Michael Cohen, former personal attorney to President Donald Trump, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to eight federal criminal counts, including tax evasion, bank fraud, and breaking campaign finance laws.
Cohen, 51, made the admission he arranged payments to two women during the 2016 presidential race “at the direction of the candidate” referring to Trump, The New York Times reported.
Cohen told a judge in United States District Court in New York City that the payments were “for the principal purpose of influencing the election.”
The attorney “pleaded guilty to five counts of tax evasion, one count of making false statements to a financial institution, one count of willfully causing an unlawful corporate contribution, and one count of making an excessive campaign contribution,” according to Fox News.
Cohen paid adult film star Stormy Daniels $130,000 in October of 2016.
Additionally, Cohen’s attorney Lanny Davis released a secretly taped audio recording last month of Trump discussing a payment for Playboy model Karen McDougal.
The Wall Street Journal reported in November 2016 that American Media Inc. — the parent company of the National Enquirer — paid McDougal $150,000 for the rights to her story about an alleged affair with Trump.
The Enquirer never ran the story.
Deputy U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Robert Khuzami told reporters on Tuesday that Cohen sought reimbursement for the payments he made by “submitting invoices to the candidate’s company.”
“In fact … [Cohen] provided no legal services for the year 2017, and it was simply a means to obtain reimbursement for the unlawful campaign contribution,” Khuzami said.
— CSPAN (@cspan) August 21, 2018
The six non-campaign law violations have to do with Cohen’s personal financial matters.
According to Fox, Cohen faced up to 65 years in prison if convicted on all charges, but as part of the plea agreement he agreed not to challenge a sentence between 46 and 63 months, or approximately three-to-five years.
The Times reported that Cohen’s plea agreement does not call for him to cooperate with federal prosecutors, but it does not preclude him from doing so either.
Though his case was not brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team, Cohen could agree to assist in the investigation in exchange for Mueller recommending a reduced sentence.
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