Michael Cohen, a longtime associate of ex-President Trump who had a less than amicable break with the former president amid an onslaught of investigations and what were eventually criminal charges, has provided testimony to a grand jury hearing evidence in an investigation by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.
That probe is, as has been well-documented, dealing with the hush money given to Stormy Daniels, an adult film star, before the 2016 presidential election. Cohen was the source of that hush money, which mirrored funds originating with another source for Karen McDougal, who like Daniels purportedly had an affair with the now ex-president.
Cohen already faced a federal criminal case that covered, in part, the violations prosecutors saw in the money to Daniels of federal rules limiting the amounts of support individuals can provide to federal campaigns for office. Whether it’s the private jet space from which the Herschel Walker campaign benefited — and that it later dubiously credited to a recount fund or, well, the money Cohen provided for Daniels, not only direct donations to individual campaigns are covered by federal limits. Also covered are moves in support of the campaign, and the funds for Daniels helped with PR.
One of the latest claims from a Trump lawyer is that the now former president was a victim of extortion, something Donald himself has also referenced in some of his public comments about the matter. It might be difficult to square that argument with Trump’s later handling of accusations of sexual misconduct from writer E. Jean Carroll, about which he didn’t seem concerned to the point of forking over large amounts of money. Instead, he reacted in predictably antagonistic terms, leading to a defamation case from Carroll before the more recent lawsuit directly covering what Carroll says happened.
As for Cohen, he had already given prosecutors information — over and over, but he hadn’t appeared in front of the grand jury hearing evidence in the hush money matter until earlier this week. Also among those who’ve appeared are David Pecker, formerly of the National Enquirer, and Kellyanne Conway, the longtime associate of Trump who led his campaign for some time ahead of the 2016 election before her later White House role. “It’s been a long time coming, five years now, give or take,” Cohen said, according to The Daily Beast. “This is not revenge. What this is, is about accountability… he needs to be held accountable for his dirty deeds.” An eventual case from Bragg focusing on the falsified business records at the Trump Organization covering reimbursements to Cohen and tying those deceptive records to violations of New York rules for elections could land Trump with up to multiple years in prison if he’s convicted.