Cohen testifies Trump told him to commit a crime; pleads guilty to eight criminal charges

WION Web Team
Washington, DC, USA Published: Aug 22, 2018, 06:39 AM(IST)

File photo of former personal attorney for US President Donald Trump. Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

The case which stemmed from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into alleged Russian meddling of the 2016 US presidential elections

President Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen, 51, pleaded guilty to eight criminal charges in federal court in Manhattan, including tax evasion, bank fraud and campaign finance violations.

Also Read: Trump lashes out at Cohen over Playboy model recording

The case which stemmed from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into alleged Russian meddling of the 2016 US presidential elections holds great importance for Trump's presidency.

Cohen, testified in court that Trump directed him to commit a crime by arranging payments ahead of the 2016 presidential election to silence two women -  Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal- who claimed to have had affairs with Trump.

"Today he (Cohen) stood up and testified under oath that Donald Trump directed him to commit a crime by making payments to two women for the principal purpose of influencing an election," Lanny Davis, Cohen's lawyer said in a statement.

"If those payments were a crime for Michael Cohen, then why wouldn't they be a crime for Donald Trump?" he said.

The two payments included $130,000 to adult film star Stormy Daniels and $150,000 to former Playboy model Karen McDougal.

Cohen told the court that he arranged to make payments "for (the) principal purpose of influencing (the) election" at the direction of a candidate for federal office.

Trump has repeatedly denied the affairs.

Cohen's verdict came as former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was found guily of financial wrongdoings.  

Prosecutors accused Manafort of hiding from US tax authorities $16 million he earned as a political consultant for pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine to fund an opulent lifestyle and then lying to banks to secure $20 million in loans after his Ukrainian income dried up and he needed cash.

Manafort now faces a second trial on September 17 in which he is charged with money laundering, failing to register as a lobbyist in the United States for his work for pro-Kremlin politicians in Ukraine, and obstruction of justice.

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