Michael Cohen signed a deal to cooperate with prosecutors in a new probe of Trump's business: report

Michael Cohen signed a deal to cooperate with prosecutors in a new probe of Trump's business: report
PBS Newshour

Michael Cohen has signed a proffer agreement with the Manhattan district attorney's office as part of a new investigation into President Donald Trump's business, according to a report from CNBC on Wednesday.

CNN similarly reported that Cohen has been speaking with the New York prosecutor's office run by Cy Vance as it explores potential wrongdoing in the Trump Organization regarding falsified business records.

The investigation began last month, CNN reported, and it picks up where the investigation from the federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York of a Trump campaign hush money payment left off. SDNY charged Cohen with carrying out an illegal scheme in 2016 to arrange payment for the silence of women who said they slept with Donald Trump, ensuring they wouldn't damage his campaign. Because this expenditure for the Trump campaign wasn't reported as such and was deliberately concealed, it violated federal election law. For this crime, other charges of tax and bank fraud, and criminal lies told in the course of the Russia investigation, Cohen is now serving three years prison.

Trump himself was implicated in the prosecutor's public findings in the case, but the federal investigation wrapped up without any additional charges — potentially because the president cannot be indicted while in office, according to Justice Department policy.

But the Manhattan DA appears to be looking at a separate, state crime: falsifying business records. Cohen has said that he was repaid through the Trump Organization for the criminal hush money, and these funds were falsely disguised as a legal retainer. This could have potentially violated the law.

"The investigation could result in fines against the Trump Organization or Allen Weisselberg, who managed the organization’s business affairs," CNBC noted.


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