affair with President Donald Trump during the interview—including several NSFW bits left out of her 60 Minutes chat.

Referring to her defamation case against Trump lawyer/fixer Michael Cohen, as well as the allegation that someone possibly connected to Trump/Cohen threatened her, Daniels says in the interview, “I don’t have shame. You can’t bully me.” She also reveals that, should she win her case, she plans to donate the $130,000 to Planned Parenthood in Cohen and Trump’s names.

“We are really excited to have Stormy back on the cover of the magazine,” said Kelly Holland, CEO and owner of Penthouse. “She was a Penthouse Pet back in 2007, so we have a history with Stormy, and she has a good relationship with us.”

Daniels’ magazine issue also boasts a “new nude photo spread shot by Keith Munyan,” as well as a “full-length, in-depth interview,” with a reporter for the publication spending “several days with the magazine.”

“It was great working with Stormy for this issue, and the pictures are beautiful,” said Mish Barber-Way, executive editor of Penthouse. “In the feature article she talked to us about her incident with the president. It also really gets to the heart of who Stormy is, and we reveal another side of her.”
https://www.thedailybeast.com/stormy-da ... hens-names
Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
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Re: Michael Cohen

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu Apr 19, 2018 8:27 am

Michael Cohen:

Old and busted: "I can prove I wasn't in Prague and I'm suing Buzzfeed and Fusion GPS!"

New hotness: "We have do do DISCOVERY? Never mind.


Trump lawyer Michael Cohen sues BuzzFeed for publishing Steele dossier

by Alex Johnson / Jan.09.2018 / 8:51 PM ET / Updated Jan.10.2018 / 7:20 AM ET
A personal lawyer for President Donald Trump filed a defamation action against the website BuzzFeed on Tuesday for publishing a 35-page dossier alleging that Donald Trump's presidential campaign colluded with Russia.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/tr ... er-n836331

Cohen drops libel suits against BuzzFeed, Fusion GPS

JOSH GERSTEIN04/19/2018 07:58 AM EDT

Michael Cohen abandoned the suits as he continues to fight to recover documents seized from his home, office and hotel room last week by federal authorities. | Yana Paskova/Getty Images
Embattled attorney Michael Cohen has dropped a pair of much-touted libel suits against BuzzFeed and the private investigation firm Fusion GPS over publication of the so-called dossier detailing alleged ties between President Donald Trump and Russia.

Cohen abandoned the suits late Wednesday as he continues to fight to recover documents and electronic files seized from his home, office and hotel room last week by federal authorities as part of what appears to be a broad criminal investigation into his conduct.

"The decision to voluntarily discontinue these cases was a difficult one," Cohen's attorney David Schwartz said. "We believe the defendants defamed my client, and vindicating Mr. Cohen’s rights was — and still remains — important. But given the events that have unfolded, and the time, attention, and resources needed to prosecute these matters, we have dismissed the matters, despite their merits."

The dossier claims that Cohen met with Russian operatives somewhere in Europe, including Prague, to attend a meeting to “clean up the mess” created by public disclosures of other Trump associates’ reported ties to Russia.

Cohen denied the Prague meeting occurred.

Dropping the suits could help Cohen avoid being questioned by lawyers from Fusion GPS or having to turn over evidence related to the case — both steps that could undercut his defense in the criminal probe.

The move could also bolster Cohen's effort to delay a suit brought in Los Angeles by porn star Stormy Daniels, who claims to have had a sexual encounter with Trump about a decade ago. It could have been difficult for Cohen to convince that judge to put Daniels' case on hold while Cohen continued to press civil suits in other federal courts.
https://www.politico.com/story/2018/04/ ... uit-537327


Meet David Pecker,the owner of the National Enquirer. The rag has let ex-Playboy model Karen McDougal out of her NDA about her affair with Trump .Fearing what disclosure in the case would bring to light,Pecker pulled out.

“tickling the wire”


Are the Feds Treating the White House Like a Mob House?

‘Absolutely they’re dumb enough to talk,’ said one current FBI employee about the men and women surrounding Trump.

06.08.17 1:00 AM ET
It’s no accident your phone lights up nearly every night with new revelations about Team Trump’s connections to Russia. So many different investigators with so many different agendas are looking into so many different parts of that nexus, it would be almost impossible for word not to leak out.

But there’s an explanation for at least some of the leaks that’s a little more cunning than the rest—one that might bring some actual resolution. Four current and former law enforcement officials believe prosecutors have been treating Trump and his associates like a criminal network, and subjecting them to an array of time-tested law enforcement tricks.

One of those tricks involves floating names of potential targets of the investigation, to try and get potential co-conspirators to turn on one another. Another, called “tickling the wire,” entails strategically leaking information to try and provoke targets under surveillance into saying something dumb, or even incriminating.

“You want people to freak out, to say, ‘are they talking about me? Is this me? What do they know?’—and you want them to do this in a way that is captured,” one former FBI official said about the Russia investigation.

“Now we wait for the cover up.”

Trump and his associates are facing an array of potential legal troubles. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, former national security adviser and retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, and Trump’s son-in-law and top aide Jared Kushner all failed to mention their meetings with Russian officials on their security clearance applications; such omissions are considered felony crimes. Flynn and former campaign chair Paul Manafort declared only after the fact their lobbying work advanced the interests of foreign governments, despite regulations requiring the immediate disclosure of such lobbying work. Federal and local investigators are examining Manafort’s real-estate transactions, and a grand jury is now looking into Flynn’s influence-for-hire business. Then there’s the specter of obstruction of justice charges over Trump’s firing of FBI director Jim Comey—the man who was leading the investigation into his Russia ties. (Robert Mueller, his predecessor at the FBI, has been named as a special counsel and is now helming the case, which has expanded to encompass Flynn and Manafort’s lobbying.)

