Michael Cohen to testify in Donald Trump’s hush-money investigation

Michael Cohen to testify in Donald Trump’s hush-money investigation

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Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s former lawyer and mediator in the Stormy Daniels hush-money affair, is scheduled to testify before a Manhattan grand jury on Monday about payments to the adult film actress, a report said Saturday.

Related: Trump paying porn stars is a ‘zombie case’ that won’t die, ex-prosecutor says in book

Cohen’s appearance before a grand jury convened by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg comes as prosecutors near the end of an investigation into alleged payments totaling $130,000 to Daniels before the 2016 election to stop discussing their alleged affair.

Cohen has been meeting regularly with Manhattan prosecutors in recent weeks, according to The Associated Press, which reported the lawyer was in an all-day meeting Friday to prepare for his testimony next week.

He declined to comment as he left the session, saying he was “taking some time now to be quiet and allow the DA to build their case.”

On Friday, the New York Times, citing four sources, said Trump was also offered to testify in the investigation that could make the 45th president the first former president to be impeached. Trump’s proposal is considered unlikely to be accepted.

However, Trump used social media to mock the investigation, describing it as “a complete and utter weaponization of scandal, injustice, mockery and law enforcement to influence a presidential election”!

The criminal investigation into the payments to Daniels is partially piggybacked on a parallel New York State criminal case that in December found the Trump Organization guilty of multiple counts of tax fraud and falsifying business records.

Possible charges against Trump personally from the Manhattan DA investigation include alleged wrongdoing in arranging the payments to Daniels, how they were accounted for by the Trump Organization and allegations of falsifying business records.

The Manhattan district attorney’s investigation went off the rails last year when the newly elected district attorney slowed the investigation and lost two prosecutors.

The investigation later resurfaced and resumed its efforts, focusing on hush payments made to Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougall.

Daniels was paid by Cohen through his own company and then through the Trump Organization, which logged the reimbursements as “legal expenses.”

McDougal’s $150,000 payment, arranged by Cohen, was made by the publisher of the supermarket tabloid National Enquirer, which later killed the story in what it called a “catch-and-kill” operation.

Cohen, now a cooperating witness, pleaded guilty to tax evasion and campaign-finance violations related to the Daniels payments. He was sentenced to three years in federal prison, ordered to pay a $50,000 fine, and later barred from practicing as an attorney.

Federal prosecutors said during Cohen’s criminal case that Trump was aware of the payments to the women, but the US attorney’s office in New York declined to pursue criminal charges against Trump, who was then US president in the White House.

Cohen, who served as Trump’s attorney and fixer from 2006 to 2018, is now estranged from his former boss. Earlier this year, he turned over his cell phones, including voice recordings of conversations with Daniels’ lawyers, emails and text messages to the Manhattan district attorney.

Cohen is not the only former member of Trump’s former inner circle to meet with prosecutors. Former political adviser Kellyanne Conway and former spokeswoman Hope Hicks are also believed to have visited the district attorney’s lower Manhattan office.

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