Michael Cohen, the former longtime “fixer” for Donald Trump, has provided personal cellphones of his to prosecutors with the office of the Manhattan district attorney, according to comments Cohen made. These apparently include devices that were previously obtained by federal prosecutors.
“Most recently, they asked for my cell phones because they want to be able to extract from it the voice recordings that I had had with Keith Davidson, former attorney to Stormy Daniels before Michael Avenatti, as well as a bunch of emails, text messages, and so on,” Cohen said Wednesday on CNN.
Cohen made a high-profile break with Trump, partly in connection to a criminal case against the ex-Trump ally for his part in a scheme to deliver hush money to women with whom Trump had affairs, according to some accounts. (Cohen has since completed a stint in jail over that matter.) Relatedly, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has kickstarted his work on Trump’s role in the hush money, with reports from sources including The New York Times outlining the possibility that Bragg brings a case over the business records the Trump Organization falsified for Cohen’s reimbursements. That money to Cohen followed a payment he made to buy one of the women’s silence, and the Trump company falsely credited its subsequent reimbursements to so-called legal expenses. The criminal charge for falsifying business records can be a felony if connected to another criminal act.
In this case, that spot in the legal equation could be fulfilled by establishing a violation of New York’s election laws. That’s similar to what originally got Cohen in his federal case, since the hush money he provided was in support of the Trump campaign via helping protect its public image — and vastly exceeded limits on individuals providing support directly to a campaign. Recent reports have indicated David Pecker, an ex-publisher of the National Enquirer, which originally purchased the rights to the second woman’s story with an intention of never running it, was set to answer questions, and Trump employees including Jeff McConney, who also came up in the tax fraud case prosecutors recently won against the Trump company, could also testify before the grand jury now hearing Bragg’s evidence in this case involving Trump.
Publicly available information has tied Trump in rather direct terms to the hush money, and he essentially admitted to a basic level of knowledge of and involvement in the arrangement in recent remarks on Truth Social, apparently on the idea any further scrutiny was unwarranted. “With respect to the “Stormy” nonsense, it is VERY OLD & happened a long time ago, long past the very publicly known & accepted deadline of the Statute of Limitations,” he said on Tuesday. “I placed full Reliance on the JUDGEMENT & ADVICE OF [COUNSEL], who I had every reason to believe had a license to practice law, was competent, & was able to appropriately provide solid legal services. He came from a good law firm, represented other clients over the years, & there was NO reason not to rely on him, and I did.”