President Trump's former attorney Michael Cohen pleaded guilty Tuesday to eight counts of financial crimes. Cohen surrendered to the FBI earlier Tuesday and appeared in federal court in Manhattan where he admitted to campaign finance violations as well as tax and bank fraud. The deal includes the possibility of up to five years in prison for Cohen, CNN reports.
New York Daily News reporter Stephen Brown detailed the charges, which include five counts of tax evasion, one count of giving a false statement to a financial institution, one count of "willful cause of unlawful corporate contribution," and one count of "excessive campaign contribution." The latter refers to the $130,000 payment Cohen made to adult film star Stormy Daniels in exchange for her silence about an affair she says she had with Trump in 2006. Cohen, detailing the crimes he was pleading to in court, said he'd made the payments to Daniels, as well as to former Playboy model Karen McDougal, "in coordination with and at the direction of a candidate for federal office."
The New York Times first reported that the deal concerned the payments Cohen made to the women, who alleged they'd had extramarital affairs with Trump. The president initially said he did not know about Cohen's payment to Daniels, but he eventually admitted on Twitter that he did. Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani further revealed in May that Trump reimbursed Cohen for the payment.
The fraud case had been referred to the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team. When asked about Cohen's plea, as well as the conviction of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, "I don't have anything for you on that." Kimberly Alters