UPDATE 8/21/18 6:44 p.m. ET
Cohen pleaded guilty to eight counts on Tuesday: five counts of evasion of assessment of income tax liability, one count of false statements to a bank, one count of causing an unlawful corporate contribution, per CNN. The outlet adds that Cohen said in a plea deal that he did not share information that may have been harmful to a candidate “in coordination and at the direction of a candidate for federal office.”
Cohen’s lawyer Lanny J. Davis released a statement after the news broke: “Michael Cohen took this step today so that his family can move on to the next chapter. This is Michael fulfilling his promise made on July 2nd to put his family and country first and tell the truth about Donald Trump. Today he stood up and testified under oath that Donald Trump directed him to commit a crime by making payments to two women for the principal purpose of influencing an election. If those payments were a crime for Michael Cohen, then why wouldn’t they be a crime for Donald Trump?”
Original story below:
Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s former attorney, reached a plea deal with prosecutors on Tuesday, August 21, after being investigated for potential bank fraud, tax fraud and campaign finance violations.
The Associated Press reports that Cohen’s plea deal is regarding a “New York financial fraud case.” NBC News first reported earlier on Tuesday that Cohen was considering taking a possible plea deal before he was expected to appear in court at 4 p.m.
According to CNN, Cohen has been under investigation by the Southern District of New York Attorney’s Office for bank and tax fraud and campaign finance violations partly related to the hush money he paid Stormy Daniels following her alleged affair with Trump.
As previously reported, the adult film actress, 39, claimed she had an affair with the now-president in 2006, around the same time his wife, Melania Trump, gave birth to their son Barron, now 12. Daniels said that she was paid $130,000 by Cohen to sign a “hush agreement” that he created just before the presidential election in 2016.
Trump, for his part, has denied having an affair with Daniels and knowing anything about Cohen’s payment in the past.
”You’ll have to ask Michael Cohen. Michael is my attorney. You’ll have to ask Michael,” he told reporters during a flight on Air Force One in April.
After reports surfaced in July that Cohen recorded a conversation between the two of them about Daniels and their alleged relationship, the commander in chief tweeted, “Inconceivable that the government would break into a lawyer’s office (early in the morning) – almost unheard of. Even more inconceivable that a lawyer would tape a client – totally unheard of & perhaps illegal. The good news is that your favorite President did nothing wrong!”