Legal noose tightens around Trump
14 December 2018
Only hours after a Manhattan federal judge sentenced Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen to three years in prison on Wednesday, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York revealed that the parent company of the National Enquirer tabloid and its chief executive had corroborated Cohen’s claim that Trump was complicit in violations of campaign finance laws in the 2016 presidential election.
The guilty pleas by Cohen and the admission by American Media Inc. (AMI) and its CEO, longtime Trump associate-turned anti-Trump informer David Pecker, appear to place the president in serious legal jeopardy. They coincide with growing talk of impeachment proceedings when the new Democratic-controlled House of Representatives convenes next month, and suggestions that Trump could be criminally indicted.
Cohen had pleaded guilty to nine counts of campaign finance violations, tax evasion, lying to Congress and lying to banks. The lying to Congress charge was brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller in connection with Cohen’s cover-up of business negotiations between the Trump Organization and Russian officials over a Moscow hotel project, which extended well into the 2016 campaign and involved then-presumptive Republican nominee Trump and Trump family members.
The other charges were brought by the US Attorney in Manhattan. The most damaging for Trump was Cohen’s admission that he paid $130,000 in hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels and arranged for a $150,000 payoff to former Playboy model Karen McDougal to prevent the two from going public on the eve of the election with their claims of sexual affairs with Trump.
In legal filings in connection with Cohen’s plea deal, prosecutors…