Prosecutors connect Trump to illegal payments during the campaign

Source: The Hill | December 8, 2018 | Chris Mills Rodrigo

For the first time on Friday federal prosecutors in New York said that President Trump directed his former lawyer Michael Cohen to make two illegal payments during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York connected Trump to the illegal payments in the latest filing in the case involving his longtime lawyer and fixer.

The document states that Cohen “acted in coordination with and at the direction of” Trump before the election in steering payments to silence Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, two women claiming they had affairs with Trump in 2006. Trump has denied the affairs.

The latest filing does not explicitly name Trump, but makes numerous references to an “Individual-1” who it states in January 2017 “had become the President of the United States” and for whom Cohen worked as a personal attorney.

Prosecutors argue that Cohen made the payments for the rights to Daniels and McDougal’s stories before the election in order to “suppress the stories and thereby prevent them from influencing the election.”

Cohen had previously implicated Trump regarding the payments when he pleaded guilty in August to campaign finance violations, among other counts involving bank and tax fraud. But the filing Friday is the first time prosecutors have also tied Trump to the illegal payments.

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