Trump’s new lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, may say his client has been “totally vindicated” by the written testimony of Comey, who noted, in as narrow language as possible, that Trump wasn’t personally under investigation. That doesn’t make Kasowitz’s statement true.

“We are only at the beginning of this. There’s too much smoke for there to be no fire. Criminal acts and cover ups usually unfold just like this. This doesn’t mean there was collusion. It means crimes were committed somewhere along the way and now people are trying to find ways to distance themselves while keeping appearances like they are all friends,” a former FBI official said.

One technique for pulling those friends apart: Leak information on who may be a target of the investigation. “It’s a way to get other rats to run in and say, ‘me first, me first,’” said Charles Clayman, a veteran New York City criminal defense attorney who began his career as a local and federal prosecutor. “There’s always a race to the courthouse, because there’s no honor among thieves. The idea is to make other co-conspirators think the race has already begun.”

Stories that don’t name names—like a recent Washington Post piece noting that a senior Trump adviser was a subject of interest in the Russia probe—can be particularly helpful in provoking targets and getting tips, according to three current and former FBI sources.

“It is not a coincidence that those stories [about the subjects of interest] hit as Air Force One was wheels up on a very long flight to Riyadh,” said a former FBI official with knowledge of aspects of the current investigation.

“That’s of course about turning up the heat. You create friction between Trump’s people while they’re stuck in a confined space for 16-plus hours.”

By the end of the trip, Kushner had not only been identified in other press reports as that White House subject of interest but the White House then all but confirmed that he had proposed a secret backchannel to the Kremlin—using the Russians’ own communication gear.

(The FBI and Justice Department didn’t respond to requests for comment for this story.)

The prosecutorial leaks can become doubly effective when the targets are undisciplined, and under surveillance.

That’s what happened in 1989, when federal prosecutors sent subpoenas to Gambino crime boss John Gotti and his associates to testify in an incoming trial. The feds were hoping Gotti would flip out—and he did, all-but-admitting to obstructing justice while agents listened in. “Nobody is taking the stand!” Gotti screamed, according to the book Mob Star by Gene Mustain and Jerry Capeci. “You go in there and break their fuckin’ heads. Don’t worry about us. Go in and fight!”

It was a classic example of tickling the wire—pushing out information to skittish targets, and then listening to what they say next. And in Gotti’s case, it worked. The so-called Teflon Don was arrested on charges of murder, bribery, loansharking, tax evasion, and obstruction of justice in late 1990, and sentenced to life in prison in 1992.

Former federal prosecutor Edward McDonald worked on public corruption and mob cases, including the famous Lufthansa heist case. He recalled another example of tickling the wire, from back in 1986, while building a public corruption case against Bronx Congressman Mario Biaggi and Brooklyn Democratic leader Meade Esposito. “You can’t conduct electronic surveillance forever,” he explained; ordinarily, a judge only authorizes such eavesdropping for a few weeks or months at a time. On the final day of the surveillance they had the FBI go into the congressman’s office and ask about his relationship with Esposito. Panicked phone calls followed, which were captured on the wiretaps.

Such methods have continued to be used in public corruption, organized crime, and insider trading cases, McDonald said.

But he added that it’s unlikely Trump is under similar pressure at this moment.

“If you’re tickling the wire you have to have a wire,” McDonald said. In a criminal investigation, at least, a judge would have to find probable cause that people in the Trump orbit were discussing criminal acts. “I don’t know if they are that stupid.”

FBI officials, current and former, disagreed. “Absolutely they’re dumb enough to talk,” said one current FBI employee about the men and women surrounding Trump.

Even if the targets are somewhere south of genius, tickling the wire can be a risky proposition, noted David C. Gomez, a former assistant special agent in charge of the FBI’s Seattle field office. Leak the wrong information, and the target now knows that he or she is under surveillance.

“You can jeopardize an investigation that way,” he said. And Mueller, who is now leading the Justice Department’s FBI probe, has a reputation for being careful—and tight-lipped. “I don’t think Mueller would want to be that provocative until all his i’s are dotted and his t’s are crossed.”

But Trump and his team have previously made multiple claims of being monitored (or “tapped,” as the president so famously tweeted). And of course, this is no ordinary criminal probe.

Over the past year, at least a half-dozen different organizations have deployed investigators to look into the potential nexus between Team Trump and Camp Putin. There’s the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, each with its own separate probe; the corporate intelligence shops, like the one that eventually compiled the infamous “Golden Showers” dossier; the cybersecurity firms who found much of the technical evidence linking the hacking of the DNC to Russian crews; the U.S. intelligence agencies, which have uncovered previously-undisclosed contacts between Trump confidants and Russian government officials; and finally, the multi-pronged, far-flung Justice Department investigation, now under Mueller’s direction.

Any one of these outfits—or any combination of them—could contribute to any single leak about the Trump-Russia axis.

Take another recent story in The Washington Post, chronicling how the Russian ambassador to the United States Sergei Kislyak called his superiors in Moscow about the highly unusual proposal—a call that eavesdroppers in U.S. intelligence apparently picked up. Did that mean someone in American intelligence compromised their surveillance program? Or was Kislyak talking about Kushner, knowing an American ear was listening in? In other words, Gomez wondered, “Was Kislyak doing his own version of tickle the wire?”

Gomez isn’t the only law enforcement professional who raised that possibility, but he was the only one willing to say so on the record.

The two former law-enforcement officials said “the deluge of leaks” about Trump and Russia since Comey’s firing is about trying to shake things loose, to pressure White House staffers still in Washington, D.C., to come forward and report criminal activity.

Those leaks, sources said, played to Trump’s ego, appetite for cable news, and tendency to veer toward paranoia.

“Who is under investigation… and who is cooperating and are their conversations being monitored? Those are the questions you’d want the president to be thinking about,” said one government official, declining repeatedly to offer answers to any of those questions.

Could this all change as Mueller takes full control of the investigation? Or if Christopher Wray, Trump’s pick to run the FBI, gets installed atop the bureau? Sure it could.

