A new court filing from a federal prosecutor claims that Michael Cohen, who formerly acted as the personal attorney for President Donald Trump, was directly ordered by Trump to make illegal payments in 2016.
Federal prosecutors, in a pre-sentencing memo aimed at Cohen’s upcoming sentencing on Wednesday for fraud and campaign finance charges as well as a charge of lying to Congress, said Cohen implicated Trump in payments made to two women, The New York Times reported.
Two women — porn star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal — have both claimed they had affairs with Trump in 2006, a claim he has denied. Both were paid money during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Trump is not named directly in the document. Instead, he is referred to as “Individual-1.” The fact that “Individual-1” is Trump is made clear when the document states that “Individual-1” became president in January 2017.
“Cohen himself has now admitted, with respect to both payments, he acted in coordination with and at the direction of Individual-1,” federal prosecutors wrote.
The White House downplayed the significance of the court filing.
“The government’s filings in Mr. Cohen’s case tell us nothing of value that wasn’t already known,” said White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, according to Fox News. “Mr. Cohen has repeatedly lied and as the prosecution has pointed out to the court, Mr. Cohen is no hero.”
Trump offered his verdict as well, via Twitter.
Totally clears the President. Thank you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 7, 2018
Prosecutors have said the $130,000 paid to Daniels was a violation of campaign finance law. They have also said a $150,000 payment to McDougal by American Media Inc., parent of the National Enquirer, was an illegal corporate donation in support of Trump’s campaign.
“In August 2014, Chairman-1 had met with Cohen and Individual-1, and had offered to help deal with negative stories about Individual-1’s relationships with women by identifying such stories so that they could be purchased and ‘killed,’” the filing said.
“Chairman-1” is David Pecker of American Media, according to The Washington Post.
The prosecution document argues against Cohen’s plea for no time in jail and called for a “substantial” sentence behind bars.
We are happy to see Michael Cohen is in a lot of trouble re sentencing. We agree with the govt that he should serve a substantial term of imprisonment. He lied to my client, the American people and investigators for years. He is a thug and deserves to be severely punished. #Basta
— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) December 7, 2018
“While many Americans who desired a particular outcome to the election knocked on doors, toiled at phone banks, or found any number of other legal ways to make their voices heard, Cohen sought to influence the election from the shadows,” it said. “He did so by orchestrating secret and illegal payments to silence two women who otherwise would have made public their alleged extramarital affairs with Individual-1.”
“In the process, Cohen deceived the voting public by hiding alleged facts that he believed would have had a substantial effect on the election,” the document said.
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