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Michael Cohen says Trump directed him to pay off Stormy Daniels to influence 2016 election
President Donald Trump‘s longtime lawyer, Michael Cohen, entered into a deal with the federal government today, pleading guilty to eight different felony charges ranging from tax evasion to campaign finance violations.
As part of his deal with the government, Cohen said that Trump was aware of and ordered him to make a $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels to buy her silence in the run-up to the 2016 election. Cohen also said Trump was aware of another payment, made to former Playmate Karen McDougal. Both women say they had affairs with the president.
Cohen pled guilty to five counts of tax evasion, one count of bank fraud, and two charges related to campaign finance violations.
The tax fraud charges stem from $4.3 million in income he failed to report, mainly from the operation of a taxi business. Cohen also was charged with fraudulently applying for a loan.
On the campaign finance violation charges, Cohen sought reimbursement for these payments—which constituted illegal campaign contributions—through “sham” invoices, according to U.S. District Attorney Robert Khuzami, in a press conference after the plea deal was entered.
Cohen’s confession seemingly implicates the president in those crimes.
The day keeps getting better for the president.— Alex Wayne (@aawayne) August 21, 2018
*COHEN SAYS HE VIOLATED CAMPAIGN LAW AT DIRECTION OF CANDIDATE
*COHEN SAYS HE ACTED FOR PURPOSE OF INFLUENCING ELECTION— Alex Wayne (@aawayne) August 21, 2018
*COHEN SAYS HE VIOLATED CAMPAIGN LAW AT DIRECTION OF CANDIDATE— Jennifer Epstein (@jeneps) August 21, 2018
*COHEN DOESN'T NAME CANDIDATE WHO DIRECTED CAMPAIGN VIOLATION
hint: it's @realDonaldTrump
Cohen originally wound up under federal investigation due to a referral from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Trump’s 2016 campaign. Cohen has been Trump’s personal fixer for over a decade now and is widely considered to be tapped into the inner workings of the Trump team.
According to reports, Cohen’s deal could still require him to serve jail time.
In a press conference, Khuzami said that Cohen would pay a “serious” price for his crimes.
This story is breaking and will be updated.
David Covucci is the Layer 8 editor at the Daily Dot, covering the intersection of politics and the web. His work has appeared in Vice, the Huffington Post, Jezebel, Gothamist, and other publications. He is particularly interested in hearing any tips you have. Reach out at [email protected]