Last month, Mr. Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen was found guilty on eight charges including campaign finance fraud. Cohen admitted that hush payments made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels and Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal “in coordination and at the direction of a candidate for federal office,” which was Donald Trump.
On Friday, in a follow-up to Cohen’s conviction, it was reported that federal prosecutors in Manhattan are now investigating whether anyone in the Trump Organization violated campaign-finance laws. According to Bloomberg:
‘The inquiry, not previously reported, shows that the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office doesn’t intend to stand down following the guilty plea from Trump’s longtime personal lawyer. Manhattan prosecutors are working on a parallel track to U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is tasked with examining Russian interference in the presidential election and who is referring other matters as they arise to appropriate sections of the Justice Department.’
At the time Cohen was found guilty, Trump tweeted this rant, deflecting on to Obama as usual:
The Trump Organization is a stable of private companies heavily invested in real estate. Since Trump took office, it has been run by his sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump. Bloomberg reported:
‘Central to the inquiry will be longtime Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg, who has already provided narrow cooperation with authorities over Cohen’s activities and hush agreements, according to the person. It’s not clear whether Weisselberg is a focus of the continuing inquiry.’
Prosecutors have said that two Trump company executives approved the improper payments to Cohen in violation of campaign-finance laws. One of those is believed to be Allen Weisselberg. According to Bloomberg:
‘Weisselberg cooperated with the Cohen probe, with limited immunity. Known for his loyalty to Trump after decades of working together, Weisselberg would almost certainly be reluctant to go further, though it’s unclear if he has been pressed to do so.’
Weisselberg was already interviewed by the New York Attorney General’s office as part of the state’s investigation of alleged improprieties at Trump’s charitable foundation. Bloomberg reported:
‘The attorney general filed a civil suit against Trump and three of his children in June claiming that they treated the charity like a “piggy bank” and that at least $2.8 million in charitable funds was directed to the 2016 campaign. The Foundation has denied the allegations and said the suit was politically motivated.’
Trump has certainly ranted over Mueller’s investigation unleashing many Twitter tantrums over what he has called a “witch hunt.” However, New York’s independent investigation could also pose a large threat to Mr. Trump.
The plea that Cohen filed listed the reimbursements as “legal expenses” and not as payments related to the campaign. Services to the campaign must be reported and are governed by spending limits.
According to Bloomberg:
The attorney general filed a civil suit against Trump and three of his children in June claiming that they treated the charity like a “piggy bank” and that at least $2.8 million in charitable funds was directed to the 2016 campaign. The Foundation has denied the allegations and said the suit was politically motivated.’
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