Michael Cohen

Moderators: DrVolin, 82_28, Elvis, Jeff

Re: Michael Cohen

Postby seemslikeadream » Fri Jun 01, 2018 4:00 pm

Michael Avenatti: Trump Won't Tweet at Me Because 'He Knows I'll Hand Him His Ass'

Stormy Daniels' lawyer talks the case, the president, and some of his recent stumbles.

BY JACK HOLMES
JUN 1, 2018
320
Getty ImagesKevin Peralta
Donald J. Trump is a constant drumbeat in our collective consciousness. His drive—and unique ability—to insert himself into everything in search of attention and notoriety knows no bounds. This allows him to constantly shape the conversation and fight his battles, including legal ones, on terrain he knows well: the papers and the airwaves. There's a theory that the best way to take him on is not through a traditional, tight-lipped special counsel investigation like Robert Mueller's, but by finding someone who knows the battlefield—and how to dig a trench.

Enter Michael Avenatti, attorney-at-law. The Sacramento native built a public profile over the last few years trying big-dollar cases against corporate behemoths. But it's his prior experience in politics—including working at Rahm Emmanuel's firm while coming up—that has perhaps served him best on his current assignment, representing one Stephanie Clifford (d/b/a Stormy Daniels) in her case against President Donald Trump and his certified brain genius of a lawyer, Michael Cohen.


Getty Images
Nominally, the lawsuit seeks to void a nondisclosure agreement Clifford signed just before the election in which Cohen paid her $130,000 out of a Delaware-based LLC he set up in exchange for her silence about an alleged affair with the president. But the suspicion is that it's become about a whole lot more—including some of Cohen's other dealings with that LLC, known as "Essential Consultants."

Avenatti is harnessing the same forces as his opponent, the President of the United States, working a thirsty media for the coverage he needs in a titanic public relations battle against one of the all-time consumers of oxygen. (We at Esquire can always appreciate the introduction of an exciting new character to the national drama.) He's a staple of late-night monologues, a lightning rod for the enraged MAGA faithful, and an emerging talisman of the #Resistance movement—despite his expressed reluctance.

In a fight against a man who is truly everywhere, Avenatti is, at the very least, in a great many places at once.


Getty Images


The spotlight has also brought scrutiny on Avenatti, and a court's $10 million judgment against him last week in a dispute with an ex-employee at his former firm has seen him answering some unwanted questions. So, too, did a New York Times report Friday suggesting Avenatti sought funding for the Daniels case from networks of Democratic donors, in contrast to his previous claims they did not seek money from major donors to avoid politicizing the case. That last part has always been inevitable—as has some of his response to the negative coverage:


After all, the guy knows the battlefield. If you gaze long into the abyss, and all that. Still, Avenatti remains one of the great thorns in the Trumpian side, and seemingly a genuine believer that the behavior of the president and his lawyer with respect to Avenatti's own client is of vital public interest.

During a series of phone conversations, Avenatti talked with Esquire about his setbacks, the case against the president, the president's bully tactics, and a whole lot more. The interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.

The president tweets at everyone who crosses him. Why hasn't he tweeted at you?

He can't handle a direct confrontation with me. He knows that I'll hand him his ass.

So you think he's afraid of you?

I do. And I think he should be.

How do you think he chooses his targets then?

He chooses targets that he perceives to be weak. Like most bullies.

What do all the president's pardons this week say about his attitude towards the law?

He has no respect for the rule of law. He's lived his entire life as if he is above the rule of law, and you've seen that belief manifest itself in the way that he has conducted himself, including by way of his use of pardons.


Getty Images


Do you think The New York Times report today contradicts what you'd previously said, that you hadn't sought out funding from Democratic networks?

Well, first of all, what The New York Times is reporting never happened. To be clear. We've turned down over $200,000 from Republican donors looking to harm the president. And we never stated that we had not sought the money. Although, we haven't sought the money, just to be clear about that.

So you're saying it's factually incorrect that you sought it out?

We did not seek out the money, we've turned down over $200,000 from Republican donors. It's a bunch of nonsense. All the money that we have raised has been raised by CrowdJustice.

And that was always your intent, or would you have accepted some of these donor networks' money to begin with?

No, that was always our intent.

What does this new audio of Cohen threatening a reporter say about how he and his client did business?

It's disgraceful. The word choice and hearing the actual audio recording is very powerful in that it gives you insight into how Michael Cohen conducted himself when representing Mr. Trump. Remember, this is how he conducted himself when speaking to a reporter, that he knew could report on the conversation. Imagine the type of thuggish tactics and language that Michael Cohen would have used on behalf of Mr. Trump when he was talking to somebody that wasn't a reporter.


Did you identify early on that this case would be fought in the press? What brought you to that conclusion?

I did identify early on that this was going to be a two front war. It's a very unusual case in that regard, especially because of the high stakes involved in it, as well as the parties involved. Those stakes have only grown exponentially with each passing week as it relates to the disclosure of information concerning Michael Cohen, Essential Consultants, Mr. Trump's role, and knowledge as it relates to the NDA, et cetera.

"HE HAS NO RESPECT FOR THE RULE OF LAW. HE'S LIVED HIS ENTIRE LIFE AS IF HE IS ABOVE THE RULE OF LAW."


You uncovered some more on Essential Consultants. Do you think that as you've been investigating, your role has become about more than just Ms. Clifford's claims?

A lot of people have sought to place me in the position as the leader of the anti-Trump movement. That is not something that I have aspired to. It's not something that I've requested. I'm a guy doing a job for a client and thus far, I've done a very good job for my client, and I'm going to continue to do so. If there are ancillary benefits and results to other people, as a result of me doing my job, so be it.


Getty Images
But you do oppose this presidency, right?

At this juncture, I oppose the president lying to the American people. I oppose the president lying about what happened vis-a-vis my client and I oppose the president lying about paying him on Air Force One, and claiming that he knew nothing of the payment, only to have Mr. Giuliani then appear on national television and completely undercut that position by admitting that the president knew everything about the payment. I oppose the president and his personal fixer, Michael Cohen, selling access to the highest office in the land without proper disclosure. There's a whole host of things that I oppose.

Speaking of Giuliani, why do the lawyers you come up against keep making so many mistakes?

This is one of the great mysteries of this case. Frankly, I am shocked at the complete level of incompetence exhibited by lawyer after lawyer for Mr. Cohen and Mr. Trump. It is astounding to me that with all the lawyers in America, these are the best they can find, and I think it speaks volumes as to the lack of respect that both Mr. Trump and Mr. Cohen command when dealing with professionals and people of a significant intellectual capacity.

"FRANKLY, I AM SHOCKED AT THE COMPLETE LEVEL OF INCOMPETENCE EXHIBITED BY LAWYER AFTER LAWYER FOR MR. COHEN AND MR. TRUMP."



I'm used to litigating against incredibly competent, high quality lawyers that are very good chess players. I have, in my career, never before seen anything approximating the sheer level of incompetence that I've witnessed on the other side in these cases. It's quite staggering, and it's the biggest surprise that I've had during this entire process over the last three months.

Do other lawyers not want to get involved because of the clients? Because they think it's not a winnable case?

I don't think people want their reputations soiled by the representation of Mr. Cohen or Mr. Trump. People are concerned about ultimately getting paid and ultimately; I think that professionals are concerned that Mr. Cohen and Mr. Trump can't be trusted. I think they're correct in all of those thoughts.

Do you think that Mr. Trump knows what's illegal or immoral and he doesn't care? Or, do you think he struggles to even see those distinctions?



Oh, I think he understands the distinctions, but he just doesn't give a shit.

And what about Cohen? Is he just getting ordered around?

Well, I would echo the same comments that I made relating to Trump. He clearly knows what is right and wrong, and again, just doesn't give a shit, does what he wants to do, believes that he can get away with it, believes that he's above the law, and it's about to come back and bite him in a very big way.


Getty Images

What does it say that they were up to all this before Trump even ran for president, but they still had the audacity to get in probably the most scrutinized arena possible?

It tells me that they have no respect for the rule of law and they're not very smart.

"HE CAN'T HANDLE A DIRECT CONFRONTATION WITH ME. HE KNOWS THAT I'LL HAND HIM HIS ASS."

You tweeted last week: "If I have to sacrifice my reputation and livelihood to disclose evidence to the public, and have justice served, so be it." How would you have to sacrifice your reputation in this process?

We've seen in the last two weeks the concentrated effort by individuals that are trying to protect this president. We've seen a concentrated effort by them to attempt to destroy me on a personal level, destroy my career, intimidate me into shutting up, intimidate my client into packing up and going home. What I meant by that tweet was, it's not going to work. We are in this for the long haul and we're going to see it through to the end and let the chips fall where they may.

You've characterized coverage of the $10 million judgment against you as your critics' attempt at distracting from the case. Why isn't this relevant?

No, there's no legitimate reason. It's completely irrelevant. It's ridiculous, it has nothing to do with the case, or cases. The most clear example of a personal attack is being one-sided and designed to take us out of the game is the fact that they have been targeted to only one attorney who is representing a party in these cases, and that would be me.


Getty Images



Obviously, this case has huge political implications, and your background is political. You worked at Rahm Emmanuel's firm coming up—what did you learn there that's served you on a case like this?

I worked at Rahm Emanuel's firm for a very brief period of time. He left the firm in '92 to go to work for Bill Clinton. The firm then splintered off into a number of series of smaller firms. I worked with a number of those firms. I ended up working on over 150 political campaigns in 42 states, over a third of those were for Republicans. I want to be clear about that. Approximately two-thirds were for Democrats, so, I worked on both sides of the aisle, across the United States. There's no question that the skills that I learned working on those campaigns for Republicans and Democrats have served me in connection with this case, at least as it relates to dealing with the media.

