The public is now able to examine some of the facts surrounding the hush money case involving President Donald Trump for themselves. This past week, federal Judge William H. Pauley demanded that documents in that case be publicly posted by late Thursday morning, including details of funneling money to at least two women who apparently had affairs with Trump. The ultimately failed scheme to silence them led to hundreds of thousands of dollars getting transmitted to former Playboy model Karen McDougal and adult film star Stormy Daniels. Federal investigators determined this secret presidential season scheme constituted an illegal effort to prop up the Trump presidential bid.
Pauley denied the government’s request to redact portions of the material outside of a small selection of names of people outside the public spotlight. He insisted:
‘The campaign finance violations discussed in the Materials are a matter of national importance. Now that the Government’s investigation into those violations has concluded, it is time that every American has an opportunity to scrutinize the Materials… he common law right of access — a right so enshrined in our identity that it “predate[s] even the Constitution itself” — derives from the public’s right to “learn of, monitor, and respond to the actions of their representatives and representative institutions.”‘
Former longtime Trump “fixer” Michael Cohen is currently serving a three year prison sentence for his role in the campaign finance law violations along with other crimes. Trump has at this point long been revealed to have directed the scheme including Cohen’s involvement in it so although he has faced no charges himself, he has been slammed as an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the case.
For some time, he struggled to even admit some basic facts about the situation. Trump claimed at one point to have had no knowledge of what Cohen did, despite directing it and paying him back for the well over $100,000 that he gave Daniels after fellow co-conspirators at the National Enquirer declined to get financially involved with an adult film star. That publication’s David Pecker received limited immunity in exchange for cooperation with the since concluded federal probe into the scheme, exemplifying how far this illegality went.
Material slated for release included the Justice Department’s July status report and search warrant materials related to raids on Cohen, and at least some of was set to be available online.
This case is far from the only one in which significant troves of material have been released to the public covering criminal activity connected to the president. A redacted version of the final report from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation has long been in circulation outlining the president and his team’s connections to Russia and the president’s effort to obstruct justice in the case uncovering those connections. Mueller himself is set to publicly testify to a pair of House committees for the first time in connection to this Russia probe this coming week, definitively keeping the heat on Trump big time.
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