Michael Cohen, the former lawyer to Trump who has become a prolific cooperator with prosecutors at the office of the Manhattan district attorney, returned to answer questions on Wednesday for what was apparently a fifteenth time, saying before he went inside the building that he believed a criminal case could be brought against Trump.
He also seemed to express confidence such a case would actually be brought. Alvin Bragg, the current top prosecutor in the office, could focus in a case against Trump on falsified business records created at the Trump Organization to cover for reimbursements provided to Cohen after he handled some of the hush money provided to women with whom the now ex-president purportedly had affairs. Connecting that offense to a concurrent violation of New York election laws through means like breaking the rules for supporting a campaign could let Bragg charge the offense as a felony. “I don’t know why I’m here yet — we’ll find out as soon as I get upstairs,” Cohen told journalists Wednesday. “But as far as Mark Pomerantz is concerned, I agree with him. I believe that there is a case… The plane wasn’t ready. I think the plane may be right now on the tarmac and ready to take off.”
Also still under investigation is the handling by Trump and his business of claims of value for dozens of company assets, which is the issue that led to the ongoing civil lawsuit from New York state Attorney General Letitia James against Trump, prominent adult children of his, and the company. That case is moving forward with relative consistency, including after the judge rejected motions to dismiss that rehashed some of the same arguments, including that James’s actions were founded in political animosity. James’s team also recently expressed outrage about the contents of responses from the Trumps’ corner to some of the attorney general’s initial allegations. The responses seemed to blatantly contradict some of the Trumps’ own past admissions and also included claims those responding didn’t hold sufficient knowledge to provide a substantive answer despite it plainly seeming that they did.
“Donald J. Trump claims that he lacks sufficient information about the structure of his own companies to answer the Verified Complaint,” an investigator on James’s team frustratedly noted. The Trumps also yet again raised the already rejected claims of political animosity from James. The Trumps’ team later agreed to evidently refile their responses in a refreshed form — free of the sprawling nonsense. Back in Manhattan, Bragg was recently reported to be presenting evidence on Trump’s role in the hush money scheme to a grand jury, which could eventually approve filing criminal charges, should Bragg pursue that option.
Michael Cohen meets with the Manhattan DA for the 15th time. Says the Trump indictment is "on the tarmac and ready for takeoff." pic.twitter.com/2M2nIhXTt6
— Jose Pagliery (@Jose_Pagliery) February 8, 2023