"NO, THERE'S NO LEGITIMATE REASON. IT'S COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT. IT'S RIDICULOUS."
Where does this case end up for you? Is the president impeached? What is justice in your eyes?

Justice in my eyes is the NDA is invalidated and Donald Trump and Michael Cohen have to pay for their defamatory statements about my client, for calling her a liar, for defaming her. Then, justice further ends with full disclosure of the banking records, and other evidence, and information related to Michael Cohen's conduct as it relates to Essential Consultants, LLC., and where that money went. That is justice.

You said that you've been in contact with other women who have similar stories to Miss Clifford's. One of them, I think you said, has backed away, because she doesn't want to deal with the spotlight. Were you actively seeking them out, and how similar are they? Is it the same agreement, or is it just the same kind of thing?

Well, I'm not at liberty to get into the details, because I don't have clearance from those prospective clients. We have not actively solicited anyone. Again, these are individuals that contacted our office following the filing of Miss Daniels' case. As a result of our media appearances, and as a result of them coming to the belief that we could be trusted.


Getty Images


There's a lot of speculation that the RNC deputy finance chairman who also used Essential Consultants to pay off a Playboy model who'd had his child was just sort of a fall guy. Do you believe he was really the one who had the affair?

I'll say this, at this juncture, there are very serious questions as to whether that payment at the end of the day was made on the behalf of Mr. Broidy, and I'll leave it at that.

You said this week you have confirmed Michael Cohen kept recordings of his conversations, at least one of which features the president's voice, which you're calling the Trump Tapes. Why are you so interested in these tapes?

First of all, I'm interested in the tapes as it relates to the extent that those tapes disclose attorney client privilege information that belongs to my client, those tapes need to be provided to me, and returned to my client through me immediately. Secondly, to the extent that there are tapes relating to potential criminal conduct or a conspiracy between Michael Cohen and Mr. Trump, I think those tapes are highly, highly, highly relevant and should be disclosed to the American people, so they can make a determination as to whether there was anything nefarious or not.


Getty Images
Why would tapes between Trump and his lawyer have your client's privileged information? Is it because, at the time, she was represented by a lawyer who worked with Cohen in all kinds of these deals?

Correct.

The existence of these tapes is still unconfirmed. How did you learn about them?

I'm not at liberty to disclose how we learned initially of the tape's existence, but the existence of the tapes has been confirmed first by a reporter who contacted me last week, and then most recently by Mr. Ryan's comments in court yesterday.


Would their disclosure potentially be a turning point?

The disclosure of the existence of this case and subsequently the disclosure of the actually content of the tapes will prove to be a seminal moment not only for Mr. Cohen, but for the presidency of the United States.

You know definitively that the president's voice is on these tapes, or at least one?

Correct.

Do you believe they could have been discussing the payment to your client?

Yeah, I'm not going to answer that question.

Are you comfortable with people branding you a Resistance hero?


It's not on my radar. I'll just say I don't consider myself a hero, because I don't think I've done anything, yet. Keyword on yet.

https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/a ... aid-of-me/



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxHz18_LQIM
seemslikeadream
 
Posts: 27807
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2005 11:28 pm
Location: into the black
Blog: View Blog (83)

Re: Michael Cohen

Postby seemslikeadream » Sat Jun 02, 2018 4:33 pm

“If you thought the audio released yesterday of thug Cohen berating and threatening Tim Mak was disturbing and disgusting, wait until the #TrumpTapes are made public. A whole different level.”

- Michael Avenatti
seemslikeadream
 
Posts: 27807
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2005 11:28 pm
Location: into the black
Blog: View Blog (83)

Re: Michael Cohen

Postby seemslikeadream » Fri Jun 08, 2018 8:05 pm

Was Viktor Vekselberg Bankrolling Michael Cohen’s Pro-Russia Peace Plan for Ukraine?

A bombshell report suggests Cohen’s lucrative “consulting” contract was actually tied to the Russian oligarch’s intention to fund the promotion of a plan to lift economic sanctions on Russia.

Abigail Tracy
June 8, 2018 11:30 am

Cohen is hounded by the press as he returns to court in NYC on May 30th.
By Spencer Platt/Getty Images.
The revelation that Robert Mueller subpoenaed a bit player in the Trump-Russia melodrama, Andrii Artemenko, to appear before a Virginia grand jury last month went largely unnoticed. But among careful observers of the escalating F.B.I. probe, the development was significant. Artemenko, after all, is the Ukrainian politician who worked alongside Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, and Felix Sater, a Russian-born real-estate developer with ties to both Trump and organized crime, to hand-deliver a Kremlin-approved peace plan to former national security adviser Mike Flynn shortly after the inauguration. “What this is is another strand. It’s another person who I believe the investigators suspect is, or has been in the past, acting as a de facto agent for the Russian government, having significant policy political communications with the Trump organization,” Patrick Cotter, a former assistant U.S. Attorney and longtime white-collar defense attorney, told me at the time. Trump biographer Tim O’Brien suggested that Artemenko’s entanglement in the Mueller probe signaled that the special counsel might be “trying to look for quid pro quos that involve the exchange of either business favors or money to people in Trump’s orbit, or Trump himself, in exchange for policy shifts.”

Cohen and Artemenko have dismissed the notion that their effort to forge peace between Russia and Ukraine was driven by anything other than altruism. “Who doesn’t want to help bring about peace?” Cohen quipped to The New York Times, which first reported on the clandestine effort. (Cohen has vigorously denied delivering the plan to Flynn, though not his involvement in crafting it.) But a new report suggests that the peace scheme was not incentivized by Good Samaritan-ship alone: Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg, recently in the news for his connection to a half-million-dollar payment to Cohen, might also have been bankrolling the endeavor.

Curt Weldon, a former congressman whose Russian ties have drawn congressional attention and who has known Artemenko for more than a decade, let slip that bombshell in conversation with a source, according to The Atlantic’s Natasha Bertrand. Weldon, this source recalled, was incensed that the Times had exposed the Artemenko-Cohen-Sater plan, and Flynn’s alleged involvement. “We were so close,” Weldon reportedly said. The source added: “He said [he and Artemenko] had already secured funding for the promotion of the plan from Viktor Vekselberg’s fund in New York City.” (Vekselberg could not be reached for comment by The Atlantic.)

Vekselberg’s alleged connection to the peace-plan operation adds another layer to an already-complicated subplot of the Russia investigation. The source told Bertrand that Weldon was indeed referring to Columbus Nova, the same U.S. investment arm of the Renova Group—an investment conglomerate Vekselberg founded in 1990—that was recently reported to have funneled more than $500,000 over a seven-month period in 2017 to Essential Consultants, the limited liability company Cohen set up in the final months of the 2016 election. While Columbus Nova confirmed that it had hired Cohen as a consultant, it has sought to distance itself from Vekselberg. “Columbus Nova itself is not now, and has never been, owned by any foreign entity or person including Viktor Vekselberg or the Renova Group,” the company said in a statement, which omitted that Vekselberg is the cousin of its C.E.O., Andrew Intrater. (In a statement to The Atlantic, Weldon said, “I have never met Viktor Vekselburg [sic] and am not aware of any peace plan that he would have funded.”)

That Vekselberg might have backed the Ukrainian peace plan raises further questions about the Columbus Nova payment to Cohen and the role the president’s attorney played as a surrogate of the Trump campaign during and after the election. As Cotter told me last month, “If you wanted influence with Trump, you went through Michael Cohen.” And notably, Vekselberg, who was questioned by Mueller’s team earlier this year in the Trump-Russia probe, would have been a victor if the peace plan had come to fruition. According to the Times, the proposal, written by Artemenko, outlined how Trump could lift U.S. sanctions against Moscow as part of a settlement of the Ukraine crisis that also involved allowing Russia to “lease” the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine for 50 to 100 years. Reuters reported in April that assets totaling between $1.5 billion and $2 billion were frozen as a result of sanctions imposed on Vekselberg and the Renova Group.
https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2018/06 ... ia-ukraine
seemslikeadream
 
Posts: 27807
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2005 11:28 pm
Location: into the black
Blog: View Blog (83)

Re: Michael Cohen

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Jun 11, 2018 12:32 pm

Trump lawyer’s help seems to have boosted Florida immigration firm: report
BY LUIS SANCHEZ - 06/11/18 08:53 AM EDT 10
29


Trump lawyer’s help seems to have boosted Florida immigration firm: report
© Getty Images
President Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen appears to have helped a Florida immigration firm earn millions after reaching out to Cohen last year, the Associated Press reported.

The immigration firm U.S. Immigration Fund (USIF), owned by Nicholas Mastroianni II, was threatened by a regulatory crackdown on the federal EB-5 program that gives foreigners permanent residency if they invest in certain U.S. real estate ventures, according to the AP.

The owner reached out to Cohen and the lawyer connected Mastroianni with a lobbying firm that paid Cohen for referrals.

While it is not clear what the lobbying firm did, the crackdown on the visa program fell apart soon after, according.



The end of the crackdown left USIF, the most successful visa broker operation in the U.S., to make millions in fees by acting as middlemen connecting U.S. companies to visa-seeking investors abroad. The firm says it has raised $3 billion for projects using the EB-5 program since 2010.

However, the proposed crackdown on the EB-5 program would have limited the program to struggling communities, which would not have been useful for USIF’s business.

At the time of the proposed crackdown, Mastroianni was in the middle of raising at least $700 million for several buildings in the New York City area, the AP reported.

Mastroianni has been connected to Trump associates before.

Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn reportedly investigated the real estate firm once ran by Trump adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner after an abandoned plan that would have seen USIF raise $150 million in China for Kushner's business, the AP reported.
http://thehill.com/homenews/administrat ... ation-firm
seemslikeadream
 
Posts: 27807
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2005 11:28 pm
Location: into the black
Blog: View Blog (83)

Re: Michael Cohen

Postby seemslikeadream » Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:35 am


Michael Avenatti

So after Mr. Ryan makes false accusations against me in fed court, he now abandons Mr. Cohen, withdraws, tucks his tail between his legs, & goes home? Just like David Schwartz before him!! Not a good look and a disaster for Mr. Cohen and Mr. Trump. #Basta

For those keeping track, approximately 57 days ago, I predicted that Mr. Cohen would be arrested and indicted within 90 days... I also stated it would pose a serious problem for Mr. Trump. #ClockTicking #Basta

I wonder how much Mr. Ryan and his colleagues at McDermott Will & Emery soaked Mr. Cohen for before they jumped ship. I estimate $350k-$500k a week (not a typo). I guess that wasn’t enough to buy loyalty to their client when the going got tough. #Basta


Ex-Trump lawyer Cohen likely to cooperate as his attorneys leave case: Sources


PHOTO: President Donald Trumps personal attorney Michael Cohen, right, leaves Federal Court, in New York, May 30, 2018, followed by members of his legal team, from left, Joseph Evans and Stephen Ryan.Richard Drew/AP
WATCH Who is Michael Cohen?

As attorneys for Michael Cohen rush to meet Judge Kimba Wood’s Friday deadline to complete a privilege review of over 3.7 million documents seized in the April 9 raids of Cohen’s New York properties and law office, a source representing this matter has disclosed to ABC News that the law firm handling the case for Cohen is not expected to represent him going forward.

To date, Cohen has been represented by Stephen Ryan and Todd Harrison of the Washington and New York firm, McDermott, Will & Emery LLP.

No replacement counsel has been identified as of this time.

Cohen, now with no legal representation, is likely to cooperate with federal prosecutors in New York, sources said. This development, which is believed to be imminent, will likely hit the , family members, staffers and counsels hard.

After the federal raids on Cohen’s properties, President Trump lashed out in a tweet, writing, “Attorney-client privilege is dead!”

He told reporters at the White House that the move against his longtime personal attorney, which he likened to a break-in, was a “disgraceful situation.”

“It’s an attack on our country in a true sense. It’s an attack on all we stand for,” the president said during a meeting with senior military leadership at the White House. “That is really now on a whole new level of unfairness.”

Cohen then went to federal court in Manhattan arguing that his attorneys should be given a first look at the materials seized in the raids for items potentially covered by attorney-client privilege before federal prosecutors could examine the haul.


Judge Wood subsequently appointed former federal judge Barbara Jones to act as a “special master” to conduct an impartial review of the materials and to referee any disputes between Cohen and the government. Trump and the Trump Organization intervened in the case and were also granted access to review the materials for potentially privileged items.

Jones reported last week that of the first 300,000 items reviewed, she had determined that just 162 of them were covered by attorney-client privilege. She rejected three items that Cohen, Trump or the Trump organization had designated as privileged.

Judge Wood has given Cohen’s attorneys until Friday to complete the review of the remaining documents. Any remaining items to be reviewed would be turned over to a team of federal prosecutors unconnected to the case to complete the examination of the documents.
https://abcnews.go.com/US/trump-lawyer- ... itter_abcn
seemslikeadream
 
Posts: 27807
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2005 11:28 pm
Location: into the black
Blog: View Blog (83)

Re: Michael Cohen

Postby stillrobertpaulsen » Wed Jun 13, 2018 5:47 pm

Gabriel Sherman

Person close to Cohen says he hasn’t flipped yet, “he’s sending up a smoke signal to Trump: I need help.”


Gary Armstrong

Source close to Michael Cohen: He expects to be arrested at any moment. His lawyers got a call from SDNY that they're preparing paperwork. He lined up an atty more suited to defend him & hasn’t flipped yet, “He’s sending up a smoke signal to Trump: I need help.” per @KatyTurNBC
"Huey Long once said, “Fascism will come to America in the name of anti-fascism.” I'm afraid, based on my own experience, that fascism will come to America in the name of national security."
-Jim Garrison 1967
User avatar
stillrobertpaulsen
 
Posts: 2353
Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2009 2:43 pm
Location: California
Blog: View Blog (37)

Re: Michael Cohen

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu Jun 14, 2018 8:14 pm


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hn_SlXrYICg


Prosecutors Investigating Michael Cohen for Possible Illegal Lobbying

Manhattan prosecutors have contacted AT&T, Novartis over dealings with Donald Trump’s lawyer

Drew FitzGerald June 14, 2018 5:44 p.m. ET


Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are investigating whether Michael Cohen, the longtime personal lawyer for Donald Trump, illegally engaged in secret lobbying, people familiar with the investigation said, as part of the government’s broader probe into Mr. Cohen’s business dealings.

In the course of that investigation, the prosecutors have contacted companies that hired Mr. Cohen as a consultant after Mr. Trump won the 2016 presidential election, including AT&T Inc. and Novartis AG , according to other people familiar with the matter. The companies paid a total of about $1.8 million to Mr. Cohen in 2017 and early 2018 for his insights into the Trump administration.

Investigators in the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York are examining whether Mr. Cohen violated any federal disclosure laws in connection with his consulting deals, including whether he lobbied for domestic or foreign clients without properly registering, the people familiar with the investigation said.

Federal prosecutors in New York have been investigating Mr. Cohen for bank fraud, campaign-finance violations and other possible crimes, The Wall Street Journal has previously reported. Mr. Cohen hasn’t been charged with any crime, but the array of possible charges against Mr. Cohen could put additional pressure on him to cooperate with prosecutors, according to defense lawyers.

Mr. Cohen has previously denied any wrongdoing. Neither he nor his lawyer, Stephen Ryan, responded to a request for comment.

Mr. Cohen has never registered as a domestic or foreign lobbyist, according to federal databases. Under federal law, individuals are required to file a federal disclosure form if they contact public officials to try to influence specific policies or legislation on behalf of their clients. Individuals lobbying on behalf of foreign governments must register with the Justice Department. Violating this law carries penalties of up to five years in prison.

Companies commonly hire consultants to explain new presidential administrations, and such consultants can work for clients without registering as lobbyists as long as they avoid pitching elected officials to adopt specific policies.

Special counsel Robert Mueller contacted Novartis, which is based in Basel, Switzerland, and Dallas-based AT&T late last year in the course of his investigation into whether Mr. Trump’s associates colluded with Russia to interfere in the 2016 elections, both companies have said. The companies have said they cooperated with his requests and considered the matters closed. Mr. Trump has repeatedly said there was no collusion between his campaign and Russia.

In April, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents raided Mr. Cohen’s office, home and hotel room in New York, seizing millions of documents and more than a dozen electronic devices belonging to Mr. Cohen, according to court documents.

Evidence from the seized materials and the public disclosure last month of the companies’ contracts with Mr. Cohen likely led federal prosecutors to seek more information from AT&T and Novartis. The companies were contacted by Manhattan federal prosecutors in recent weeks, people familiar with the matter said.

Mr. Cohen entered into the consulting agreements with the two companies using the Delaware-registered company Essential Consultants LLC, the same entity through which he arranged a secret payment of $130,000 to former adult film star Stephanie Clifford—professionally known as Stormy Daniels—in exchange for her silence about an alleged sexual encounter with Mr. Trump. Mr. Trump has denied any such encounter took place.

After the 2016 election, Mr. Cohen was among a handful of longtime Trump aides shopping their access to the White House as companies sought inroads to the new administration.

Mr. Cohen pitched himself aggressively, telling prospective clients they should fire their strategic advisers and hire him because “I have the best relationship with the president on the outside,” according to a person familiar with his approach, The Wall Street Journal previously reported.

Novartis, one of the world’s largest drug companies by sales, paid Mr. Cohen $100,000 a month for the 12 months ending in February, for a total of $1.2 million. The company believed Mr. Cohen could help it understand “how the Trump administration might approach U.S. health-care policy matters,” a spokeswoman said last month.

Novartis executives realized early on that Mr. Cohen couldn’t help with health policy but continued to pay him because his 12-month contract could be terminated only for cause, the spokeswoman has said.

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan haven’t interviewed any Novartis employees, and the requests were focused on Mr. Cohen rather than any conduct at Novartis, a person familiar with the matter said. The company is cooperating with the U.S. attorney’s office, the person said.

Novartis’s general counsel, Felix Ehrat, stepped down over the payments, saying in May that although “the contract was legally in order, it was an error.”

AT&T paid Mr. Cohen’s company $600,000 from 2017 to early this year for “insights into understanding the new administration.” The company has said Mr. Cohen’s company “did no legal or lobbying work for us.”

AT&T hired Mr. Cohen as it was seeking government approval for an $85 billion takeover of Time Warner Inc. The Justice Department later sued to block the deal. A federal judge ruled against the government on Tuesday, paving the way for the acquisition to close. Aside from mentioning the acquisition, Mr. Cohen’s contract with the company also called for consulting on other legislative and regulatory matters.

Last week the Justice Department said department officials had no known contact with Mr. Cohen regarding the deal.

Randall Stephenson, AT&T’s chief executive, told employees last month that hiring Mr. Cohen was a “big mistake.” Bob Quinn, who oversaw Mr. Cohen’s contract as the company’s policy chief, was forced to leave over the payments to Mr. Cohen, the Journal has previously reported.

Mr. Cohen also expressed interest in pitching foreign governments, the Journal previously reported, and sought money from Qatar officials on at least two occasions.

