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Newly released court documents reveal that Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump‘s former personal lawyer, paid an unknown tech company $50,000 “during and in connection with” the 2016 presidential campaign, CNBC reports.
The documents don’t specify exactly who the payment was to or what the payment was for. Unsurprisingly, the payment raises some questions: Exactly how much “work” was Cohen doing on behalf of the Trump campaign? How was this $50,000 transaction handled? And if the transaction was kept off the books, is there a possibility it was related to any illicit activity?
There is no paperwork for the payment, and it was merely mentioned in a handwritten note at the top of another bank document. Members of the Trump campaign, White House staff, and members of the Trump Organization did not respond to questions from CNBC on the matter.
Cohen arranged a number of payments on behalf of his high-profile client throughout 2016. Most notably, Cohen paid adult film actress Stormy Daniels $130,000 to stay silent about an affair with Trump.
On Tuesday, Cohen pleaded guilty to eight counts of felony, including campaign finance violations and tax evasion, and entered a plea deal with the federal government which could still include jail time. The internet is having a heyday with the news, turning its coverage into memes.
Cohen’s admissions and guilt are increasingly seen as a bad sign for Trump. On The Rachel Maddow Show Tuesday, Cohen’s lawyer said that he would be happy to share his knowledge about “the obvious possibility of a conspiracy to collude and corrupt the American democracy system in the 2016 election.”
At this point, there is no evidence that the payment to the mystery tech company is linked to any wrongdoing.
Christina Bonnington is a tech reporter who specializes in consumer gadgets, apps, and the trends shaping the technology industry. Her work has also appeared in Gizmodo, Wired, Refinery29, Slate, Bicycling, and Outside Magazine. She is based in the San Francisco Bay Area and has a background in electrical engineering.