For now, however, the drip-drip-drip continues. One intelligence official and one law enforcement official, both currently serving, said that government officials have openly talked about using leaks to undermine the performance of the president, and to create infighting and a distracted senior staff. Given the president’s ham-fisted responses to the—like his near-admission that he leaked sensitive Israeli intelligence to top Russian officials—it’s a tactic that appears to have worked rather well.

As one former FBI official said, “Trump just went way too far.”

Trump lawyer’s family lent $20M to wife of Chicago cab mogul
Tim Novak @tnovaksuntimes | email

The ties between President Donald Trump’s embattled personal lawyer Michael D. Cohen and Chicago’s taxicab industry go deeper than previously known.

Over the past eight months, Cohen’s father-in-law has given at least $20 million in loans to Yasya Shtayner, records examined by the Chicago Sun-Times show. Her family owns Chicago Medallion Management Corp., which manages 368 taxicabs, including 22 owned by Cohen.

Shtayner and her husband Semyon Shtayner — Chicago Medallion Management’s corporate secretary — were identified in a warrant the FBI used to raid Cohen’s law office and home, looking for documents relating to his business interests as well as his $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels to keep her from discussing her alleged dalliance with Trump, according to a CNN report.

Shtayner has received eight loans from Cohen’s father-in-law, Fima Shusterman, according to documents filed with the Cook County recorder of deeds.

Early in March, the records show Shusterman made four loans worth a total of at least $8 million — possibly as much as $16 million — to Yasya Shtayner and two companies she owns, including 2737 W. Fulton LLC, named after the address where Chicago Medallion Management operates.

Last Aug 21, Shusterman gave Shtayner four loans totaling at least $12 million and possibly as much as $24 million.

As collateral, Shtayner used three luxury high-rise condos on Chicago’s Near North Side and properties in the 2700 block of West Fulton.

Separately, Shtayner, her husband and their sons are being sued in Cook County circuit court by a federal credit union operated by the League of Mutual Taxi Owners in New York, seeking to collect a loan of about $3.5 million related to the operation of Chicago cabs.

Shusterman and the Shtayners, all immigrants from Ukraine to New York City in the 1970s, couldn’t be reached for comment.

Shusterman has a condo in the Trump World Tower near the United Nations in New York. He and Shtayner also owns condos in another Trump development in Sunny Isles Beach, Florida, outside Miami.

In 1993, Shusterman pleaded guilty to federal income-tax fraud relating to his taxicab business in New York. He paid a $5,000 fine and served two years of probation.

Chicago Medallion Management manages taxis operated by five different companies: Flash Cab, Ace Cab, Yellow Cab, Checker Taxi and 5 Star Taxi. Chicago Medallion has 207 cabs classified as active, according to a website for the Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection, which regulates taxis. The company has 97 medallions in foreclosure, 50 have been surrendered, and 14 others have violations, the Sun-Times has reported.

The Shtayers manage 10 medallions for Cohen. Those cabs are operated by Flash Cab.

Cohen has a dozen other medallions that have been suspended by Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration for 89 violations, including having expired insurance and license plates. Those Cohen medallions were operated by Dispatch Taxi, a company created by Savas Tsitiridis and Evgeny “Gene” Freidman to operate nearly 400 cabs in Chicago. Freidman and Cohen have been business partners, and both men operated taxis in New York City.

Cohen has about 32 medallions in New York City. His cabs there were once operated by Symon Garber, a Ukrainian immigrant who became Chicago’s taxi king, operating more than 700 cabs after he befriended Patrick Daley, the son of Mayor Richard M. Daley, more than 15 years ago. In Chicago, the mayor controls the number of cabs that can operate in the city.

Garber also owns a company that lends money for the purchase of taxi medallions, including some that were purchased by companies owned by the Shtayners.

https://chicago.suntimes.com/?post_type ... &p=1041080

Michael Avenatti

We will appear in the morning and vehemently argue against the attempt by Mr. Cohen and Mr. Trump to delay this case. The American people deserve the truth as quickly as possible. #basta

Judge sets Friday hearing on Trump bid to delay Stormy Daniels suit
By JOSH GERSTEIN 04/18/2018 09:30 PM EDT
A federal judge in Los Angeles has set a hearing for Friday on a bid by President Donald Trump and his embattled personal attorney Michael Cohen to delay a lawsuit filed by porn star Stormy Daniels, who claims to have had a sexual encounter with Trump about a decade ago.

U.S. District Court Judge S. James Otero scheduled the hearing after attorneys for Trump and Cohen said the suit should be put on hold for 90 days because of the criminal investigation federal prosecutors in New York are pursuing into Cohen's involvement in various matters, including a $130,000 pre-election payment to Daniels.

Otero did not explain in detail why he is convening the first hearing in the case, filed by Daniels last month in an attempt to have the alleged 'hush money' deal declared invalid. Daniels' attorney Michael Avenatti has argued that the agreement was never consummated, in large part because Trump never signed it.

In a brief order Wednesday, Otero — an appointee of President George W. Bush — said simply that a hearing on the stay request "is warranted."

Last week, the FBI raided Cohen's Manhattan apartment, office and a hotel room he was using temporarily. Agents had court-issued search warrants authorizing them to collect papers and electronic records on a variety of topics, including the payment to Daniels. Attorneys for Cohen and Trump say the raids intruded on attorney-client privilege.

The lawyers are pressing a judge in Manhattan to order the government to return the files.

