More Details About How Michael Cohen Paid Hush Monies To Women On Behalf Of President Trump

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MICHAEL COHEN

On August 22, 2018, the New York Times published a detailed account of what is alleged in a plea agreement in court where the republican President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney/ fixer/ consigliere of many years, spilled the beans on how his boss had paid off  former paramours with hush monies, so that his election chances to become the US president in 2016 would not be derailed.

See: Read ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s plea agreement – CNNPolitics

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COHEN/ DANIELS/ TRUMP

Here are excerpts from the article, “Anatomy of a Crime: Sex, Hush Money and a Trump Fixer’s Guilty Plea” by Jim Rutenberg and Rebecca R. Ruiz…

Excerpts:

“The court documents filed Tuesday (8/21/18) in connection with Mr. Cohen’s guilty plea provided a far more detailed account than previously known about the payments made to suppress women’s stories about Mr. Trump that could have threatened his election prospects. The filings revealed the involvement of executives at The Trump Organization, who routed reimbursements to Mr. Cohen through a Trump trust using “sham invoices.”

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DAVID PECKER (L)

For the first time, prosecutors said that the tabloid publisher American Media Inc. had been involved in deals to buy the silence of both Ms. Clifford and Ms. McDougal. And as early as August 2015, prosecutors revealed, Mr. Cohen communicated with the chairman of American Media, David J. Pecker, who agreed to turn the organization’s tip line into a trip wire that could detect potential trouble for Mr. Trump. Mr. Pecker agreed to “help deal with negative stories,” about Mr. Trump’s “relationships with women by, among other things, assisting the campaign in identifying such stories so they could be purchased and their publication avoided.”

Mr. Pecker made that promise, prosecutors said, “in coordination with” Mr. Cohen, “and one or more members of the campaign.”

“Prosecutors and Mr. Cohen said that he undertook his work with A.M.I. at Mr. Trump’s direction. “

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KAREN MCDOUGAL

Tipping Off the Fixer

Prosecutors identified June 2016 — around the time Mr. Trump effectively clinched the Republican nomination — as the beginning of the plot to pay off Ms. McDougal. A fitness specialist and model by then, Ms. McDougal had been named Playboy’s Playmate of the Year for 1998 but came from wholesome roots as a preschool teacher. Even in recent interviews, she has maintained that she admires Mr. Trump, saying she broke off their relationship in 2007 out of her own sense of guilt about being involved in an extramarital affair.

She has said that she decided to sell her story in 2016 when another former Playboy model hinted at it on Twitter, causing her to worry that it would become public.” She decided to approach the tabloids and hired a Los Angeles lawyer, Keith M. Davidson, to help her do it.”

“Mr. Davidson’s client list included professional athletes like Manny Pacquiao and Jalen Rose, but his work also brought him into the orbit of regular subjects of tabloid news such as the wrestler Hulk Hogan and the “Austin Powers” actor Verne Troyer. He had worked with A.M.I. and other gossip publishers, both in selling information and in seeking to block stories that might damage clients’ reputations.”

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“According to prosecutors, when Ms. McDougal and Mr. Davidson approached American Media, Mr. Pecker, along with his top editorial executive, Dylan Howard, immediately informed Mr. Cohen. More important, the prosecutors allege, Mr. Cohen then urged A.M.I. to buy her story in order to suppress it, “so as to prevent it from influencing the election.”

“The First Amendment gives media companies wide latitude to communicate with candidates and, several campaign finance law experts have said, even allows them to coordinate coverage with campaigns — which makes sense for a country that had a very partisan press corps at its founding.”

“A media entity can talk with a campaign about coverage as part of its media function,” said Trevor Potter, a founder of the Campaign Legal Center who helped write part of the campaign finance law.”

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“But a media company makes an illegal corporate contribution if it acts outside its “legitimate press function” in coordinating with a campaign to spend money to influence an election. Such activity “is not like the action of a media company deciding what to cover and exercising editorial judgment,” Potter said.”

“And that’s where, prosecutors allege, the relationship between Mr. Cohen, Mr. Trump and potentially others in his campaign took an illegal turn.”

“Speaking in court on Tuesday, Mr. Cohen said he arranged the payment “in coordination with, and at the direction of, a candidate for federal office.” Prosecutors said that A.M.I.’s $150,000 agreement with Ms. McDougal came after Mr. Cohen promised the company that it would be reimbursed. Prosecutors report that Mr. Cohen effectively moved to do that several weeks later, setting up a shell company to buy the rights to Ms. McDougal’s story about Mr. Trump from A.M.I.”

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“The deal was coming together around the time that Mr. Cohen taped a conversation with Mr. Trump in which they appeared to come to a realization: As loyal as Mr. Pecker was, there was no guarantee he would always be in place to protect Mr. Trump’s secrets. As Mr. Trump said on the tape, which Mr. Cohen’s lawyer released last month, “Maybe he gets hit by a truck.” At the last minute, according to prosecutors, A.M.I. backed out of the deal and instructed Mr. Cohen to destroy related paperwork. He did not. It is now in the possession of federal prosecutors.”

