Ex-Trump lawyer Cohen pleads guilty in hush-money scheme

Michael Cohen

Tuesday, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was found guilty on eight counts- five for tax fraud, two for bank fraud, and one count of failing to disclose foreign bank account.

The longtime Trump lawyer said in a NY federal court that Trump directed him to arrange payments to women who said they had extramarital affairs with Trump to buy their silence ahead of the 2016 election, in order to boost his chances of winning.

The news about Cohen's negotiations with prosecutors come as a jury in the criminal trial of Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort is deliberating for a fourth day.

"I think that if Donald Trump wasn't president and didn't have those Justice Department guidelines, there's a good chance he would have been indicted yesterday as co-conspirator in this and a lot of legal experts think that's the case", Harf explained "Also, take a step back, John Edwards was brought to trial over something very similar with less evidence".

Simultaneous to the announcement of the subpoena on Wednesday, Cohen's lead lawyer, Lanny Davis, announced the launch of an online crowdsourced fundraiser called the Michael Cohen Truth Fund to raise money for Cohen's legal bills.

Cohen has sent repeated signals that he is likely to cooperate in exchange for leniency from prosecutors.

Michael Cohen pictured leaving Manhattan Federal Courthouse Tuesday, after claiming Donald Trump had directed him to organize payments to two porn stars shortly before the 2016 presidential election (Picture: AP) Trump pictured disembarking Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Tuesday.

Talk of a plea deal comes days after The New York Times reported that Cohen is also under investigation for potential tax and bank fraud, possibly exceeding $20 million via loans obtained by the taxi medallion business he owns with his family.

Cohen was to appear in a Manhattan courthouse at 4 pm (2000 GMT), where U.S. media reported he would admit breaking a slew of campaign, banking, fraud and tax laws.

In turn, Trump has distanced himself from Cohen, who has told friends he has felt isolated, according to the friends.

The FBI raided Cohen's home and office on a referral from Mueller. Cohen did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment. Cohen and, by extension, the Trump Organization, would have given the combined $280,000 as part of campaign activity without filing that payment, and corporations can not donate directly to candidates.

He worked as his personal attorney at the Trump Organization and continued to advise the president after the election.

Meanwhile, leaked documents showed that Cohen was paid millions a year ago by companies such as AT&T and Novartis to provide advice about the new administration.

He also said Cohen might go before Congress to testify.

It's not clear how the plea deal with Cohen might affect other entities that have been under scrutiny by federal prosecutors as part of the Cohen investigation, including AMI or Pecker. Another possibility is that Cohen knows something that Mueller doesn't know Cohen knows.

He spoke for more than an hour at a large campaign rally, touching on many of his favorite topics - NFL protests during the national anthem, trade deals, the economy's performance, undocumented immigration.

According to Nicholas Biase, spokesperson for the Southern District of NY.

When asked in April if he knew about a $130,000 payment made to Ms Daniels, Mr Trump said no.

This article was written by Devlin Barrett, Renae Merle, Philip Bump and Carol Leonnig, reporters for The Washington Post.

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