U.S. District Court Judge Kimba Wood is also considering appointing a special master to oversee the process of separating confidential information from records prosecutors are entitled to see.
https://www.politico.com/blogs/under-th ... ing-536925

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Re: Michael Cohen

Postby seemslikeadream » Fri Apr 20, 2018 5:55 am

New filing in In the Matter of Search Warrants Executed on April 9, 2018: Letter


"We are acting promptly to notify the court that our client was lying to the senate but it's, like, totally cool, because we're pretty sure he wasn't under oath." :P

Michael Avenatti

Always a bad sign when the judge tells you that your motion has “gaping holes in it,” as the judge told the attys for MC and DJT this AM. I don’t know why they continue to hide what they know about the FBI raids. Time to come clean and let the chips fall where they may. #basta

Very pleased with today’s hearing. Judge Otero was his normal self - smartest guy in the room, diligent, respectful. Took the matter under submission. I think he liked our arguments and we had the better presentation. We shall see. #searchforthetruth #basta
Last edited by seemslikeadream on Fri Apr 20, 2018 3:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Michael Cohen

Postby seemslikeadream » Fri Apr 20, 2018 11:05 am

Good Grief. Cohen’s World Gets Mobbier The Closer I Look

In today’s podcast, we look into the background of Michael Cohen. TPM first reported last year that Cohen was actually a childhood friend of Felix Sater, whose father was himself a reputed capo in the Mogilevich organized crime syndicate, said to be Russia’s largest and most dangerous. Filling out this picture of how Cohen fell into this milieu we’ve always been focused on the fact that Cohen’s uncle, Morton Levine, owned and ran a Brooklyn social club, El Caribe, which was a well-known meeting spot for members of Italian and Russian organized crime families in the 1970s and 1980s. (Levine, a medical doctor has never been charged with a crime.) But now it turns out there’s a bit more to this story.

I came across this in a January AP article about Boris Nayfeld, one-time organized crime boss in Brooklyn who now wants to go home to Russia to start a new life. Nayfeld is 70 and he just finished his latest prison sentence. The whole story is a bit low energy and a sad sack in a nonetheless menacing and predatory way.

According to published reports, in the 70s and early 80s, the boss of the Russian mob in New York (and for practical purposes the whole U.S) was a man named Evsei Agron. Things ended badly for Agron when was gunned down in a mob hit in 1985. After Agron was assassinated, his organization was taken over by under-boss Marat Balagula. Authorities believed Balagula was behind Agron’s killing. But he was never charged with the crime. Balagula ran things until 1991 when he was convicted of gasoline bootlegging. Nayfeld had been the bodyguard and enforcer for both Agron and Balagula, one would say more successfully in the latter case than the former. He took over the organization when Balagula went to prison.

What I didn’t realize until now is that both Agron and his successor Balagula ran their operations out of an office in the El Caribe social club. So the El Caribe wasn’t just a mob hangout. From the 70s through the 90s at least, the bosses of the Russian mafia in the U.S. literally ran their crime organization out of the El Caribe.

So Michael Cohen’s uncle Morton Levine’s social club was the headquarters of Russian organized crime in the U.S.

That’s quite something.

The AP article includes another detail.

According to Levine, who is apparently still alive, all his nieces and nephews owned shares of the El Caribe and still do. Levine told the AP that Michael Cohen owned his stake in the club until Donald Trump was elected President when he “gave up his stake.”

That was probably wise!

It was also very recent.

One of the abiding questions about Cohen is how he became so deeply enmeshed in the Ukrainian and Russian emigre communities from such an early age and moved so early into businesses heavily infiltrated by organized crime. He married a Ukrainian immigrant whose father got him into the taxi business and himself had at least one conviction for money laundering. Cohen was raised in the Five Towns area of Long Island, not far from Brighton Beach as the crow flies – just across Jamaica Bay – but worlds away culturally. The El Caribe seems like the logical locus which brought Cohen into this world.
https://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/go ... ser-i-look
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Re: Michael Cohen

Postby seemslikeadream » Fri Apr 20, 2018 8:18 pm

Kyle Griffin

New York state has filed tax liens in Manhattan this week against five taxi companies owned by Michael Cohen and members of his family, Bloomberg reports.

State tax authorities are seeking about $174,000 in all in taxes from Cohen family taxi companies.

Michael Cohen’s Other Woe: Mounting Unpaid Taxes on New York Cabs

April 20, 2018, 2:12 PM CDT
Bob Van Voris
Shahien Nasiripour
New York state says $174,000 is past due from taxi companies

Trump’s longtime lawyer says bill isn’t his responsibility

Michael Cohen, attorney to U.S. President Donald Trump, leaves federal court in New York, on April 16.

Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg

Taxicab companies owned by Michael Cohen or family members just got hit with nearly $80,000 in new claims for unpaid taxes, according to records filed in New York.

The bills show the declining fortunes of some companies linked to Cohen, the longtime personal lawyer to President Donald Trump. Cohen is under a federal criminal investigation into his business and financial dealings that broke into the open this month with FBI raids on his office and residences. All the parties involved are now jostling over how that evidence will be used.

New York state filed tax liens in Manhattan this week against five companies owned by Cohen and members of his family, including Mad Dog Cab Corp., Martha Cab Corp., LAF Hacking Corp. and NY Funky Taxi Corp. The Cohens own medallions for 32 taxis in New York City through 16 companies. Most of those companies are now encumbered by liens: State tax authorities are seeking about $174,000 in all in taxes from Cohen family taxi companies, including the latest claims.

Cohen, the chief executive officer of the five companies, disputed the figure and said the tax obligation isn’t his. "These are the obligations of the operator, not the passive investor," he said in a telephone interview.

In the Cohens’ case, that’s Evgeny “Gene" Freidman, who gained the moniker "Taxi King" for operating more than 800 cabs in the city. Freidman has been charged in New York with failing to collect more than $5 million in 50-cent fare surcharges.

Read More: The Struggles of New York City’s Taxi King

Patrick Egan, a Philadelphia lawyer who represents Freidman, said his client is innocent and will fight the charges in a trial set for June. He declined to comment on whether the Cohen family is liable for the taxes.

