TRUMP LE­GAL WOES MOUNT

The State - - Front Page - BY MATT ZAPO­TO­SKY AND DEVLIN BAR­RETT

While for­mer Trump lawyer Michael Co­hen awaits sen­tenc­ing, new court papers de­tail more of Trump’s woes.

Fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors filed new court papers Fri­day di­rectly im­pli­cat­ing Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump in plans to buy women’s si­lence as far back as 2014 and of­fer­ing new ev­i­dence of Rus­sian ef­forts to forge a po­lit­i­cal al­liance with Trump be­fore he be­came pres­i­dent – dis­clo­sures that show the deep­en­ing po­lit­i­cal and le­gal morass en­velop­ing the ad­min­is­tra­tion.

The sep­a­rate fil­ings came from spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller and fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors in New York ahead of Wed­nes­day’s sen­tenc­ing of Trump’s for­mer per­sonal lawyer, Michael Co­hen.

Taken to­gether, the doc­u­ments sug­gest that the pres­i­dent’s le­gal woes are far from over and re­veal a pre­vi­ously un­re­ported con­tact from a Rus­sian to Trump’s in­ner cir­cle dur­ing the cam­paign. But the doc­u­ments do not an­swer the cen­tral ques­tion at the heart of Mueller’s work – whether the pres­i­dent or those around him con­spired with the Krem­lin.

The doc­u­ments of­fer a scathing por­trait of his for­mer lawyer as a crim­i­nal who de­serves lit­tle sym­pa­thy or mercy be­cause he held back from telling the FBI ev­ery­thing he knew. For that rea­son, prose- cu­tors said, he should be sen­tenced to “sub­stan­tial” prison time, sug­gest­ing pos­si­bly 31⁄ years.

Trump im­me­di­ately de­clared that he was vin­di­cated.

“To­tally clears the pres­i­dent. Thank you!” he tweeted. White House spokes­woman Sarah San­ders said the Co­hen fil­ings “tell us noth­ing of value that wasn’t al­ready known.”

The spe­cial coun­sel’s of­fice said Co­hen had pro­vided “use­ful in­for­ma­tion” about its on­go­ing probe of Rus­sian in­ter­fer­ence in the 2016 elec­tion, as well as “rel­e­vant in­for­ma­tion” about his con­tacts with peo­ple con­nect- ed to the White House be­tween 2017 and 2018.

Mueller re­vealed that Co­hen told pros­e­cu­tors about what seemed to be a pre­vi­ously un­known Novem­ber 2015 con­tact with a Rus­sian na­tional, who claimed to be a “trusted per­son” in the Rus­sian Fed­er­a­tion of­fer­ing the cam­paign “po­lit­i­cal syn­ergy” and “syn­ergy on a gov­ern­ment level.”

Co­hen told in­ves­ti­ga­tors that the per­son, who was not iden­ti­fied, re­peat­edly pro­posed a meet­ing be­tween Trump and Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin, say­ing that such a meet­ing could have a “phe­nom­e­nal” im­pact, “not only in po­lit­i­cal but in a busi­ness di­men­sion as well,” the spe­cial coun­sel’s of­fice wrote.

Co­hen did not fol­low up on the in­vi­ta­tion be­cause he was al­ready work­ing on a Trump project in Moscow through a dif­fer­ent per­son he be­lieved to have Rus­sian gov­ern­ment con­nec­tions, the spe­cial coun­sel’s of­fice wrote.

Pros­e­cu­tors also sin­gled out Trump as be­ing di­rectly in­volved in ef­forts to buy the si­lence of women who might level pub­lic al­le­ga­tions about him.

The memo from New York pros­e­cu­tors iden­ti­fies three peo­ple at an Au­gust 2014 meet­ing: Co­hen, “In­di­vid­ual 1” and “Chair­man 1.” The doc­u­ment else­where iden­ti­fies In­di­vid­ual 1 as Trump, and peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the case said Chair­man 1 is David Pecker of the Na­tional En­quirer.

“In Au­gust 2014, Chair­man-1 had met with Co­hen and In­di­vid­ual-1, and had of­fered to help deal with neg­a­tive sto­ries about In­di­vid­ual-1’s re­la­tion­ships with women by iden­ti­fy­ing such sto­ries so that they could be pur­chased and ‘killed,’” the pros­e­cu­tors’ mem­o­ran­dum says.

RICHARD DREW AP

Michael Co­hen, for­mer lawyer to Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, leaves his apart­ment build­ing on New York’s Park Av­enue on Fri­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.