In December 2016, he solicited $1 million from Ahmed al-Rumaihi, who at the time was head of the Qatar Investment Authority’s investment division, Mr. al-Rumaihi told the Journal. Mr. Cohen was also hired recently by a major donor to Mr. Trump’s inauguration to pitch a nuclear-power investment to the Qatar Investment Authority, according to people familiar with the matter. Qatar has said the state has never been a client of Mr. Cohen.

Other Trump associates have been investigated for foreign lobbying violations. Former national security adviser Mike Flynn, as part of his guilty plea for lying to the FBI, has admitted to false statements and omissions made in his forms disclosing his lobbying for Turkey. Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former campaign aide Rick Gates were both charged by Mr. Mueller’s office with failing to register as foreign lobbyists for their work with Ukrainian politicians.

Mr. Manafort has pleaded not guilty to that charge and other charges, ahead of a September trial in Washington. Mr. Gates pleaded guilty in February to two other charges.

Write to Nicole Hong at nicole.hong@wsj.com, Jonathan D. Rockoff at Jonathan.Rockoff@wsj.com and Drew FitzGerald at andrew.fitzgerald@wsj.com
https://www.wsj.com/articles/prosecutor ... ge=1&pos=1


Cohen signals openness to cooperating with federal investigators
Kara Scannell

(CNN)President Donald Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen has indicated to family and friends he is willing to cooperate with federal investigators to alleviate the pressure on himself and his family, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Cohen has expressed anger with the treatment he has gotten from the President, who has minimized his relationship with Cohen, and comments from the President's lawyer Rudy Giuliani, the source said. The treatment has left him feeling isolated and more open to cooperating, the source said.

Asked by reporters Friday if he was worried about Cohen cooperating, Trump said, "I did nothing wrong, nothing wrong." He also said he hasn't spoken with Cohen "in a long time," adding, "I always liked Michael and he's a good person."

CBS News reported Thursday that Cohen believes Trump and his allies are turning against him.
Giuliani calls for halt of Mueller probe after Justice Department report
Cohen is under criminal investigation by the US attorney's office in Manhattan for his personal financial dealings, including the payment he made to porn star Stormy Daniels on Trump's behalf before the election.

Pressure on Cohen has been building since an April FBI raid on his home, office and hotel room when agents seized over a dozen electronic devices and multiple boxes of documents.

It isn't known which particular remarks by the President or his allies have irked Cohen -- or if it is the totality of them -- but tensions have grown since the FBI raid.

Michael Cohen seeks restraining order to stop Stormy Daniels' lawyer from speaking to the press
Cohen has not met with prosecutors to discuss any potential deal. He is currently seeking new lawyers with the goal to find a legal team with experience appearing before judges in the Southern District of New York and working with the US attorney's office in Manhattan, CNN reported earlier this week. If Cohen does cooperate with investigators, it isn't clear what specific information he would provide. But the President's longtime "fixer" has worked inside the Trump Organization for a decade and was involved with, among other things, discussions to brand a Trump Tower in Moscow.

The switch in legal team comes as Cohen's lawyers have until today to finish reviewing 3.7 million files seized in the FBI raid for attorney-client privilege. A person familiar with the review process said Cohen's lawyer will meet the deadline. Cohen's attorney, reached on Thursday night, declined to comment.
https://www.cnn.com/2018/06/15/politics ... index.html




Michael Avenatti

Here is the Order the Court just issued denying Mr. Cohen emergency relief as it relates to trying to gag me. The Court found he and Mr. Blakely failed to show any need for immediate relief. #Basta

Image

For over 12 yrs, Mr. Cohen and his boss Mr. Trump have routinely tried to “shut people up” and hide the truth through intimidation & threats. Reporters, judges, adversaries, attys. The motion is right out of their playbook. And their assault on the 1st Amendment continues. #Basta

The motion for a gag order is a complete joke and baseless. Mr. Cohen and Brent Blakely can’t deal with the truth, the facts, and the law, so they have to resort to unethical, meritless motions. This must be their birthday present to Mr. Trump. #Basta

We just learned that Mr. Cohen and his atty, Brent Blakely, are going to file a motion seeking to have the court issue a gag order preventing me & others from providing info & docs to the media and the public. They want it all hidden. Is this ok? Will the media permit it? #Basta




Michael Avenatti

See below - just filed in the search warrant case. The second and third bullets could pose a huge problem for Mr. Cohen and ultimately Mr. Trump (especially the third bullet)!!BTW, so much for encryption protection! #Basta
Image
seemslikeadream
 
Posts: 27807
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2005 11:28 pm
Location: into the black
Blog: View Blog (83)

Re: Michael Cohen

Postby seemslikeadream » Fri Jun 15, 2018 10:41 pm

‘What’s He Doing Here?’: Inside Trump’s Turbulent Relationship With Michael Cohen

At the Trump Organization, the future president appreciated lawyer’s loyalty but doubted his professional abilities and judgment; a big pay cut

Joe Palazzolo and June 15, 2018 7:19 a.m. ET
By
Rebecca Ballhaus,
Michael Rothfeld,
Alexandra Berzon
Donald Trump summoned senior aides to his 26th floor office at Trump Tower around 2009 for an unpleasant task: persuade Michael Cohen —a top lawyer at his company—to resign, according to one of the aides.

Mr. Trump’s frustration had reached a breaking point, the aide said. Mr. Cohen wasn’t getting things done and Mr. Trump didn’t believe he was a good fit at the Trump Organization, even though he liked him and didn’t want to fire him. “What’s he doing here?” Mr. Trump demanded.

The message was relayed to Mr. Cohen. Visibly upset, Mr. Cohen pushed back. “I will try to prove myself,” Mr. Cohen replied, a person familiar with the matter said.

Mr. Trump eventually dropped the issue, but not before dealing another blow to Mr. Cohen by way of a big pay cut, slashing his annual income of more than $400,000 roughly in half, according to another person familiar with the matter.

The episodes, never previously reported, cast in new light the decade-long relationship between now-President Trump and Mr. Cohen. The lawyer found his niche as a fixer of some of Mr. Trump’s thornier problems, including playing the heavy with potential deal partners, and helping the real-estate developer write some of his meaner tweets.

Donald Trump tested the waters in New Hampshire for a possible presidential run in 2011 with Michael Cohen by his side.
Donald Trump tested the waters in New Hampshire for a possible presidential run in 2011 with Michael Cohen by his side. Photo: Getty Images

At the same time, Mr. Trump throughout held Mr. Cohen at arm’s length. Interviews with two dozen friends and acquaintances of the two men and others familiar with their relationship suggest Mr. Trump appreciated the unswerving loyalty. But he also came to doubt Mr. Cohen’s professional abilities and judgment.

From this improbable relationship comes an extraordinary test of how far Mr. Cohen’s loyalty will stretch, and whether Mr. Trump’s treatment of Mr. Cohen over the years will come back to bite him, jeopardizing them both in the process.

Federal authorities seized millions of files from Mr. Cohen during an April raid. They’re investigating potential campaign-finance violations and bank fraud surrounding, among other deals, Mr. Cohen’s October 2016 payment to Stephanie Clifford, the former adult-film star called Stormy Daniels, to keep her from discussing an alleged sexual encounter with Mr. Trump, according to people familiar with the matter.

Some allies of Mr. Trump have expressed concerns that Mr. Cohen, who is shopping for a new legal team, will cooperate with investigators—a decision that one person close to Mr. Cohen said he hadn’t yet made. The outcome is likely to determine how the final chapter of the 12-year-long relationship between the two men is written.

Mr. Cohen didn’t respond to a detailed request for comment, except to write back: “Your entire set of facts, as put forth below, lack any accuracy and demonstrate you are just another member of the fake news propaganda machine.”

The White House didn’t reply to requests for comment. Mr Trump told reporters on Friday: “I always liked Michael and he’s a good person,” adding that Mr. Cohen is no longer his lawyer and that they hadn’t spoken “in a long time.” Asked whether he’s worried Mr. Cohen would cooperate with authorities, Mr. Trump said: “No, I’m not worried because I did nothing wrong.”

The Trump-Cohen relationship began with real estate. Mr. Cohen bought an apartment in Trump World Tower, a 72-floor skyscraper near the United Nations, for a little more than $1 million in 2001, public property filings show. It was his first purchase in one of the glitzy Trump buildings and one of many by Mr. Cohen and relatives. His wife’s parents bought four other units at the same building.


Cohen’s Connections

In a lengthy relationship, Michael Cohen has bought apartments in Donald Trump's properties, negotiated deals for the Trump Organization and protected Trump from an allegation of a sexual encounter with a former adult-film actress.

Stephanie Clifford

Trump Properties

Trump Organization

2000

Cohen buys a Trump World Tower apartment for roughly $1 million and a unit in Trump Palace for $820,000.

Cohen buys an apartment at Trump Park Avenue for just under $5 million.

’05

Cohen starts working for the Trump Organization.

Cohen supports Trump in a condo board dispute at Trump World Tower.

Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels, and Trump allegedly have sex.

Cohen helps negotiate a deal between Trump and Affliction Entertainment.

Cohen is quoted in the New York Post calling Trump properties “solid investments.”

Trump has aides try to convince Cohen to resign. Cohen stays, with a steep pay cut.

’10

Cohen visits Iowa to explore the idea of a Trump presidency.

Cohen kills a magazine story about the alleged sexual encounter by threatening to sue Bauer Publishing.

’15

Cohen gets Trump to sign a letter of intent for a Trump-branded tower in Moscow. The deal does not pan out.

Cohen sells his Trump World Tower apartment for $3.3 million.

Cohen pays Clifford $130,000 on Trump’s behalf.

Trump is elected. Cohen returns to private practice, but remains Trump’s personal lawyer.

Cohen’s future on the Trump World Tower condo board is uncertain.