Before he started working as a lawyer for Trump, Cohen built his wealth in the taxi business in New York and Chicago. He has said he bought medallions in the 1990s from his father-in-law, Fima Shusterman, an immigrant from Ukraine. In 2003, Cohen said, he owned 200 taxi medallions, according to ProPublica. Around the same time, Cohen and his in-laws moved into high-end real estate, including apartments in Manhattan’s Trump World Tower, Trump Palace and Trump Park Avenue. Cohen has since invested in New York City apartment buildings.

Cohen is the co-owner of Mad Dog with a woman who has the same name as his mother, according to taxi records. His wife, Laura, is listed as sole owner of the other four companies subjected to the latest liens.

In recent years, the taxi business has come under severe financial pressure as customers are lured to ride-hailing apps such as Uber and Lyft. New York-issued taxi medallions, which are required to pick up anyone hailing a ride, changed hands for as much as $1.3 million each less than a half-decade ago. Their prices have since plunged to about $200,000.

The Cohens’ 32 medallions were last refinanced around market highs in 2014 and the loans are due in 2019, Bloomberg reported last week.

The FBI, in its April 9 raids, took documents, computer hard drives and cellphones from Cohen’s New York office, home, hotel room and safe-deposit box to advance an investigation targeting potential bank fraud, wire fraud and campaign-finance violations.

It’s unclear precisely what prosecutors are looking for, but they’ve seized information about several episodes in Trump’s private life that had the potential to endanger his candidacy and could now imperil his presidency. They include the $130,000 payment Cohen said he made to a porn star who claimed to have had sex with Trump in 2006. Cohen has said he drew on a home-equity loan to make the payment without Trump’s knowledge and that he wasn’t reimbursed.

Agents also sought records on Cohen’s taxi business, CNN reported.

For full coverage of the hearing, click here

— With assistance by Caleb Melby

Bhttps://www.bloomberg.com/news/article ... n-nyc-cabs
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Re: Michael Cohen

Postby seemslikeadream » Fri Apr 20, 2018 9:57 pm

Stormy Daniels’s former lawyer said to be cooperating with federal probe of Michael Cohen

Keith Davidson, the former attorney for two women who were paid to keep quiet about their alleged affairs with Donald Trump, has been contacted by federal authorities investigating Trump attorney Michael Cohen and is cooperating with them, a spokesman for Davidson confirmed.

Davidson was asked to provide “certain limited electronic information” for the probe led by prosecutors in the Southern District of New York, spokesman Dave Wedge said. “He has done so and will continue to cooperate to the fullest extent possible under the law,” Wedge said in a statement Friday.

Shortly before the 2016 election, Davidson negotiated a confidentiality agreement with Cohen under which porn star Stormy Daniels was paid $130,000.

Davidson also represented Karen McDougal, a Playboy centerfold, in the $150,000 agreement she struck in August 2016 with the National Enquirer’s parent company, American Media Inc., for the rights to her story. AMI never published the story.

Both Daniels and McDougal have filed lawsuits to get out of their non-disclosure agreements. Earlier this week, McDougal settled with AMI — whose chief executive, David Pecker, is a friend of Trump — and is no longer bound by her contract with the tabloid publisher.

FBI agents raided Cohen’s Manhattan office last week, as well as his home and a hotel room. According to people with knowledge of the case, he is under federal investigation for bank fraud, wire fraud and campaign finance violations. The inquiry includes payments to women whose stories about Trump could have damaged his presidential campaign.

Stephen Ryan, an attorney for Cohen, has called the raid “inappropriate and unnecessary,” saying Cohen has “cooperated completely with all government entities.” Trump called the raid a “disgraceful situation” and an “attack on our country.”

According to CNN, the records seized from Cohen included tapes that he recorded of conversations with Davidson. Wedge said that the lawyer never consented to any recordings of his conversations with Cohen and that if such tapes exist, “Davidson will pursue all his legal rights under the law.”

Davidson has hired Miami attorney Michael D. Padula, who specializes in white-collar crime.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics ... 36834e9313

Stormy Daniels' Lawyer Warns Trump of Evidence DVD, and Says Hannity Faces 'Embarrassing' Revelations
https://www.yahoo.com/news/stormy-danie ... soc_trk=tw
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Re: Michael Cohen

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Apr 23, 2018 10:12 am

The Sex-Tape Lawyer Who Worked With Michael Cohen to Silence Trump’s Women

Keith Davidson, the ex-lawyer for Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, enjoyed a seemingly cozy relationship with Michael Cohen dating back years. Now he’s cooperating with the feds.

When Stormy Daniels’ former attorney spoke to CNN earlier this month, he said President Donald Trump’s loyal fixer had encouraged him to speak out.

“He suggested that it would be appropriate for me to go out into the media and spill my guts,” Keith Davidson said of Trump’s embattled lawyer, Michael Cohen, a man who was supposed to be his legal opponent.

Davidson negotiated hush agreements for two of the president’s alleged paramours—Daniels, the porn actress, and Karen McDougal, a onetime Playboy model—in the weeks leading up to the 2016 election.

He inked Daniels’ deal with Cohen, who personally paid the adult actress $130,000 for her silence about the alleged Trump affair. And he was in touch with Cohen, too, after McDougal signed her “catch and kill” agreement with the publisher of the National Enquirer, which bought her story for the purpose of burying it.

Indeed, the lawyers on opposite coasts appear to have developed a symbiotic relationship in recent years, beginning when details of Stormy Daniels’ Trump affair first surfaced in 2011.

“Are you here at the behest of Michael Cohen?” CNN correspondent Sara Sidner asked during Davidson’s early April sitdown.

“No, no. No,” Davidson chuckled, shaking his head and smiling awkwardly. “Not in any way, shape or form.”

Davidson may not be chuckling for long, after a run-in with the feds last week.

On Friday, Davidson revealed he’s cooperating in the criminal probe of Cohen’s business dealings, led by federal prosecutors in New York. Just one week before, the FBI raided Cohen’s office, home, and hotel room for records related to, among other things, Cohen’s payoff to Daniels in the home stretch of the election.