“Mr. Cohen and Mr. Pecker shared a commitment to protecting Mr. Trump. The 2 men had already had a trial run at that in July 2015. When a man approached Mr. Cohen to say he had a potentially compromising photograph of Mr. Trump signing a woman’s bare breast, Mr. Cohen arranged to connect the man with A.M.I. to discuss a deal, The New York Times previously reported. Though a deal never materialized, Mr. Cohen told The Times that his goal was to keep the photo hidden because “Mr. Trump has a family,” and “I felt like I had to protect his family.”

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“A.M.I. said at the time that neither Mr. Trump nor Mr. Cohen “has attempted to, or ever, influenced (or will ever influence) coverage at A.M.I.’s publications. Period.”

“During Mr. Trump’s run through the Republican primaries, The National Enquirer routinely bashed his rivals and promoted his candidacy. Similarly, The Enquirer became a powerful political billboard for Mr. Trump during the general election campaign.”

“In the fall of 2016, Ms. Clifford was discussing selling her story at an inopportune time for Mr. Trump, just after a recording leaked of raw “Access Hollywood” footage in which he boasted about groping women.”

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“Once again, the American Media trip wire alerted Mr. Cohen of trouble for Mr. Trump. Prosecutors reported Tuesday that an agent approached Mr. Howard, the A.M.I. editor, to tell him that Ms. Clifford was preparing to talk about her encounters with Mr. Trump. In fact, the prosecutors said, Mr. Howard and Mr. Pecker connected Mr. Cohen with Mr. Davidson, the lawyer who represented Ms. Clifford then.”

“Mr. Cohen initially struggled to come up with the $130,000 payment to Ms. Clifford, which Mr. Trump did not readily provide. Ms. Clifford then considered selling her story elsewhere.”

“Upon learning from Mr. Davidson about Ms. Clifford’s plans, Mr. Howard texted Mr. Cohen, urging that they “coordinate something on the matter,” or “it could look awfully bad for everyone,” the court papers said. Then, according to prosecutors, Mr. Pecker and Mr. Howard spoke with Mr. Cohen over an encrypted telephone line, persuading him to finalize the deal.”

“The obscure shell company Mr. Cohen used to pay her, Essential Consultants L.L.C., has since been disclosed. But then it remained secret, even after a Wall Street Journal article about Ms. McDougal’s deal with A.M.I., published days ahead of the campaign, noted that Ms. Clifford had spoken to the news media about selling her story but then disappeared.”

“It wasn’t until January 2017 that Mr. Cohen initiated the process of being repaid, presenting executives at the Trump Organization with records showing Essential Consultants’ payment to Ms. Clifford.”

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“According to prosecutors, executives at the company signed off on paying Mr. Cohen $420,000, which included a $60,000 bonus, money to cover any taxes on the payment to Mr. Cohen and a reimbursement for undefined “tech services.” As prosecutors noted, Mr. Cohen would be paid in $35,000 installments. Mr. Cohen submitted invoices that falsely identified the payments as part of a “retainer agreement.”

“Upon receiving the first two invoices, a company executive whom prosecutors identified as “Executive-1” forwarded the invoice to “another executive of the company (‘Executive -2’),” and the fraudulent invoice was approved, according to the prosecutors. Several people familiar with the investigation said one of those executives was Allen Weisselberg, the Trump Organization chief financial officer. It is unclear who the other executive was.”

“Even with the reimbursement, the campaign finance law views Mr. Cohen’s initial payment as an illegal contribution, in excess of limits on donations of more than $2,700 in general elections.”

Link to entire article: Anatomy of a Crime: Sex, Hush Money and a Trump Fixer’s Guilty Plea .

4 comments

  1. Gronda, do you know how we know that Donald Trump was aware of every payment? He can’t keep his hands to himself, he can’t consistently tell the truth and he is a cheap bastard. He round want the smallest amount paid and preferable by someone else’s budget. So, of course he knew.

    By the way, my guess is Cohen paid off other women, including the woman who had an information session schedule with a judge that Trump could not get out of regarding his alleged rape of her when she was 13. She was paid off the week before the election when she abruptly canceled a press conference. Keith

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Keith,

      It is amazing to me as to what a cheapskate the president is, in practice. You are right. It is this tell of his which tells us, that he was well aware of all monies paid to his former lovers.

      I do wish that the woman who was raped as a 13 year old would go public.

      Hugs, Gronda

      Like

  2. Dear Usfman,

    I hope they come forward. Whatever it takes for President Trump and his sycophants to face the reality that the rule of law will prevail and that his days in office are numbered.

    Hugs, Gronda

    Like

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