Sources: Staff reports; Getty Images (Trump Tower, Stephanie Clifford); Zuma Press (Trump World Tower);

Three years later, Mr. Cohen met Donald Trump Jr., Mr. Trump’s eldest son, as he sought to buy into the mogul’s newest building, Trump Park Avenue.

Messrs. Cohen and Trump Jr. hashed out the details at Geisha, a restaurant on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, said Greg Ehrlich, a friend at the time. Mr. Cohen agreed to buy and combine multiple units for just under $5 million. He and his wife closed on the apartment at 502 Park Avenue on Feb. 3, 2005. Donald Trump Jr. didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Mr. Cohen’s relationship with the elder Trump blossomed the next year, as he rallied to the developer’s side in a dispute with a condo board at Trump World Tower.

The row was over an assessment on condo owners that amounted to tens of thousands of dollars per unit. In 2003, the building’s board, then controlled by Mr. Trump, agreed to raise condo fees to pay the developer $30 million. The sum was compensation for legal fees and other expenses Mr. Trump incurred in two lawsuits against the city, including one that won the building a $94 million tax abatement.

Other condo owners bristled at the hefty fees, a former owner recalled. They gained a foothold on the board and moved to review and potentially undo the assessment.

Michael Cohen’s apartment in the Trump Park Avenue building was raided by federal agents earlier this year.
Michael Cohen’s apartment in the Trump Park Avenue building was raided by federal agents earlier this year. Photo: Seth Wenig/Associated Press

Mr. Trump sued the owners reviewing the assessment, accusing them of squandering condo resources. He recruited Mr. Cohen and others on his side to run for the seven-member condo board, culminating in a March 2006 vote in a packed church basement next door, current and former owners recalled.

Mr. Trump jabbed at his opponents, including board member Stephen Wolf, who had been chief executive of US Airways Group Inc. before the airline filed for bankruptcy. “What does he know? He ran his airline into the ground,” Mr. Trump said from the podium with Mr. Wolf nearby, according to several attendees. Mr. Wolf declined to comment.

Mr. Cohen, who sat with Mr. Trump at the meeting, stood to make a speech in support of quashing the board’s uprising, current and former owners said. “What are we doing as a group? What are we trying to accomplish?” Mr. Cohen asked, recalled Keith Kantrowitz, who attended and still lives there.

Mr. Trump’s slate of candidates, including Mr. Cohen, won seats on the board and preserved the assessment. Mr. Trump dismissed his lawsuit against the board members, requiring two of them to resign as a condition of a confidential settlement, a person familiar with the deal said.

Mr. Cohen and his wife by then had spent about $6.8 million to buy units in three Trump buildings. In February 2007, Mr. Cohen publicly promoted Mr. Trump, telling a New York Post reporter that “Trump properties are solid investments” for him and his relatives. Mr. Trump repaid the compliment.

“Michael Cohen has a great insight into the real-estate market,” he said. “He has invested in my buildings because he likes to make money—and he does.”

Three months later, Mr. Cohen went to work at the Trump Organization, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Top executives were told that Mr. Cohen, as an involved investor in his buildings, would be Mr. Trump’s “eyes and ears” and represent his interests to condo owners, a person familiar with the matter said. He was given an office and an executive vice president title, but the precise nature of his job wasn’t clear to others in the organization, including other lawyers.

Almost immediately, Mr. Trump tapped Mr. Cohen as his point man to buy an unfinished golf course development called Running Horse in Fresno, Calif., that was enmeshed in bankruptcy proceedings.

Lawyers for the developer who controlled the project recalled Mr. Cohen trying to coax them into a deal on unfavorable terms. “I would have guessed he had been Trump’s consigliere for 30 years,” said Harry Pascuzzi, one of the lawyers.

When his entreaties didn’t work, Mr. Pascuzzi said, Mr. Cohen told him Mr. Trump wanted to offer him a job as West Coast counsel. Mr. Pascuzzi, wanting to avoid a potential conflict of interest, told Mr. Cohen he’d accept the offer after the negotiations. “No, it’s got to be right now,” he said Mr. Cohen replied, withdrawing the offer.

Mr. Cohen aggressively promoted Mr. Trump’s message with radio appearances in Fresno and visited the area with Mr. Trump. They told the media, local politicians and residents that they could turn Fresno around, while threatening to walk away and vilifying the developer and his lawyers for refusing their offers.

“No one in the world other than Mr. Trump could make this project a success,” Mr. Cohen said publicly.

He was “a little heavy handed,” said Riley Walter, a bankruptcy lawyer who worked with the developer. “It’s not the way we do [deals] here in the Central Valley of California. You don’t have to use veiled threats.”

At one meeting, Mr. Pascuzzi said, Mr. Cohen participated by speakerphone from New York when he and Mr. Trump’s California lawyers decided to break off the negotiations for a day.

Mr. Cohen blew up. “He wanted it done right then and have us concede everything we were disputing,” Mr. Pascuzzi recalled. The lawyers ignored him and walked out of the room while Mr. Cohen ranted on the speakerphone.

They eventually struck an agreement, but Mr. Trump backed out, saying the local redevelopment zone wasn’t big enough to make the deal worthwhile, Mr. Pascuzzi said.

Back at the Trump Organization, Mr. Cohen appeared “star-struck” around Mr. Trump, so intent on pleasing him that colleagues questioned his judgment, some of them said. He was secretive about the work he was doing, they said, keeping others in the legal department in the dark about his projects and, unlike most of his colleagues, locking the door to his office at Trump Tower.

Some colleagues were puzzled by Mr. Cohen’s unending—and largely unrequited—affection for Mr. Trump. Mr. Cohen said Mr. Trump’s 1987 book, “The Art of the Deal,” was the only one he had ever read twice.

He helped negotiate several high-profile Trump deals, including a 2008 branding pact between Mr. Trump and Affliction Entertainment, a clothing line that branched into fight promotion. Thomas Atencio, Affliction’s former vice president, recalled having lunch with Mr. Cohen, who acted as Mr. Trump’s lawyer, a few times during the negotiations.

Donald Trump dabbled in fight promotion for a time, entering a branding pact with Affliction Entertainment.
Donald Trump dabbled in fight promotion for a time, entering a branding pact with Affliction Entertainment. Photo: Tiffany Rose/WireImage/Getty Images

It didn’t take long for Mr. Trump to grow skeptical of Mr. Cohen’s legal skills, people close to the company said. He doled out projects he had previously assigned to Mr. Cohen to others, the people said.

Mr. Trump routinely asked other lawyers to review documents Mr. Cohen drafted. “Why does someone else have to look at my work?” a former colleague said Mr. Cohen asked.

For a while, Mr. Cohen seemed on track to lead several Trump projects in the former Soviet Union. One brought in $1 million in the beginning stages of a licensing deal. But the effort later petered out.

He frequently battled Mr. Trump’s enemies. He killed a magazine story in mid-2011 about an alleged sexual encounter between Mr. Trump and Ms. Clifford, by threatening to sue Bauer Publishing. A few months later, after Ms. Clifford’s agent leaked the story to a gossip website, Bauer published a story anyway.

Not realizing the magazine had already gone to press, Mr. Cohen warned Bauer’s general counsel again in an email that unless he removed the “unsubstantiated” story, Mr. Trump “shall avail himself of every available remedy,” warning: “Guide yourself accordingly.” Mr. Trump didn’t sue.

One of Mr. Cohen’s roles was to tell outside lawyers Mr. Trump wasn’t going to pay them the amount they were seeking for billed services, according to several people who worked at the Trump Organization or were outside counsel for the company.

In 2011, he interceded after a Virginia lawyer, David Hopper, refused a request from Eric Trump, one of Mr. Trump’s sons, to reduce fees he was charging the Trump Organization by 70% for representation in a case involving a Trump family winery.

Mr. Hopper’s firm had said it would withdraw from the case, according to legal filings.

Later, Mr. Hopper got a call from Mr. Cohen, whom he’d never heard from before, a person familiar with the matter said. Mr. Cohen, friendly at first, asked the firm not to withdraw while still accepting the lower fees, according to a legal filing by Mr. Hopper. When Mr. Hopper refused, Mr. Cohen warned him that the firm should expect very bad publicity unless it reconsidered, according to the filing.

Michael Cohen bought an apartment Trump World Tower in 2001.
Michael Cohen bought an apartment Trump World Tower in 2001. Photo: Alan Schein/Image Source/ZUMA PR
The Trump Organization denied in court filings Mr. Cohen had said this. Later that day, then-Trump General Counsel Jason Greenblatt told Virginia Lawyers’ Weekly that Mr. Hopper’s work was “shoddy” and at times had to be redone. Mr. Hopper sued his onetime client in federal court alleging defamation and breach of contract. The parties settled, drafting a statement that the Trump Organization “appreciated” Mr. Hopper’s services.

Other days, Mr. Cohen spent time in Mr. Trump’s office helping his boss compose nasty tweets about talk show host Rosie O’Donnell, with whom Mr. Trump was engaged in a Twitter war, Mr. Cohen later told a colleague. Mr. Trump’s tweets included calling Ms. O’Donnell “an ass” and “a true loser.”

Mr. Cohen later told a colleague those were his “glory days” because he felt particularly close to Mr. Trump.

Mr. Cohen has credited himself as an originator of Mr. Trump’s run for president. In an interview last year, he said he had shown Mr. Trump a magazine article in October 2010 referencing a poll about the idea of a Trump presidency.

Mr. Cohen and several New York lobbyists set up a website, ShouldTrumpRun.com. He visited Iowa a few months later to explore a campaign.

The effort seemed to help reinvigorate Mr. Cohen’s standing with his boss. “He found his sweet spot again,” said one former associate. In early 2011, Mr. Trump tweeted: “The people at shouldtrumprun.com have got it right!”