“I am very confident that Michael Cohen and Keith Davidson and others will have to account for the things that they have done.”

— Peter Stris, counsel for Karen McDougal

Davidson provided “certain limited electronic information” to the Cohen inquiry, said his spokesman Dave Wedge. “He has done so and will continue to cooperate to the fullest extent possible under the law,” Wedge said in a statement sent to multiple media outlets, including The Daily Beast.

The news follows reports that the FBI seized recordings Cohen made of his phone conversations with Davidson.

During one call, “Cohen was being unusually simplistic, like he had bullet points that he was reading from to try and make himself look good,” a source told CNN. “He was trying to clarify the timeline of the agreements made with Davidson in his favor.”

Davidson didn’t consent to the recordings and “will pursue all his legal rights under the law” if they do exist, Wedge warned.

Cohen did not respond by press time to requests for comment about his relationship with Davidson, which has come under scrutiny in recent weeks.

Indeed, Daniels and McDougal both fired Davidson and filed lawsuits to invalidate the hush contracts that he helped to negotiate. In a now-settled lawsuit, McDougal accused Davidson of conspiring with Cohen behind her back as she worked out her $150,000 agreement with the Enquirer’s parent company, American Media Inc. (AMI).

AMI has released McDougal from her contract in a settlement that frees her to dish about Trump—and to possibly pursue Davidson and Cohen in court. “For the avoidance of doubt, neither Keith Davidson nor Michael Cohen is an AMI Released Party,” the settlement states, adding that McDougal isn’t barred from making claims against the men.

McDougal’s counsel, Peter Stris, suggested legal action against Davidson was on the table. During an appearance on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show, Stris wasted no time linking him to Cohen and accusing the pair of committing legal fraud.

“The reason people like Michael Cohen and Keith Davidson are creating all of this mischief is because they’re not faithfully representing people,” Stris told Maddow, adding, “We see this pattern of powerful men—and it often happens to be the same ones here, Michael Cohen and Keith Davidson—doing these deals.

“I am very confident that Michael Cohen and Keith Davidson and others will have to account for the things that they have done,” Stris said.

Stris is representing a third woman once represented by Davidson: Shera Bechard. The former Playboy model and actress was at the center of another hush agreement negotiated between Davidson and Cohen in late 2017 and for which she received $1.6 million.

Cohen’s client, Republican donor Elliott Broidy, a vice chairman on Trump’s inaugural committee, allegedly paid Bechard for sex and impregnated her. Broidy said Bechard did not go through with the pregnancy.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Cohen facilitated the quarterly payments to Bechard on Broidy’s behalf.

Stris, on Twitter, said Bechard was “deeply distressed” that her confidential agreement with Broidy was leaked to the press and accused Cohen and Davidson of “profoundly disturbing and repeated collusion.”

For his part, Broidy said Cohen “reached out to me after being contacted by this woman’s attorney, Keith Davidson.” Broidy hired Cohen, he said, after Cohen “informed me about his prior relationship with Mr. Davidson.”

Cohen even used the same aliases for Bechard’s contract as he did with the infamous Daniels NDA: “David Dennison” and “Peggy Peterson,” the Journal reported.

Meanwhile, Cohen referred another Trump ally to Davidson. Chuck LaBella, a former producer on The Apprentice, enlisted Davidson over a dispute with actor Tom Arnold, who on Twitter accused LaBella of having damaging intel on Trump.

Davidson told CNN he wasn’t paid for sending an email to Arnold’s attorney, asking that the actor stop implying LaBella was a witness to any misconduct.

In a statement to The Daily Beast, Wedge acknowledged Davidson and Cohen have a history of hammering out deals.

“Attorney Davidson has represented a few clients referred to him from a variety of different sources in which opposing counsel was Michael Cohen,” Wedge said in a statement. “He is one of hundreds, if not thousands, of lawyers Attorney Davidson has dealt with over his 18 years as a lawyer.

“Their relationship is purely professional and they have met in person only a couple of times in professional settings,” Wedge continued.

Responding to Stris’ allegations, Wedge said Davidson “dispute[s] many of the descriptions of these situations by media and others, and strenuously denies any insinuations of unethical or inappropriate behavior.”

“In these matters, and in all of his cases, Attorney Davidson has always advocated strongly for his clients’ best interests,” Wedge stated.

Keith Davidson has made a career of selling—or trying to sell—sex tapes and other dirt back to celebrities, who’ve ponied up to prevent Davidson’s clients from releasing their mortifying secrets to the media.

Called “the ‘Better Call Saul’ of D-list celebrities,” Davidson represented a woman soliciting cash for a sex tape of Austin Powers actor Verne Troyer. He also tried to profit off a sex tape of reality TV star Tila Tequila, who sued him.

The Smoking Gun reported Davidson beefed up his client rolodex of Hollywood hangers-on with the help of TMZ co-founder Mike Walters. Walters and TMZ employees enjoyed Davidson’s legal services in return, according to the report.

One hot tip Walters allegedly delivered to Davidson was the Hulk Hogan sex tape.

TMZ first reported about the tape’s existence in March 2012. Five months later, Davidson emailed Hogan’s lawyer, David Houston, saying he represented the “rights holder of the footage.” Over the phone, Davidson told Houston that the first sex tape received by Gawker was “a warning shot” and that Hogan should pay up or risk “increasing problems,” according to Houston’s deposition in a lawsuit filed by the wrestler.

Davidson has declined to comment on the Hogan case, and Walters doesn’t appear to have denied any involvement with the sex-tape imbroglio. According to court filings in the Gawker lawsuit, Walters had a personal relationship with Hogan, whose son worked with Walters’ father on a business venture. (Houston said he was shocked to learn Walters, a source of intel for Hogan’s camp, was the middleman between the leaker and Davidson, The Smoking Gun reported.)

