President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer plead guilty to eight criminal charges in a federal court on Tuesday, as Michael Cohen told a federal judge that he paid money to two women – to keep them quiet just before the 2016 elections – at the direction of a specific candidate for federal office, and coordinated “with one or more members of the campaign.”
While the name of that candidate was not revealed in open court, or in any documents, it was very obvious that it was President Trump, referred to as “Individual-1.”
“On or about June 16, 2015, Individual-1 began his presidential campaign,” read documents submitted by federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York.
“In so doing, he coordinated with one or more members of the campaign, including through meetings and phone calls, about the fact, nature, and timing of the payments,” the documents stated.
The documents do not specifically name either Karen McDougal or Stormy Daniels – but go through previously known details about how money was paid to them to keep them from speaking to the press before the 2016 elections.
“MICHAEL COHEN, the defendant, caused and made the payments described herein in order to influence the 2016 presidential election,” prosecutors said in documents submitted to a federal judge.
Cohen then acknowledged that in 2017 he submitted to the candidate’s company what prosecutors described as “sham” invoices, what prosecutors said were “simply a means to obtain reimbursement for the unlawful campaign contribution.”
Cohen’s lawyer, Lanny Davis, says it was all done at the behest of one person – Donald Trump.
When the Stormy Daniels story first broke, President Trump told reporters on Air Force One that he had no idea about a $130,000 payment made to her.
But the documents submitted Tuesday showed something much different, as Cohen submitted fake invoices to the candidate’s company, in order to be reimbursed for the money paid to both women.
This is about how it was done for the Stormy Daniels payment.
Documents show that Cohen was repaid for his payment to McDougal on a monthly basis, falsely claiming that the money was actually for legal services which Cohen had delivered in 2017.
Prosecutors say that was an effort to cover up illegal campaign contributions which benefited the Trump campaign in 2016.
“Michael Cohen’s guilty plea appears to implicate the President in a knowing violation of campaign finance laws, with the payment of hush money to advance the Trump campaign,” said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA). “This is the first guilty plea directly alleging potential criminal activity by the President.”