Mr. Trump didn’t run, but the seeds were sown for the announcement of his candidacy in June 2015. Mr. Cohen didn’t officially join the campaign.

Michael Cohen arrives at the federal courthouse in Manhattan on April 16, 2018.
Michael Cohen arrives at the federal courthouse in Manhattan on April 16, 2018. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Instead, he stayed in his job, launching another failed attempt at a Trump-branded overseas tower, in Moscow. That deal later came under investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and in congressional committees examining whether Trump associates colluded with Russia’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 campaign. Mr. Trump has denied collusion, and Moscow has denied election meddling.

Mr. Cohen got Mr. Trump’s signature on a nonbinding letter of intent in October 2015, going outside the chain of command in the legal department, according to a former colleague of Mr. Cohen.

The deal fell through, despite Mr. Cohen’s last-ditch effort in January 2016 to salvage it with an email to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s press secretary, according to documents submitted to Congress. Mr. Cohen said he didn’t recall receiving a response, and the Kremlin spokesman said he didn’t show the email to Mr. Putin.

As the 2016 presidential campaign heated up, Mr. Cohen acted as a surrogate for Mr. Trump on television and handled problems, including making a $130,000 hush payment to Ms. Clifford the month before the election after she and her manager had again shopped the story of an alleged affair with Mr. Trump to news outlets.

Two months after Mr. Trump was elected, Mr. Cohen announced he was leaving the Trump Organization to serve as the president’s personal attorney.

Last fall, Mr. Cohen sold his Trump World Tower apartment, netting a $2 million profit. He remained on the condo board for a time and ran for re-election this month. But questions arose about his eligibility for the position, given that he no longer owned an apartment there. A Trump Organization spokeswoman said Mr. Cohen recently resigned.

Write to Rebecca Ballhaus at Rebecca.Ballhaus@wsj.com, Michael Rothfeld at michael.rothfeld@wsj.com, Joe Palazzolo at joe.palazzolo@wsj.com and Alexandra Berzon at alexandra.berzon@wsj.com
https://www.wsj.com/articles/whats-he-d ... y&mod=e2tw
seemslikeadream
 
Posts: 27807
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2005 11:28 pm
Location: into the black
Blog: View Blog (83)

Re: Michael Cohen

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Jun 18, 2018 9:46 am

Michael Cohen’s in-laws list three apartments in Trump World Tower



Michael Cohen’s in-laws, Fima and Ania Shusterman, have put three apartments in Trump World Tower on the market for a cumulative $11.2 million.

The Shustermans’ decision to sell the properties they acquired between 2003 and 2005 comes as Cohen, who is under investigation by federal authorities, has been embroiled in costly legal proceedings since the FBI raided his office in April and is currently looking to hire a criminal defense lawyer, according to Bloomberg.

According to an unnamed source speaking to Bloomberg, the Shustermans are in a hurry to sell and phone agents handling their listings often.

Trump International Realty is featuring the listings for two of the apartments and agent Etienne Lafaye is pictured on the company website as the designated contact. The third unit is not on the website, though Bloomberg’s sources confirm it is also for sale.

Fima Shusterman introduced Cohen to the taxi medallion business and shared his network of contacts with his son-in-law, according to an investigation by the New York Times.

As of last month, New York State had issued Cohen warrants for a total of $282,000 in taxes for 16 of his taxi-medallion companies. In February, The Real Deal‘s investigation identified 17 of Cohen’s companies that held at least 34 medallions. [Bloomberg] — Erin Hudson
https://therealdeal.com/2018/06/17/mich ... rld-tower/
seemslikeadream
 
Posts: 27807
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2005 11:28 pm
Location: into the black
Blog: View Blog (83)

Re: Michael Cohen

Postby seemslikeadream » Tue Jun 19, 2018 7:06 pm

Michael Cohen hired a former federal prosecutor who used to be a high-ranking official in the Manhattan office that is now investigating him. This is Cohen's first smart move in a while, and it will lead to speculation that he will flip soon.

Breaking: Michael Cohen, Holding His Cards Close to the Vest, Has Hired a New Lawyer

The president’s former attorney, who parted with his lawyers last week, has now hired Guy Petrillo, who served as the chief of the criminal division in the S.D.N.Y. from 2008 to 2009.

Emily Jane FoxJune 19, 2018 2:52 pm

Last week, as Michael Cohen parted with his attorneys at McDermott, Will & Emery, various speculative guessing games emerged within the media about what the move foretold about his legal future. Was Cohen inching toward cooperating with the government? What part of his legal bill was the Trump Organization responsible for underwriting? All along, people close to Cohen told me that the move was merely part of a larger strategy. The lawyers at McDermott, Will & Emery specialized in document review, which was required given the 3.7 million documents seized by the government from Cohen's hotel room, apartment, and office in April. But as that portion of the legal process wrapped up, and a criminal investigation loomed, those close to Cohen signaled he would turn to a lawyer more familiar with the S.D.N.Y. As one longtime friend put it to me, “As far as a criminal case going forward in the Southern District, he’s going to want a New York attorney who came from the Southern District.”

Cohen, according to two people with knowledge of the situation, has now hired Guy Petrillo to represent him in the ongoing criminal investigation of his business dealings in the Southern District of New York. Petrillo, a New York attorney who works with clients in criminal and civil matters prosecuted by the government, served as the chief of the criminal division in the S.D.N.Y. from 2008 to 2009. According to his Web site, Petrillo handles cases involving money laundering and fraud, along with congressional and special investigations. Neither he nor Cohen immediately responded to requests for comment.

News of Cohen’s legal shake-up has inevitably fanned speculation about whether he would flip. The conjecture appeared to weigh on Donald Trump, who distanced himself from his former personal attorney when asked by reporters outside the White House last week if he thought Cohen would cooperate with the government. “I always liked Michael,” he told reporters.

The use of the past tense was not lost on those close to Cohen. These people say that Trump has been foolishly careless with how he has publicly talked about Cohen, who they believe holds all the cards in the situation. “That one line had to be the dumbest thing [Trump’s] ever said,” one person familiar with his thinking told me. And that, indeed, would be quite an accomplishment.
https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2018/06 ... new-lawyer
seemslikeadream
 
Posts: 27807
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2005 11:28 pm
Location: into the black
Blog: View Blog (83)

Re: Michael Cohen

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:01 am

Publisher of National Enquirer Subpoenaed in Michael Cohen Probe

Prosecutors eye whether company coordinated with ex-Trump lawyer on payment to bury affair allegation

Michael Rothfeld and June 20, 2018 5:12 p.m. ET
David Pecker, chairman and chief executive of National Enquirer publisher American Media.


By
Nicole Hong,
Joe Palazzolo,
Rebecca Davis O’Brien
Federal authorities have subpoenaed the publisher of the National Enquirer for records related to its $150,000 payment to a former Playboy model for the rights to her story alleging an affair with Donald Trump, according to people familiar with the matter.

The subpoena from Manhattan federal prosecutors requesting information from the publisher, American Media Inc., about its August 2016 payment to Karen McDougal is part of a broader criminal investigation of Mr. Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, they said.

Investigators are probing any potential efforts by Mr. Cohen to suppress damaging information about Mr. Trump during the presidential campaign, including whether he coordinated with American Media to pay Ms. McDougal and then not publish her account, other people familiar with the matter said.

Prosecutors are examining whether the payment violated campaign-finance or other laws, the people said.

American Media hasn’t been accused of wrongdoing, and the company has denied paying Ms. McDougal to suppress her story.

“American Media Inc., has, and will continue to, comply with any and all requests that do not jeopardize or violate its protected sources or materials pursuant to our first amendment rights,” a company spokesman said in an emailed statement.


Karen McDougal has said she had an affair with Donald Trump. Mr. Trump and his representatives have denied a sexual encounter. Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Ms. McDougal has said publicly that she had a nearly yearlong affair with Mr. Trump beginning in 2006. The tactic of paying for a story but not publishing it is known in the tabloid world as “catch and kill,” The Wall Street Journal previously reported.

The company’s chairman and chief executive, David Pecker, has said he is a longtime friend of Messrs. Trump and Cohen, and the Enquirer aggressively supported Mr. Trump’s campaign. Ms. McDougal said in a March lawsuit against the publisher that she realized after the fact the payment was intended to muzzle her during the campaign.

Two months after American Media’s payment to Ms. McDougal, Mr. Cohen wired $130,000 to former adult-film star Stephanie Clifford so she would keep silent about an alleged sexual encounter with Mr. Trump, also in 2006. That payment occurred 12 days before the presidential election.

Mr. Trump and his representatives have denied he had sexual encounters with Ms. McDougal or Ms. Clifford, who is professionally known as Stormy Daniels. Mr. Trump has acknowledged repaying Mr. Cohen through monthly retainers. The White House and Mr. Cohen didn’t respond to requests for comment for this article.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have been examining whether Mr. Cohen committed bank fraud or violated campaign-finance or other laws in connection with the payment to Ms. Clifford and other matters, according to people familiar with the investigation. Mr. Cohen has denied wrongdoing and hasn’t been charged.

Federal agents raided Mr. Cohen’s home, office and hotel room in April. A search warrant obtained by federal investigators authorized seizure of documents related to the payments to Ms. Clifford and Ms. McDougal, the Journal has previously reported. The search warrant also contained a broad provision asking for materials related to any effort or payment to deal with sources of negative publicity, a person familiar with the matter said.

Around that time, federal prosecutors sent a subpoena to American Media asking for records related to the McDougal payment, people familiar with the matter said. The company is in the process of producing the documents, one of the people said.

Phone records show that Messrs. Cohen and Pecker were in frequent contact around the time of the negotiations with Ms. McDougal, another person familiar with the matter said. It isn’t clear whether investigators have obtained any information reflecting the substance of their discussions.