In a second call, Davidson again inquired whether Hogan “would pay him” and warned there was “more than one” tape, court filings allege. Houston contacted the FBI, which set up a sting operation at a hotel in Clearwater Beach, Florida, targeting Davidson, who was suspected of extortion but never charged.

At the hotel, Davidson’s team handed over what they claimed were all copies of the Hogan recordings in exchange for a $150,000 check and the promise of $150,000 more. When Houston handed Davidson and a go-between the money, FBI agents stormed in with guns drawn, arresting the duo, states a lawsuit filed by Hogan under his real name, Terry Bollea, in May 2016.

“The 47-year-old sleaze-chaser was in touch with Cohen as early as 2011, when a gossip site published details about Daniels’ alleged romp with Trump.”

Federal prosecutors declined to file charges against Davidson, though it’s unclear why. According to The Smoking Gun, Houston argued the government “had more than ample evidence” to prosecute.

Davidson’s law license has been suspended twice since 2010, California Bar records show. The first time, Davidson was accused of misconduct in cases, including his failure to appear at a hearing and case management conference in a medical malpractice suit. He was suspended a second time for failing to pay bar membership fees.

The 47-year-old sleaze-chaser was in touch with Cohen as early as 2011, when a gossip site published details about Daniels’ alleged romp with Trump. In his recent CNN interview, Davidson said he called Cohen after Daniels asked him to demand the website, The Dirty, remove the story about the alleged affair.

Daniels was connected to Davidson through her former manager, Gina Rodriguez, according to an October 2016 Smoking Gun report. Davidson told the site that Rodriguez, a former adult actress who’s represented Michael Lohan and “Octomom” Nadya Suleman, has referred him multiple clients over the years.

Nik Richie, founder of The Dirty, claims Rodriguez came to him to break the Daniels-Trump story, and that Daniels emailed him the salacious details in October 2011. But when Rodriguez secured a paid interview with In Touch magazine (which never ran), she hired Davidson to press The Dirty to remove its exclusive story “because she was shaking down Donald Trump,” Richie wrote on his site.

Aside from Rodriguez, Davidson appears to have other connections to the gossip blog. Karen McDougal’s ex-husband, James Grdina, invested in the website. And Grdina’s brother, Jay, had previously retained Davidson for his hangover-prevention drink company, SEC filings show.

Richie claims that Davidson sent his site a cease-and-desist letter, but that Cohen was involved behind the scenes and “negotiated directly with Stormy Daniels’ attorney.”

“Cohen would call Davidson weeks later—after hearing rumors that Stormy Daniels was getting interest in her story from media outlets.”

In the CNN special, Sidner asked Davidson what his initial conversation with Cohen was like.

“Well, I think there’s a lot of chest pounding,” Davidson answered. “To the best of my recollection, it was a lot of, you know, ‘How dare you’ and, you know, ‘We’ll chase you to the ends of the earth,’ and ‘This is not a true story’ and, you know, ‘We’re going to come and get you.’”

Davidson recalls telling Cohen to calm down. “I said, ‘Whoa. Hold on. Hold your horses’ and ‘That’s not at all the reason for our calling.’ And we said that Ms. Daniels does not want the story out and we’re going to do our best to take that,” Davidson said.

The opposing lawyers lost contact until summer of 2016, Davidson claims, when McDougal retained him to sell her story.

Davidson claimed he phoned Cohen as a “professional courtesy” and informed him a matter that “may or may not have involved his client” was resolved.

Dylan Howard, a senior AMI executive, interviewed McDougal in Los Angeles about her 10-month tryst with Trump. But after the hours-long meeting, Davidson informed McDougal that the company wasn’t interested in buying her story. Yet Davidson never mentioned that “he and AMI updated Mr. Trump’s representatives about Ms. McDougal” following this interview, her complaint alleged.

AMI renewed interest in McDougal’s story after she began talks to spill the beans with ABC News. In early August, Davidson sent McDougal an AMI contract and allegedly rushed her into signing it, she says. Then Davidson allegedly emailed Cohen, who was not a party to the legal matter, requesting a phone call.

“He then told Mr. Cohen on the phone that the deal was done—Ms. McDougal had been silenced,” her lawsuit said.

When asked about the supposed call, Cohen told The New York Times, “I don’t recall those communications.” The Times reported the men regularly communicated, however, via phone, text, and email after McDougal’s contract was signed.

Cohen would call Davidson weeks later—after hearing rumors that Stormy Daniels was getting interest in her story from media outlets. “I called Mr. Davidson and asked if this was true. He told me that he would find out,” Cohen told Vanity Fair last month. (Davidson himself confirmed this during his CNN interview.)

The Trump stalwart then asked if Daniels had a price in mind, and Davidson allegedly replied with the $130,000 figure. “He said that she needed the money,” Cohen recalled. “I didn’t come up with this number.”

Daniels signed her NDA with Cohen in late October 2016, and he wired the hush money to a client-trust account for Davidson, the Journal reported.

Davidson has mostly kept quiet about his role in Daniels’ payout, which was exposed by the Journal in January, and the McDougal contract.

One month later, Davidson suggested to a New York magazine scribe working on a profile about him that they should contact his legal opponents for comment.

His first suggestion for comment was Michael Cohen, who called him “a true gentleman.”

“Keith Davidson… is a tireless advocate for his clients,” Cohen told the reporter in an email. “In each and every interaction I’ve ever had with him, he has always been professional, ethical and a true gentleman.”

Davidson, during his CNN interview, said he met with Cohen at least once this year. In their last conversation, Cohen called and told Davidson he believed Daniels and McDougal waived their attorney-client privilege by speaking to the media.

Asked why he agreed to go on TV, Davidson said, “I’d like the truth to come out. To the extent that I can assist in that endeavor, that’s really why I’m here.”

