Disgraced ex-Trump lawyer Cohen crowdfunding legal bills

Jermaine Castillo
August 26, 2018

In an election-style rally Tuesday evening in West Virginia, Trump did not mention Cohen, instead invoking the death of Tibbetts.

While Trump denies the affairs, his account of his knowledge of the payments has shifted. The Trump Organization did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Trump accused Cohen of lying and more broadly has dismissed the investigations of his campaign as a "witch-hunt".

"Very little is reported on their personal life", he said, "and the National Enquirer which prides itself on being the investigative tabloid that can eke out the most sensational stories, turned a blind eye to everything that was unpleasant in that family".

In a serious blow, Cohen, Mr Trump's personal lawyer for more than a decade, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to eight criminal charges, including tax evasion, bank fraud and campaign finance violations.

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Trump's secret? The still ardent support of his electoral base, which will be key to Republican candidates in November, when the Republican majority in both houses of Congress will be at stake.

Working alongside Trump and Trump's three adult children - Don Jr., Ivanka, Eric - in Trump Tower, Cohen took on a number of roles for the developer, including emissary for projects in foreign capitals and enforcer of Trump's will.

The Cohen investigation was referred to federal prosecutors in NY by USA special counsel Robert Mueller, who is looking into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible co-ordination between Trump's Republican campaign and Russian officials. But Cohen's place in Trump's political life ended up being peripheral.

He said Trump directed him to arrange the payments.

"You never know where that company - you never know what he's gonna be -" Cohen says.

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NY state laws could also come into play.

This is the latest twist in a saga continuing to dog the Trump administration.

It's clear that Cohen's bills and the way Trump's company accounted for them "were meant to hide the truth", Bederow said, adding that such conduct would be a Class E felony in NY. The tape was seized during the FBI's April raid on Cohen's residence and office, and was released to the media by Cohen's attorney Lanny Davis. As part of his plea, Cohen admitted to arranging six-figure payments to two women to buy their silence about affairs they said they had with Trump.

Worry grew within the White House about what had been seized. "Trump certainly would not have authorized the payments unless he thought it was politically imperative to do so". In a "Fox & Friends" interview with Ainsely Earhardt that aired Thursday morning, he blasted Cohen for "flipping" and claimed it "almost ought to be illegal". Holed up in a Park Avenue hotel after his apartment flooded, Cohen began to worry about his financial future, according to the two people.

Weisselberg, the longtime chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, is reportedly receiving immunity to speak with federal prosecutors who are investigating Cohen's campaign finance violations. They argued that the president was not directly implicated, even though Cohen said in court that he and Trump had coordinated.

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