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Cohen's testimony aggravates Trump's legal problems in New York

During a public testimony before Congress, Cohen provided new details on Trump's involvement in financing crimes related to his election campaign, including the steps taken after Trump took office, and revealed that prosecutors were investigating other unspecified criminal activities of Trump.

Cohen also told the House Oversight Committee that the leaders of the Trump Organization, including President Donald Trump's son Jr. and Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg, had participated in what prosecutors described in court documents as a ploy to repay Cohen a payment of $ 130,000 that he had made to silence an adult film actress, Stormy Daniels, who claimed a relationship with Trump.

And Cohen testified that Trump had an agreement with David Pecker, CEO of American Media Inc., which publishes the National Enquirer tabloid more than a decade ago to eliminate stories that could harm Trump if they were published.

In an attempt to corroborate his claims, particularly those concerning a so-called reimbursement payment by Trump himself, Cohen came armed with copies of checks. One, dated August 2017, seven months after Trump's swearing-in, came out of his personal bank account and appeared to show Trump's distinctive signature authorizing what Cohen had claimed to be a refund partial by the President-in-Office.

RELATED: This billionaire would have paid $ 60,000 for a portrait of Trump.

Cohen's testimony has greatly expanded the scope of what we know publicly about the review of the president, his business, and his family by federal prosecutors in New York.

Prior to Wednesday, prosecutors in the Southern District of New York had investigated whether Trump Org executives had violated campaign finance laws under Cohen's reimbursement mechanism and had conducted an investigation into the committee's role. 39, inauguration of Trump. reported.

On Wednesday, Cohen suggested that they also discuss a conversation he had had with Trump in the spring of 2018, two months after the FBI executed search warrants on his home, his hotel room. and his office.

This billionaire would have paid $ 60,000 for a portrait of Trump. He would have been reimbursed by Trump's charity.

After telling the committee that this conversation was the last time Cohen had spoken to Trump, Cohen had stated that he could not say more about it because it was under investigation. by the prosecutors. "They asked me not to discuss and not talk about these problems," said Cohen.

A few minutes later, Cohen was asked: "Are there any other wrongdoing or illegal acts you know about Donald Trump that we have not discussed yet?" 39; hui "? Cohen replied, "Yes, and again, this is part of the ongoing investigation in the Southern District of New York."

At another point, Cohen revealed, "I am in constant contact with the Southern District of New York regarding ongoing investigations."

RELATED: How Michael Cohen says Trump cheated on his net worth

A spokesman for the US Attorney's Office declined to comment on Cohen's testimony.

The payment of Stormy Daniels is another legal problem for Trump

The recently disclosed investigation efforts are not the only aspect of Cohen's testimony that could lead to significant legal problems for Trump. For the first time, Cohen publicly described in a very detailed manner Trump's participation in Cohen's payment to Daniels, as well as the efforts made to repay him.

Cohen told the committee that in 2016, when he had engaged in discussions with Daniels' lawyer at the time to find out he had to pay Daniels for that. he keeps silent, "what I've done every time is to go directly to Mr. Trump's office and discuss it with him."

A few days before the elections, when a Trump tape making rude comments about women on the set of "Access Hollywood" created what Cohen described as a "wildfire", he said he met Trump and Weisselberg in Trump's office, and Trump decided to pay Daniels.

6 conclusions of the hearing Michael Cohen

"He acknowledged to Allen that he was going to pay the $ 130,000 and that Allen and I should go back to his office and find a way to do it," said Cohen.

According to Cohen, he asked Weisselberg to use his own money to pay Daniels. After Weisselberg said that he could not, Cohen said, Weisselberg suggested to Cohen to find someone who "would like to organize a party in one of his clubs that could pay me to the place, or someone who might have wanted to become a member of one of the golf clubs. "

After concluding that they did not know anyone who could cover them in this manner, Cohen stated that he had decided to use his equity line of credit to make the payment to Daniels. Trump was aware and had approved this step, as well as the entire repayment system, said Cohen.

"Oh, he knew everything, yes," Cohen told the committee.

Federal prosecutors have already explained the ploy in court filings, saying Cohen had falsely submitted invoices to the Trump Organization under the direction of the company's "leaders" in 2017, for a total of $ 420,000. The repayment was made in monthly installments of $ 35,000, according to prosecutors.

During the trials, prosecutors cited two company executives ("Executive-1" and "Executive-2") involved in the repayment mechanism, but did not appoint them. On Wednesday, Cohen testified that he "believed" that Weisselberg, who enjoyed limited immunity and provided information to the investigators, was "Executive-1" and that Trump Jr. was "executive- 2 ".

Cohen also released a copy of what he said was one of the $ 35,000 refund checks, signed by Weisselberg and Trump Jr.

"Are you telling us, Mr. Cohen, that the president has directed conspiracy transactions with Allen Weisselberg and his son, Donald Trump Jr., as part of … a criminal conspiracy financial fraud?" your testimony today? " Representative Ro Khanna asked.

"Yes," replied Cohen.

A Trump Jr. lawyer declined to comment on Cohen's claims.

"Is there any doubt that President Trump knew exactly what he was paying for?" Cohen was questioned at another time of the hearing. "There is no doubt in my mind," Cohen said.

Although federal prosecutors did not refer to a Trump check in their charges against Cohen, they obtained evidence of such a check from Trump's personal account during their investigation, according to a familiar person folder.

Catch and kill

Cohen also resurfaced the details of Trump's efforts to quell unflattering stories with the help of Pecker, who benefited from prosecutors' immunity.

Michael Cohen said: & # 39; change & # 39; have been made to his testimony scheduled for 2017 before the Congress

Cohen testified that Pecker had helped to kill a prospective story about a so-called child in love with Trump. AMI gave a hint on this story, but the National Enquirer never published it after the AMI paid $ 30,000 in August 2015 to a former Trump World Tower porter, Dino Sajudin, who was selling the rights to what he claims to be information. that Trump had fathered a child with a former employee. No point of sale, including CNN, found any evidence to support the allegation concerning the child.

The $ 30,000 contract, however, was reviewed by federal prosecutors in New York in the spring of 2018 as the third installment of pocket money, according to people close to the case.

Cohen told the media that his involvement in the case was limited to trying, as Trump's spokesperson, to tamp down what AMI had said was his efforts to confirm Sajudin's tip. But, in fact, Cohen was involved much earlier in the process than previously knew, said people familiar with the case, and contributed to the engineering of the contract between AMI and Sajudin of the same He later orchestrated another hidden cash deal on an old Playboy model, Karen McDougal, according to two people involved in the process.

The investigators finally decided not to accuse him of crime. The reason the prosecutors did not file a complaint for the Sajudin contract, but former officials in the Southern District of New York suggested that prosecutors may have considered the contract schedule too far from the election day to be able to be binding. case like payments to McDougal and Daniels.

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