UPDATE, March 24, 2023: The article and its headline have been revised to reflect that claims about the Cohen letter are disputed.
A letter from Michael Cohen’s lawyer could serve as game-changing evidence in the Manhattan District Attorney’s potential criminal trial of former President Donald Trump.
The letter — written to the Federal Election Commission by Cohen’s legal counsel — indicates that Cohen himself was solely responsible for a $130,000 payment to pornographic performer Stormy Daniels.
The document was obtained by the Daily Mail on Wednesday.
BREAKING: A 2018 Letter from Michael Cohen’s lawyer states that Cohen used his own personal funds to pay $130,000 to Stormy Daniels and that the Trump Org nor Campaign was a party to the transaction did not reimburse Cohen for the payment directly or indirectly. pic.twitter.com/ZaHMndvQIT
— ALX 🇺🇸 (@alx) March 22, 2023
“Mr. Cohen used his own personal funds to facilitate a payment of $130,000 to Ms. Stephanie Clifford,” Cohen lawyer Stephen M. Ryan says in the letter, using Daniels’ legal name.
Ryan goes on to indicate that neither Trump or his company reimbursed Cohen for the payment.
“Neither the Trump Organization or the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms. Clifford, and neither reimbursed Mr. Cohen for the payment directly or indirectly.”
The crux of Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg’s potential case against Trump relies on the supposed payment made to Daniels — a payment that the prosecutor would likely argue amounts to an unregistered campaign expenditure.
Cohen plead guilty to campaign finance violations related to the payment in 2018, according to the Department of Justice.
Cohen has claimed that he was acting as an attorney to then-candidate Trump at the time of the payment, and has indicated he made the payment at his direction.
The former Trump confidante claimed that Trump told him to pay off Daniels in congressional testimony a year after his guilty plea, according to the Daily Mail.
Cohen was seen at Manhattan grand jury proceedings on Wednesday.
Some media outlets and social media users said the portrayal of the letter as possibly exonerating Trump wasn’t accurate.
“There is no question that Cohen lied about hush-money payments,” Law & Crime reported Thursday. “Cohen admitted that in federal court when he pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations, false statements to Congress and other offenses.
“In doing so, Cohen acknowledged — and federal prosecutors agreed — that he committed campaign finance violations ‘in coordination with and at the direction of’ Trump. Cohen also acknowledged and provided evidence showing that multiple claims in that February 2018 letter to the FEC were false.”
The outlet talked to former federal prosecutor Mitchell Epner, who said the letter was a part of Cohen’s now-admitted cover-up.
“This is part of the criminal activity to which Michael Cohen plead guilty and for which he was sentenced,” he said. “Relying upon it as a ‘get out of jail free’ card puts too much weight upon it.”
This isn’t breaking. This is from 2018, and Cohen was criminally convicted BECAUSE HE LIED about everything you’re claiming exonerates Trump in this letter.
— LeGate🤠 (@williamlegate) March 23, 2023
Prosecutors are expected to summon an additional witness on Thursday. It’s unclear when and if the grand jury will announce any planned indictments.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
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