The Justice Department’s guidelines for federal prosecutors describe subpoenas sent to news organizations as “extraordinary measures, not standard investigatory practices.”

Corporations are barred from making contributions to candidates under federal election law. If investigators find evidence that Mr. Cohen pressed American Media to buy Ms. McDougal’s story to protect Mr. Trump’s campaign, prosecutors could bring charges against Mr. Cohen, the company or both, legal experts said.

In such a case, prosecutors would have to prove Mr. Cohen coordinated with American Media to provide Mr. Trump something of value for the purpose of influencing the election, said Douglas Spencer, a professor of law and public policy at the University of Connecticut. Proving coordination would likely be the most difficult prong of such a case, he said.

The Federal Election Campaign Act makes clear that news stories, commentaries or editorials aren’t considered campaign expenditures, a press carve-out that could add First Amendment complications to an investigation of American Media.

But the exemption isn’t absolute, said Thomas Frampton, a lecturer at Harvard Law School who studies criminal law. “If the other evidence is there, I don’t think AMI’s status as a media company will preclude liability,” he said.

American Media, Mr. Pecker, and Dylan Howard, the company’s chief content officer, have all retained separate lawyers in connection with the investigation, people familiar with the matter said.

American Media released Ms. McDougal from her contract with the company as part of an April legal settlement. Her lawsuit alleged that American Media and her lawyer at the time lured her into the agreement under false pretenses.

American Media would pay her $150,000 but “would not publish the story because...David Pecker is close personal friends with Mr. Trump,” Ms. McDougal recalled her lawyer, Keith Davidson, telling her, according to the suit.

She signed the contract on Aug. 5, 2016. Mr. Davidson emailed Mr. Cohen afterward to let him know the deal was done, according to a person familiar with the matter. Mr. Davidson is cooperating with prosecutors’ requests for information in the Cohen investigation, people familiar with the matter say.

American Media previously told the Journal its payment to Ms. McDougal was principally for her to write columns and appear on magazine covers.

American Media had published no fitness columns or magazine covers featuring Ms. McDougal when the Journal revealed the contract in an article published on Nov. 4, 2016, four days before Mr. Trump’s electoral victory. Since then, the company has published about 20 columns under Ms. McDougal’s name and put her on the cover of one of its fitness magazines, according to an American Media spokesman.

Mr. Trump’s relationship with the National Enquirer stretches back decades. Tips about Mr. Trump poured into the tabloid after his television show “Celebrity Apprentice” took off in 2002, but the Enquirer turned away stories that could paint him in a bad light, two former American Media employees said. Barry Levine, the National Enquirer’s executive editor until 2016, reminded them that Mr. Pecker wouldn’t allow it, these former employees said. Mr. Levine declined to comment.

In time, AMI employees wouldn’t pitch any more critical articles about Mr. Trump, one of the ex-employees said, which is how Mr. Trump became known within the company as a “FOP,” or Friend of Pecker.
https://www.wsj.com/articles/publisher- ... ?mod=e2twp
seemslikeadream
 
Posts: 27807
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2005 11:28 pm
Location: into the black
Blog: View Blog (83)

Re: Michael Cohen

Postby seemslikeadream » Fri Jun 22, 2018 11:07 am

1. MY ENEMY’S FRIEND
6 hours ago
Tom Arnold Meets Michael Cohen: ‘This Dude Has All the Tapes’

TOM ARNOLD / TWITTER
Tom Arnold—the actor and comedian who’s said he’s on a mission to find incriminating video of President Trump—tweeted a photo of himself with Michael Cohen late Thursday, saying “this dude has all the tapes.” Trump’s longtime attorney, who retweeted the photo, apparently talked to Arnold for a Vice show that is to be called “The Hunt for the Trump Tapes.” Arnold told NBC News about the meeting: “We’ve been on the other side of the table and now we’re on the same side. It’s on! I hope [Trump] sees the picture of me and Michael Cohen and it haunts his dreams.” He didn’t say if Cohen handed over any salacious evidence, but said: “This dude has everything... I say to Michael, ‘Guess what? We’re taking Trump down together, and he’s so tired he’s like, ‘OK,’ and his wife is like, ‘OK, fuck Trump.’” Cohen is under investigation by federal prosecutors for his business dealings, including a hush-money payment to adult-film star Stormy Daniels, who alleges that she had an affair with Trump.
https://www.thedailybeast.com/tom-arnol ... -the-tapes
seemslikeadream
 
Posts: 27807
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2005 11:28 pm
Location: into the black
Blog: View Blog (83)

Re: Michael Cohen

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu Jul 26, 2018 9:26 pm

CNN

Cohen says Trump knew about 2016 trump tower meeting in advance ... :D

Image


Cohen claims Trump knew in advance of 2016 Trump Tower meeting
https://www.cnn.com/2018/07/26/politics ... index.html


Malcolm Nance

If true. Cohen will testify Trump approved of COLLUDING & COORDINATING violated laws by openly CONSPIRED AGAINST THE UNITED STATES WITH A FOREIGN POWER. #ThisIsGonnaHurt NOTE: If True.



speaking of trump tower ......as a side note

Emails: Lawyer at Trump Tower Meeting Has Close Ties to Senior Russian Officials
https://www.thedailybeast.com/emails-la ... -officials




https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p6SkHBYd5NU


Image


BULLET-SHIT

Michael Cohen Debuts the Art of the Squeal

The tape Trump’s former would-be fixer has shared with the public seems to underscore the absence of a tape he’d need to cut a deal with his prosecutors.

Michael Daly

07.27.18 4:46 AM ET
Michael Cohen has revolutionized the time-dishonored tradition of being a rat.

Traditionally, rats begin wearing a wire after they get jammed up.

Cohen may be the first to have started making recordings beforehand.

If this becomes a trend, future rats will have tapes at the ready when they get collared.

“No need to wire me up, I already wired myself!”

The problem for Cohen is that he may not have a recording that could really help him with prosecutors now that he does face serious legal troubles and seems to be entering the traditional rat mode of giving up others to save yourself.


According to CNN, Cohen is now saying that he was present when Donald J. Trump was told in advance by Donald Trump Jr. and approved of the June, 2016 meeting in Trump Tower with the Russians who supposed had dirt on Hillary Clinton. But one of Cohen’s lawyers, former Clinton fixer Lanny Davis, then told a reporter at another network, “I have to wonder why the Trump people would put that out. It was not from us.”

“No need to wire me up, I already wired myself!”


How Michael Cohen Went From Pitbull to Potential ‘Snitch’

If CNN’s reporting stands up — and their “sources familiar” say “Cohen does not have evidence, such as audio recordings, to corroborate his claim, but he is willing to attest to his account” — it will be that much harder to credit Cohen’s claims knowing that he was willing to make audio recordings of Trump at less critical moments. And then there are reports that he failed to mention the supposed conversation between father and son when he testified before two congressional committees last year.

Meanwhile, Davis has offered a unique explanation for why his client, Cohen, did surreptitiously record his client, Trump, at other times, despite his declarations of undying loyalty.

Cohen was simply sparing himself the trouble of taking notes.

Imagine trying that one at the El Caribe, the Brooklyn catering hall and leisure spot that is owned by Cohen’s uncle Morton Levine and was for a long time a mob hangout.


The gym there – which featured racquetball courts and a swimming pool – is said to have served as the headquarters of the first two bosses of the Russian mafia in America.

The first boss was Evsei Agron. His reign was cut short by two bullets in the head outside his Brooklyn apartment.

The new boss and the next to call the El Caribe headquarters was Marat Balagula. He was approached by a hoodlum named Robert Fasano with an identity theft scheme that was ahead of its time.

A young woman named Linda Chipman who worked at Merill Lynch had stolen the particulars of 20 debit card accounts and sold the names and numbers to two Brooklyn men, who then sold them to Fasano.

Fasano counterfeited 20 cards and sought out Balagula, who put him in touch with a number of crooked business owners in Philadelphia who would be described in court papers with an adjective derived from a noun now in common use in matters Russian.

“Collusive merchants,” the court papers said.

The fraudulent purchases came to the attention of a particularly determined Secret Service agent named Henry Bibb, who learned from a witness that the man in collusion with the Russian merchants drove a distinctive, rarely seen car, a white Excalibur.

As the debit card accounts originated in New York and the counterfeits were being used in Philadelphia, Bibb set up surveillance on the New Jersey Turnpike. Along came a white Excalibur with Fasano at the wheel. A search produced the machine he had used to make the counterfeit cards.

“'The dick problem,' Fasano called their common affliction. 'It won’t stand up.'”
“Before long, maybe right then, Fasano decide to rat and he became our rat,” former federal prosecutor John Pucci told The Daily Beast this week.

The traditional next step was to outfit Fasano with a wire. Fasano said he was sure that he could get Balagula talking because they shared a particular difficulty. The resulting tape was played in court.

“The dick problem,” Fasano called their common affliction. “It won’t stand up.”

Along with discussing a pumping device that could serve as a temporary remedy, Fasano got Balagula talking about the identity theft scheme that had raked in some $750,000. Balagula was convicted and was on the run for more than two years, hiding out in South America, Africa and Europe before he was finally arrested in West Germany.

At his long delayed sentencing, Balagula told the court that he greatly regretted his crimes. The prosecutor Pucci noted that Balagula had fought “tooth and nail” not to face justice and suggested the defendant had only one true regret.

“He's sorry he's here,” Pucci told the judge.

Cohen was then in his early 20s and his Uncle Morty had made him a part owner of the El Caribe. Cohen almost certainly noted the sudden absence of the head of the Russian mob and the circumstances that lead to it.

