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Tag: michael cohen

Michael Cohen Under Investigation for Potential Tax- And Bank-Fraud

Longtime Trump attorney Michael Cohen.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Federal prosecutors aren’t just investigating Michael Cohen over his working and personal relationship with President Trump.

Trump’s former lawyer also is facing scrutiny over potential tax fraud from his taxi-medallion business, the Wall Street Journal reports

Prosecutors in New York are trying to determine whether the company underreported federal tax returns over the past five years and whether Cohen obtained loans by inflating the values of his assets.

Bank employees also are under investigation for possibly allowing Cohen to obtain the loans for he which didn’t qualify or didn’t have the proper paperwork.

If charged with tax- and bank-fraud, Cohen could face a signifiant time behind bars, which has the potential to scare the lawyer into cooperating with prosecutors.

The charges would be similar to those filed against Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who’s on trial now.

Trump, Giuliani Slam Cohen over Secretly Recording Conversations

Longtime Trump attorney Michael Cohen.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump and his attorney Rudy Giuliani slammed Michael Cohen for secretly recording a conversation about a hush payment to a former Playboy model just two months before the presidential election.

In a bizarre tweet Wednesday morning, Trump questions Cohen’s ethics.

“What kind of a lawyer would tape a client? So sad! Is this a first, never heard of it before? Why was the tape so abruptly terminated (cut) while I was presumably saying positive things? I hear there are other clients and many reporters that are taped – can this be so? Too bad!”

In an interview with Fox News, Giuliani blasts Cohen, a longtime attorney of Trump’s, as ”a pariah to the legal profession.” 

“I question the strategy of doing it, of trying to make the tape say what it doesn’t say, or putting out a tape in which you’re kind of proud of the fact that you’re a lawyer taping your client and then thinking you could cooperate with the government?” Giuliani said of Cohen’s character.

It’s believed about 12 recordings exist between Cohen and Trump.

How Hush Payment in Secret Cohen Tape May Show Trump Broke the Law

President Trump answering media questions on Air Force One. Photo via the White House.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The secret recording of Donald Trump discussing a hush payment to a former Playboy model who claimed they had an affair strongly suggests the president and his team knew about the payment and lied about it.

But did he break the law?

The payment to former Playboy model Karen McDougal came just two months before the presidential election, and that’s important because many election experts believe the money would need to be disclosed as part of Trump’s campaign finances.

“If Trump did want a cash payment, that might have been to conceal evidence — at the time — of what may have been a violation of campaign finance law,” the New York Times wrote. “Other aspects of the call show Trump preoccupied with the election, and as Philip Bump points out, this suggests Cohen was, for all practical purposes, making this payment as an “agent” of Trump’s campaign, making this a potential undisclosed campaign expenditure, which could be illegal.”

Former U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade told the New York Times that it’s significant that Trump mentioned cash.

“If this expenditure was made on behalf of the campaign and it was not disclosed, and it was done willfully, that’s a crime,” McQuade said. If Trump wanted that done in cash, McQuade continued, “it suggests an effort to conceal the payment. If you’re hiding things, prosecutors often see that as some indication that you believe you were guilty, that you knew what you were doing was illegal. Taking steps to cover it up does tend to establish that willfulness. That could be incriminating.”

The Times added:

McQuade added that in such a scenario, prosecutors could conceivably see Trump as a “co-conspirator” in a “conspiracy to violate campaign finance laws,” though McQuade added that it’s unlikely that prosecutors would bring such charges against a sitting president, even by naming him as an “unindicted co-conspirator.” Still, McQuade added that if more evidence emerged of additional instances of such payments, “the case may become more significant.”

Trevor Noah Says Cohen Tape Is ‘Perfect Audiobook for Our Road Trip to Hell’

Comedy Central’s Trevor Noah.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Late-night hosts had fun with the disclosure of a secretly recorded conversation between Trump attorney Michael Cohen and the president over hush payments to a Playboy playmate.

“Ever since Vladimir Putin annexed Trump’s balls in Helsinki, President Trump has been having a rough time back home,” Comedy Central’s Trevor Noah said. “Half of America thinks he acted treasonous with Putin, some Republicans say he’s being manipulated, and last week Paul Ryan furrowed his brow extra hard, so you know he means business.”

Noah described the tapes as “the perfect audiobook for America’s road trip to hell”.

“At this point, it would be weirder if Russia didn’t have blackmail material on Trump, because everyone seems to have blackmail material on President Trump,” Noah said. “Michael Cohen has tapes, Access Hollywood has tapes, Howard Stern has tapes. Even Eric has tapes: his most prized possession is a voicemail his dad left him during a butt dial.”

