2018 August 22
originally posted on facebook

Just read Cohen’s plea agreement. In addition to the well-publicized campaign finance violations, he admitted to underpaying $1.5 million in taxes and lying to a bank to illegally obtain loans. The agreement recommends 4-5 years in prison and up to $1 million in fines (on top of restitution).

The unreported income is mostly in connection to his extensive taxi medallion business, but also includes (among others) $30k in income for brokering the sale of a single handbag (a “Birkin bag”).

According to the plea agreement, Cohen says he did in fact get the $130k from home equity, as previously claimed… only now he admits the loan was illegally obtained.

The Trump Organization agreed to pay Cohen $420k to reimburse him for the $130k settlement with Stormy Daniels, and asked him to produce fraudulent invoices for “retainer” fees of $35k / month for 2017. Trump has made public statements that Cohen was paid a retainer like so. Note that if this money had actually been a retainer, use of it in this way (without properly notifying one’s client) would have been very disbarrable and probably illegal.

Unresolved matters:

  1. The agreement does not shed light on whether Keith Davidson was colluding with Cohen.
  2. I still have seen no explanation for the transactions that make it appear that Cohen laundered $130k from the Trump Campaign immediately before paying Stormy Daniels.
  3. Last I heard, Stormy Daniels’s own legal case against Cohen was on hold pending this case. I guess it will resume soon?
  4. In May, Trump disclosed in his personal liabilities report having paid Cohen an amount in the range $101k-$250k. It’s unclear to me whether the inconsistent amount is significant.

Lawfare

Update: It looks like the inconsistent amount I mentioned in point 4 is likely to be a violation of something or other:

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/08/24/trump-paid-michael-cohen-more-than-what-he-stated-in-financial-disclosure.html

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