Cohen pleads guilty to charges; says hush money paid to influence election

Donald Trump's former personal lawyer and "fixer," Michael Cohen, has pleaded guilty to charges including campaign finance fraud stemming from hush money payments to porn actress Stormy Daniels and ex-Playboy model Karen McDougal.

Posted: Aug 21, 2018 5:10 PM
Updated: Aug 21, 2018 5:13 PM

NEW YORK (AP) - The Latest on a financial fraud probe involving Donald Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen (all times local):

4:55 p.m.

Donald Trump's former personal lawyer and "fixer," Michael Cohen, has pleaded guilty to charges including campaign finance fraud stemming from hush money payments to porn actress Stormy Daniels and ex-Playboy model Karen McDougal.

The 51-year-old Cohen said in federal court in New York on Tuesday that he made the payments in coordination with Trump, who wasn't named, to influence the election. Both women claimed Trump had affairs with them, which he denies.

The other charges Cohen pleaded guilty to involve bank fraud and income tax evasion.

As part of his plea agreement, Cohen agreed not to challenge any sentence from 46 to 63 months.

Cohen's plea follows months of federal scrutiny and a falling out with the president, whom he previously said he'd "take a bullet" for.

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4:45 p.m.

Donald Trump's former personal lawyer and "fixer" Michael Cohen, has pleaded guilty to charges including campaign finance fraud stemming from hush money payments to porn actress Stormy Daniels and ex-Playboy model Karen McDougal.

The 51-year-old Cohen entered the plea in federal court in New York on Tuesday. The other charges involve bank fraud and income tax evasion.

As part of his plea agreement, Cohen agreed not to challenge any sentence from 46 to 63 months.

Cohen's plea follows months of scrutiny from federal investigations and a falling out with the president, whom he previously said he'd "take a bullet" for.

FBI raids in April sought bank records, communications with Trump's campaign and information on payments to Daniels and McDougal.

Both women claimed Trump had affairs with them, which he denies.

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4:30 p.m.

President Donald Trump's former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, has told a federal judge he plans to plead guilty to federal charges.

Cohen is facing a judge in federal court in New York on Tuesday.

The charges include campaign contribution violations, tax evasion and making a false statement to a financial institution.

The investigation into Cohen has pulled back the curtain on Cohen's role as the president's loyal "fixer."

Earlier this year he admitted arranging a $130,000 payment to quiet porn actress Stormy Daniels' claims that she had an affair with Trump

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4:05 p.m.

President Donald Trump's former personal attorney has entered a federal courtroom in New York where two people familiar with his case say he will plead guilty to federal fraud charges.

Michael Cohen sat down by himself at the defense table Tuesday before he was joined by his lawyer, Guy Petrillo.

The people spoke to the Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the case.

They say the campaign finance charges involve payments to two women.

The investigation into Cohen has pulled back the curtain on Cohen's role as the president's loyal "fixer."

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3:10 p.m.

Two people familiar with the financial fraud investigation of Donald Trump's former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, say he will plead guilty to federal charges including campaign finance fraud, bank fraud and tax evasion.

Cohen is due to appear in court in New York at 4 p.m. Tuesday. He was earlier seen going into an FBI building.

The people spoke to the Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the case.

They say the campaign finance charges involve payments to two women.

The investigation into Cohen has pulled back the curtain on Cohen's role as the president's loyal "fixer."

Earlier this year he admitted arranging a $130,000 payment to quiet porn actress Stormy Daniels' claims that she had an affair with Trump.

___

2:45 p.m.

Two people familiar with the financial fraud investigation of Donald Trump's former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, say he has reached a plea agreement.

Cohen is due to appear in federal court in New York at 4 p.m. Tuesday. He was earlier seen going into a building where the FBI has its New York offices.

The people spoke to the Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the case.

They did not know the details of the agreement.

The investigation into Cohen has pulled back the curtain on Cohen's role as the president's loyal "fixer."

Earlier this year he admitted arranging a $130,000 payment to quiet porn actress Stormy Daniels' claims that she had an affair with Trump.

___

1:35 p.m.

Two people familiar with the financial fraud investigation of Donald Trump's former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, say his lawyers are in negotiations with prosecutors that could result in a plea deal, possibly within hours.

The people say the lawyer could plead guilty in Manhattan federal court as early as Tuesday afternoon, if a deal is struck requiring cooperation with the government. The people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to publicly discuss the case.

Cohen was Trump's longtime personal lawyer until weeks ago. He was seen going into his lawyers' offices early Tuesday.

Prosecutors had been investigating Cohen for possible fraud related to his businesses for months. The FBI raided his hotel room, home and office on April 9, seizing more than 4 million items.

____

12:10 p.m.

A New York judge has formally ended the attorney-client privilege review of items seized from President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer, leaving prosecutors to decide what's next in their fraud probe.

U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood on Tuesday publicly filed an order that was signed Monday, ending attorney Michael Cohen's effort to bar as privileged some items seized by the FBI in April raids on his dwellings.

The judge had appointed a special master to review 4 million items. She says she agrees with the special master 7,146 items are privileged, eight are partially privileged and 285 are highly personal.

She says Cohen, Trump or the Trump Organization wanted another 57 items designated privileged but agreed not to contest the special master's findings.

Cohen's then-lawyer called the use of search warrants "completely inappropriate."

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