“Is the whole truth out yet?” Sidner asked. “I don’t believe so,” Davidson concluded. “I think most of it. Not the whole truth.”
https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-sex-t ... umps-women
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Re: Michael Cohen

Postby seemslikeadream » Wed Apr 25, 2018 11:15 am

Should Trump pardon Cohen?

When President Donald Trump was asked this week about the much discussed possibility of a pardon for his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, Trump snapped back “Stupid question.” While insulting for the White House press corps, it must have been a welcomed response for the White House counsel.

Despite indications that Trump has been looking into the use of his pardon authority (and may have laid a foundation with his recent pardoning of former Bush administration official Scooter Libby), a pardon for Cohen would not deliver either Trump or Cohen entirely out of harm’s way. And it could make things far, far worse.

A pardon would certainly fit the profile of “fixer” Cohen, who rarely relied on the legal process to achieve his goals. Cohen often threatened people with lawsuits but rarely actually filed them. Indeed, the one defamation lawsuit he filed against Fusion GPS and BuzzFeed was dropped last week. What Cohen offered Donald Trump was not legal ability but absolute loyalty. However, much like Cohen’s other “fixes,” this move would be both short-sighted and self-defeating.
For a year, some of us have cautioned Trump that Cohen represents a growing threat to his presidency and that he should sever contact with him. Instead, Trump brought Cohen even closer with a recent dinner at Mar-a-Lago, glowing tweets and a public statement that he remains his attorney and speaks for him. In the meantime, Cohen has made wrong move after wrong move – maximizing the risk to Trump and himself. This includes the colossally stupid move to take the bait of Michael Avenatti, Stormy Daniels’ attorney, and entering the California case to enforce Cohen’s flawed non-disclosure agreement. Cohen simply could have defaulted or waived. Instead, he put himself and his client into litigation (and possible discovery) with a former porn star and a veteran litigator.

Trump may have followed his instinct that, by keeping Cohen close, he could reaffirm that anything Cohen knew would be covered by attorney-client privilege. If so, he did not consult with a competent lawyer. Cohen undermined Trump’s confidentiality defenses in every possible way. The key to using attorney-client privilege is to secure the services of an attorney who can maintain clear lines of representation and confidentiality. Instead, Trump picked Cohen. With privilege arguments waning, pardon arguments have surged.

The problem with the pardon strategy is that it may succeed in the impossible of being both too early and too late. In pardons, timing is everything, and the timing could not be worse for Trump and Cohen. If Trump is looking for a Goldilocks pardon that’s “just right,” he will not find it here.

Trump can certainly pardon Cohen for prior federal crimes. Indeed, the pardon power under Article II, Section 2, covers not just pardons but commutations, conditional commutations, as well as remissions of fines and forfeitures, respites, and amnesties. However, these acts cover past, not future, crimes; a president cannot bestow immunity upon an individual who can then violate federal law with impunity.

Thus, Trump can pardon Cohen for uncharged crimes that he committed but with which he has not been charged, let alone convicted. That would not prevent prosecutors from calling Cohen to a grand jury or trial to testify under oath. Cohen could invoke the Fifth Amendment but a strong argument could be made that a pardon eliminates the threat of “self-incrimination” – thereby barring use of the Fifth Amendment. Any contempt or false testimony or obstruction could still be charged as a new crime, requiring Trump to daisy-chain pardons which would push him further toward an impeachment.

Then there is the possibility of state charges. States remain “separate sovereigns” and Article II only allows Trump to pardon for “Offences against the United States.” Last week, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, a Democrat, called for a change in state law to allow state charges even in cases where a defendant is the recipient of a pardon. Since Cohen reportedly is being investigated for crimes that could be brought under both federal and state codes (including alleged crimes related to his taxi medallion business and bank fraud), such charges are a real possibility.

Finally, there is the problem that prosecutors seized a trove of material linked to Cohen’s business and legal dealings, including reportedly taped conversations with clients and associates. Such recordings without consent would be presumptively unethical and clearly reckless, but this is Cohen. A pardon will not require such material to be returned to Cohen so long as it is relevant to a criminal case. Unless Cohen is the only possible defendant tied to the evidence, this material could still be deemed material to an ongoing investigation in New York or Washington. Moreover, state prosecutors routinely share evidence with federal prosecutors.

A pardon could well diminish any inclination of Cohen to “flip” against the president. Prosecutors would have less to offer. Yet, a pardon also would fall short of everything Cohen needs; he would remain a “fix-it man” in a fix.

Thus, the “stupid question” at the White House should not be about the possibility but the contemplation of a pardon. From the outset, the greatest threats to Trump have come from self-inflicted wounds; this would be one of them. With one or both houses of Congress poised to change hands, Trump needs to think less of the still unlikely prospect of prosecution for collusion and more about the rising danger of impeachment.

A pardon for Cohen for crimes unrelated to the Russian investigation would lay the foundation for an impeachment push after the midterm elections. While Trump would not be without defenses to such an impeachment count, it fits a narrative of obstruction for his critics. Moreover, even it is not ultimately considered a high crime and misdemeanor, it would still be wrong. Just as Bill Clinton abused the pardon power by using it for his brother as well as a fugitive Democratic donor, Trump would abuse this power by using it to protect a personal friend and business associate.

So the president is right about the stupidity of the pardon question – so long as he remembers, as Forrest Gump warned, “stupid is as stupid does.”
http://thehill.com/opinion/white-house/ ... eE.twitter
Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
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Re: Michael Cohen

Postby seemslikeadream » Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:08 pm

Michael Avenatti

This is a stunning development. Never before in our nation’s history has the attorney for the sitting President invoked the 5th Amend in connection with issues surrounding the President. It is esp. stunning seeing as MC served as the “fixer” for Mr. Trump for over 10 yrs. #basta
Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
User avatar
Posts: 32090
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2005 11:28 pm
Location: into the black
Blog: View Blog (83)


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