Stephen Colbert also got in on the action, launching into 12 Days of Christmas after saying, Stormy Daniels’ lawyer Michael “Avenatti was right, because today it was revealed the feds actually have 12 Michael Cohen audio recordings.”

Secret Tape Reveals Trump, Cohen Discussed Payment to Ex-Playmate

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Michael Cohen’s secretly recorded conversation with Donald Trump in 2016 reveals the president mentioned “cash” while discussing a possible payment to a former Playboy model Karen McDougal who claims she had an affair with Trump.

Longtime Trump attorney Michael Cohen.

The newly released audio was captured by Cohen, who was Trump’s attorney, as the two discussed “how to set the whole thing up with funding.”

Trump responds, “What financing” before appearing today, “pay with cash.”

Cohen quickly interrupts, saying, “No, no, no, no no, I got …” before the recording cuts off.

The recording is significant because the audio indicates Trump was aware of allegations of the affair and plans to pay McDougal to keep her quiet.

Other Stories of Interest

 

Tedious Work: FBI Piecing Together Shredded Documents From Michael Cohen Raid

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Sometimes FBI work can be pretty tedious.

The agency is piecing together shredded documents found in its raid of Michael Cohen’s home and office while investigating President Trump’s personal attorney for suspected financial crimes, The Hill reports.

CNN reports that there is not a large amount of shredded material.

The federal government has so far turned over 3.7 million seized documents for Cohen’s attorneys to assess whether anything is privileged information. The FBI continues to pore over the shredded documents and an additional 19 storage devices including hard drives and thumb drives, as well as several Blackberry phones, The Hills writes.

Business with Ties to Russian Oligarch Paid Cohen’s Shell Company $500,000

Longtime Trump attorney Michael Cohen.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

An American company with connections to a Russian oligarch made a $500,000 payment to a shell company that President Trump’s longtime lawyer, Michael Cohen, used to pay hush money to a porn film star.

The New York Times reports that the shell company, Essential Consultants LLC, had transactions of at least $4.4 million. The company was launched shortly before Trump was elected president in November 2016 and continued to operate until at least this January, according to records.

CNN and other news outlets reported that special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating the $500,000 payment from Columbus Nova, a New York-based investment firm whose biggest client is Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg.

A lawyer for the company told the New York times that the payment was unrelated to Vekselberg and was part of a consulting fee.

Fortune 500 companies that had business before the president also made payments of hundreds of thousands of dollars to Essential Consultants.

The Times reported:

References to the transactions first appeared in a document posted to Twitter on Tuesday by Michael Avenatti, the lawyer for Stephanie Clifford, the adult film star who was paid $130,000 by Essential Consultants to keep quiet about an alleged affair with Mr. Trump. The lawyer’s seven-page document, titled “Preliminary Report of Findings,” does not explain the source of his information but describes in detail dates, dollar amounts and parties involved in various dealings by Mr. Cohen and his company. Most of the transactions involved two banks: First Republic Bank and City National Bank.

The Times’s review of financial records confirmed much of what was in Mr. Avenatti’s report. In addition, a review of documents and interviews shed additional light on Mr. Cohen’s dealings with the company connected to Mr. Vekselberg, who was stopped and questioned at an airport earlier this year by investigators for Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel examining Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Taken together, The Times’s findings and Mr. Avenatti’s report offer the most detailed picture yet on Mr. Cohen’s business dealings and financial entanglements in the run-up to the election and its aftermath. Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are investigating Mr. Cohen for possible bank fraud and election-law violations, among other matters, according to people briefed on the investigation. Stephen Ryan, a lawyer representing Mr. Cohen, declined to comment.

Feds Wiretapped Phone Lines of Trump’s Longtime Attorney Cohen

Longtime Trump attorney Michael Cohen.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Federal investigators wiretapped the phones lines of President Trump’s longtime attorney, Michael Cohen, in the weeks leading up to the raids on his office, home and hotel room, according to a new report.

At least one of those intercepted phone calls was from the White House, NBC reported Thursday afternoon.

The FBI raided Cohen’s properties last month and seized emails and records related to his clients, two of whom are the president and television personality Sean Hannity.

After the raid, Trump’s attorneys advised him to contact Cohen, who, among other things, is under investigation for a $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels.

On Thursday, in an extraordinary admission that contradicts previous statements, Trump tweeted that he reimbursed Cohen for the payment.

Since the case is being investigated by New York prosecutors, Trump can’t stop the probe by firing special counsel Robert Mueller, who is heading up the Russia investigation and trying to determine whether the president obstructed justice.

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