WASHINGTON- Michael Cohen, a former attorney and Donald Trump fixer before he became president is a key witness in the New York investigation in hush money payments to a porn actress.
A New York grand jury voted Thursday to indict Trump on unspecified criminal charges in a case that marks the first time a former president has been criminally indicted.
Although the indictment was not made public, the grand jury had investigated hush money payments made to two women who claimed to have had sex with him.
Here’s what we know about Michael Cohen.
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Who is Michael Cohen?
Cohen has already served his sentence after admitting to charges related to a $130,000 payment in Trump’s case. Robert Costello, a former adviser to Cohen who was allied with Trump, told the Manhattan grand jury Cohen was seeking revenge on the former president.
But Cohen said he did fabricated payments to silence two women who claimed to have had sex with Trump before the 2016 election. Cohen said Trump directed him to make the payments to avoid a scandal during that campaign. Cohen has spoken repeatedly to the grand jury.
Trump said the charges are supported “on the testimony of a convicted felon, a disbarred attorney, with zero credibility.” The Justice Department investigated and decided not to press charges.
Cohen: Trump is a ‘racist’, a ‘cheater’ and a ‘cheater’
Cohen provided a searing account of his dealings with Trump during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing in February 2019, when he called Trump a “racist,” a “conman,” and a “conman.” Cohen accused Trump of misrepresenting the value of his properties for taxes and insurance and urged Cohen to lie to Congress about a Russian real estate deal, but The silent payments attracted the most attention.
Timeline: From Trump fixer to Mueller whistleblower: Timeline of Michael Cohen’s role in the Russia probe
Here is a Schedule of payments based on Justice Department files:
On October 8, 2016, Cohen spoke to Trump and his campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks after learning that porn actress Stormy Daniels was planning to speak to Good Morning America and Slate about her alleged relationship with Trump beginning in 2006, the year Melania was born Trump to her son.
Cohen then communicated with American media executives David Pecker and Dylan Howard, who published the National Enquirer, about buying the rights to Daniel’s story to prevent it from being published as part of a strategy called “catch and kill”.
On October 10, 2016, Howard texted Cohen and Keith Davidson, an attorney for Daniels, and Karen McDougal, a Playboy model who also claimed to have had sex with Trump.
On October 27, 2016, Cohen transferred $130,000 to Davidson through a company called Essential Consultants.
On November 1, 2016, Davidson wired the money to Daniels.
“I’ve done bad things, but I’m not a bad man,” Cohen testified in February 2019. “I’ve fixed things, but I’m no longer your fixer, Mr. Trump.”
What crimes did Cohen admit to?
In August 2018, Cohen pleaded guilty in federal court concealing more than $4 million of personal income from the IRS, misrepresenting a home loan, and “causing $280,000 in payments to silence two women who otherwise planned to go public about their alleged affairs with a presidential candidate.” to speak with intent to influence the 2016 presidential election,” the court filings said.
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Prosecutors said Cohen arranged a $150,000 payment to McDougal and a $130,000 payment to Daniels.
Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison, but got it released early into house arrest because of the spread of COVID-19.
What does Costello say about Cohen?
Costello told reporters March 20 that he told the grand jury Cohen was “completely unreliable.” Costello suggested that Cohen acted himself, arranging the payment to Daniels himself.
“He’s out for revenge,” said Costello, who was tapped by Trump’s legal team to testify.
Cohen dismissed Costello’s argument that he played along.
“His facts are all twisted,” Cohen told MSNBCadding that Trump’s defense “will fail.”
“That’s absolutely not true,” Cohen said.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Michael Cohen is a star witness in the Trump hush money case
Source : news.yahoo.com