Cohen also likely was aware of a case involving the father of his pal Felix Sater. Michael Sater, whose actual surname is Sheferofsky, was convicted in 2000 of extortion along with a member of the Genovese crime family who had thrown a party at the El Caribe for the nephew of Mafia OG Lucky Luciano. The elder Sater employed the traditional way to secure a reduced sentence.

“The defendant in approximately 2003 brought to the attention of the FBI a 2.1 million dollar check fraud, a Medicaid check fraud, that was being perpetrated in the Polish community of Greenpoint,” the prosecution noted in court papers. “He brought this to attention of the FBI. He wired up against the targets of the investigation.”

The prosecutors continued, “As a result of his proactive cooperation in that case, two defendants were arrested. That case in turn led to other cases in the same community. And, in fact, led to… a 20 defendant case… That is a very very significant piece of cooperation.”

The prosecutors noted, “The people that he wore a body recorder against are not the most safe individuals in this area. So that if he was discovered doing this his life would be at risk.”

Sheferofsky’s son, Felix Sater, was an informant at the same time, in an unrelated case. This was long before Felix went into business with Donald Trump.


There were any number of other people who frequented the El Caribe who were brought down by rats, a good many of whom then became rats themselves. Much the same was true throughout the New York underworld.

But even as the city’s two legged rats seemed almost as numerous as the four-legged ones, nobody save Michael Cohen was so visionary as to become one before there was any immediate cause to do so.

There was no sign that Cohen was likely to be indicted when he wired himself up during the 2016 election and recorded a conversation with Trump about paying to kill a story about a dick problem of another kind with former Playboy model Karen McDougal.

Cohen’s recording is not of the best quality and there if some dispute whether — as many folks believe — Trump said, “I’ll pay with cash.” Rudolph Giuliani, who has become Trump's chief fixer-fixer, has insisted Trump is actually saying, “Don't pay with cash.” Giuliani seeks to bolster his contention by citing his considerable experience with recordings as a prosecutor.

“I'm an expert on tapes,” Giuliani said on the Sean Hannity show. “I did 4,000 hours of men on tapes saying, ‘Hey, Racko, what are we going to do today?’”

Whatever was actually said on Cohen’s tape, there is no disputing that he recorded Trump. Cohen apparently did so more than once with Trump and also with a number of other people.

“What kind of lawyer would tape a client?” Trump asked in a tweet that for once seemed entirely reasonable.

“In the Art of the Squeal, this is known as bullet-shit.”
After all, this was not a situation where a guy was facing heavy time and agreed in desperation to wear a wire against those who had joined him in a crime.

Unless you want to believe that the recording really was just a substitute for taking notes, Cohen wired himself against his client and supposed liege just in case he ever needed it.

When Trump was elected, Cohen sold his stake in the El Caribe, presumably to avoid being associated with the Russian mob boss Balagula and his ilk.

But the mobsters are the ones who would now be embarrassed. They surely would not want to be associated with a guy who made himself into a rat before anybody with a badge made any overt effort to make him one.

Now that the recording has been played in the court of public opinion just as a more traditional rat’s recording would be played in criminal court, unnamed “associates” tell the Washington Post that Cohen felt Trump had left him “out in the wilderness.”

“In the nearly four months since FBI agents raided his office, home and hotel room, Cohen has felt wounded and abandoned by Trump, waiting for calls or even a signal of support that never came. Cohen got frustrated when Trump started talking about him in the past tense, panicked last month when he thought the president no longer cared about his plight, and became furious when Trump lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani contradicted some of his accounts,” the Post reported, citing “his associates.”

This was all after Cohen got jammed up and the prosecutors were saying an indictment is “likely.”

Back when Cohen made the recording, he had cause to feel slighted, at worst. Poor Mikey had not been included in the campaign and had not been offered a position at the White House.

Ah, but Mikey had a recorder.

And he began using it when he was still pledging that he would take a bullet for Trump.

In the Art of the Squeal, this is known as bullet-shit.

If CNN is right, the problem for Cohen now is that he lacks one recording he needs if he is going to be as successful a rat as was Michael Sheferofsky and make the prosecutors forgive his crimes in exchange for helping to make another case.

Cohen seems to hope that prosecutors will go lightly against him for his many alleged business transgressions in exchange for assisting Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling.

Only, the tapes he does have — and appears to be sharing with the public, rather than with prosecutors — underscore the absence of the one he needs.

And that weakens the credibility of a guy who had already made himself a rat and now seems desperate to become a bigger one.

Bullet-shit don’t fly.
https://www.thedailybeast.com/michael-c ... ssion=true





Being in a minority, even in a minority of one, did not make you mad. There was truth and there was untruth, and if you clung to the truth even against the whole world, you were not mad.

George Orwell
seemslikeadream
 
Posts: 27807
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2005 11:28 pm
Location: into the black
Blog: View Blog (83)

Re: Michael Cohen

Postby seemslikeadream » Fri Aug 03, 2018 2:17 pm


Michael Avenatti

Verified account

@MichaelAvenatti
7m7 minutes ago
More
The Court just ordered the case we filed against Davidson and Cohen returned to State Ct., finding that Cohen should have never sent it to Federal Ct. More winning by Cohen and his attys. So much winning! #Basta
seemslikeadream
 
Posts: 27807
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2005 11:28 pm
Location: into the black
Blog: View Blog (83)

Re: Michael Cohen

Postby seemslikeadream » Fri Aug 17, 2018 8:36 am

THE SLATEST
The Chance of Michael Cohen Facing Criminal Campaign Finance Charges Just Went Up
By RICHARD L. HASEN
AUG 16, 20187:51 PM

Michael Cohen, former personal attorney for U.S. President Donald Trump, exits the Loews Regency hotel and walks toward a taxi cab, July 27, 2018 in New York City.

On Thursday, the Wall Street Journal issued a new report about former Donald Trump attorney Michel Cohen and the 2016 hush payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels: Cohen initially rejected the request for money from Daniels’ attorney, but changed his mind after the “Access Hollywood” tape came to light.

The new revelation about Cohen refusing to pay Daniels in September 2016 is big, circumstantial evidence that could further open up Cohen to facing criminal campaign finance charges. This could also reach all the way to Trump himself.

To recap what we knew before this latest news: In October 2016 Cohen agreed to make a $130,000 payment to Daniels in order to buy her silence about an alleged affair with Trump.
Cohen used a shell company to make the payment, which he apparently funded through a home property loan. Although Trump at first denied knowing anything about the payment, Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani later revealed that Trump was paying Cohen back for the Daniels payment in installments. Trump eventually confirmed that.


Cohen’s payment to Daniels, if motivated to help the campaign, would be a likely campaign finance violation. Depending on his motive, either Cohen made an excessive and unreported “in kind” contribution to the campaign—by funding a payment in excess of the $2,700—or Cohen made an unreported loan to the campaign which the Trump campaign should have reported. If Trump knew about it at the time, Trump could be implicated in a conspiracy with Cohen.

The problem with this case, as in the 2012 case against John Edwards for payments by supporters to his mistress, is the question of whether the funds were campaign-related. Edwards’ defense was that his payments were personal to help his relationship with his wife—not campaign related—an argument that led to Edwards being acquitted on one charge and the jury deadlocked on the others.

So too it could be with the Cohen-Daniels payment. If Cohen intended the payment to preserve Trump’s relationship with his wife Melania, for example, rather than to bolster the campaign, then there would be no campaign finance violation. As I have been saying for a while, the case could turn on whether there is documentary evidence indicating an intent one way or the other.


The new Wall Street Journal report describes some apparent documentary evidence. According to the Journal, Daniels’ former lawyer Keith Davidson had approached Cohen in September 2016 about securing a payment from Trump to buy Daniels’ silence. “Mr. Cohen was dismissive, saying the story was bogus,” according to a source who spoke to the Journal. Yet one month later, right as the “Access Hollywood” tape emerged of Trump crudely discussing his sex life and saying disparaging things about women, Cohen was suddenly interested in making a deal with Daniels.

The Journal reports federal prosecutors view the release of the “Access Hollywood” tape as the “trigger” for Cohen’s payments to Daniels.

That’s a big deal. Two important Republican election lawyers have attempted to set a high bar for how to tell when a payment in this context might be campaign-related rather than personal. Charlie Spies told the Journal in February that the payment to Daniels was “an expense that would exist irrespective of whether Mr. Trump was a candidate and therefore should not be treated as a campaign contribution.” And former Federal Election Commission chair Brad Smith wrote in an April op-ed in the Journal that “FEC regulations explain that the campaign cannot pay expenses that would exist ‘irrespective’ of the campaign, even if it might help win election. At the same time, obligations that would not exist ‘but for’ the campaign must be paid from campaign funds.”


Even under these tough standards for what counts as campaign-related, the proof of the timing would be damning for Cohen. Why should Cohen not care a whit about protecting Trump’s reputation in his wife’s eyes in September 2016, but be anxious to close the deal—and shut Daniels up—right as the campaign faced a crisis involving allegations of Trump’s treatment of women? The Daniels payment was not an expense that existed until the campaign needed it. But for the campaign, it seems that Cohen would not have paid.

The Daniels issue is only one of a number of campaign finance issues surrounding the Trump 2016 campaign. A separate issue involves whether the campaign’s solicitation of dirt on Hillary Clinton from Russian government officials violated rules against soliciting foreign contributions to the campaign. We are still a long way from knowing if prosecutors will choose to go after the president or his cronies on these issues.

But make no mistake: Thursday’s report indicates that storm clouds are gathering on the horizon.
https://slate.com/news-and-politics/201 ... s-big.html
seemslikeadream
 
Posts: 27807
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2005 11:28 pm
Location: into the black
Blog: View Blog (83)

PreviousNext

Return to Data And Research

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests