News & Politics

Michael Cohen's Business Associate Has Now Reportedly Flipped — Which Is Bad News for Trump

Federal investigators have an increasing number of cooperating witnesses.

Photo Credit: Fox News

Evgeny "Taxi King" Freidman, a business associate of President Donald Trump's lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to tax evasion as part of what the New York Times reports was a deal with prosecutors in which he agreed to cooperate with other investigations.

In other words, he flipped.

The Times notes that Freidman's cooperation with prosecutors suggests that he may be used to raise the pressure on Cohen, who may turn out to be a significant player in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of the Trump campaign. As Trump's attorney, Cohen may have access to extensive evidence of any wrongdoing Trump himself may have participated in. 

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Cohen's office and hotel room were searched by federal investigators last month, and they reportedly seized documents and records, some of which relate to Trump. Cohen has been reported to have a practice of recording his phone calls.

The Times notes that Freidman has been accused of evading taxes in the amount of $5 million and of grand larceny, charges which could result in a sentence of more than 25 years in prison.

The deal Freidman accepted had him plead guilty to only $50,000 worth of tax evasion, and he'll be on probation for five years. The apparent leniency of this deal suggests that prosecutors think he has something of particular value to offer as a cooperating witness.

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Cody Fenwick is a reporter and editor. Follow him on Twitter @codytfenwick.