Michael D. Cohen, President Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, met last month with federal prosecutors in Manhattan and provided information on any irregularities within the president’s family business and about a donor to the initial committee, according to people familiar with the case.
Mr. Cohen, who worked in the Trump organization for a decade, talked to the insurance claims prosecutors filed by the company over the years, the people said, who did not elaborate on the possible irregularities.
Although it was not clear whether the prosecutors found Cohen’s information credible and if they intended to pursue it, the meeting suggests that they are interested in broader aspects of the Trump organization, in addition to their investigation of the company’s role in the house-rate payments made before The 201
6 election for women claiming to have had business with Mr. Trump. Mr Cohen pleaded guilty last summer to arranging these payments.
The prosecutors also questioned Cohen about a donor to the president’s initial committee, Imaad Zuberi, a venture capitalist and political finance assistant in California, according to the people who know the issue, who were not authorized to discuss the confidential meeting. About the time Zuberi contributed $ 900,000 to the committee, he also tried to hire Mr Cohen as a consultant and wrote him a great deal of control, one of the people said.
Although Cohen did not go through with arrangements, he then built a consulting business with clients who tried to understand and access the Trump administration.
A spokesman for Zuberi, Steve Rabinowitz, confirmed the check on Friday and said it was for $ 100,000 and never collected. Mr. Zuberi, the only person directly referred to in a recent announcement prosecutor, sent the opening committee, who previously refused to have any contacts with Mr. Cohen beyond any conversation.
There was no evidence that Cohen, who is scheduled to start serving a three-year prison sentence in May, involved Mr Trump in any irregularities discussed during the last month’s meeting. If prosecutors concluded that Mr. Cohen’s information was truthful and valuable, they could ask the judge who sentenced him to reduce prison time.
The White House referred questions to the Trump organization. A spokesman at the company did not respond to the request for comment. Previously, the President has accused Mr Cohen of lying to try to reduce his sentence.
Lanny Davis, a lawyer and adviser to Cohen, would not comment on the investigations beyond saying that his client was “interested in cooperating with and assisting” the prosecutors in any way they think is helpful. “
A spokesman The Manhattan law firm, known as the Southern District of New York, refused to comment.
The prosecutors recently tried to interview Trump Organization executives, according to a person who was informed of the request, previously reported by CNN. The nature of the questions they wanted to ask was not known.
So far, Cohen is the only person who was sentenced to significant jail time in various investigations linked to Mr Trump.
In August, Cohen was guilty of violating campaign funding laws for his role in household payments, as well as tax and bank crimes. In a separate case brought by Robert S. Mueller III, the Special Counsel, Cohen in November considered that he lied to Congress about the timing of negotiations on building a Trump skyscraper in Moscow and on the extent of Mr. Trump’s commitment to the plans.
In a memo to the court before being sentenced in December, Cohen’s lawyers wrote that he was disproportionately punished for “conduct routinely exercised by non-criminal enforcement”, referring to his admission of tax evasion. His lawyers compared with celebrities who received fines or much less time after being charged with extensive tax fraud.
The session with the Southern District Prosecutor was not the first time that Cohen provided information that could possibly lead to a diminished sentence. Previously, Mr. Cohen met twice with the prosecutors to help them investigate the payments to women, including the Trump Organization’s decision to replace Mr Cohen for $ 130,000 he paid to porn movie actor Stormy Daniels.
In an interview in December, Cohen told George Stephanopoulos from ABC News that he was “done with the lie”. He continued, “I’m ready to be loyal to President Trump, and my first loyalty belongs to my wife, my daughter, my son, and this
Federal law allows prosecutors to seek – and a judge to grant – a reduced prison sentence For a defendant offering “substantial assistance in investigating or prosecuting another person” within one year of being convicted, the same rule would also allow the judge to consider assisting Cohen, prior to his conviction, to the Special Adviser. He has seven times with prosecutors from Mr. Mellera’s office.
The continued examination of the Trump family business and initial committees from the southern district will, as Mueller is said to be complicated by his investigation, when he has completed a report with his results, various aspects of his investigation continues to lie in the southern district and other US lawyers
Mr. Cohen declined to seek a formal a labor agreement with the Southern District, which would have required him to reveal any crimes he had committed or been aware of and would have delayed his judgment. His decision to abstain from such an agreement probably contributed to his punishment being serious. his lawyer had argued for no prison period.
Mr. Trump had offered another opinion, says last year that Mr Cohen would earn a “full and complete” prison sentence. And as Mr Cohen was in the spotlight as a probable witness before Congress, Mr Trump intensified his attacks against his former employee, urging prosecutors and the media to review Mr Cohn’s family.
The attack led Mr. Cohen postponed a planned appearance before the chamber’s supervisory committee earlier this month. But this week, the committee announced that the testimony was back to next Wednesday and that the Democrats were planning to question Cohen about “the president’s business practice”.
Mr. Cohen has also agreed to testify behind closed doors before the Parliament and Senate intelligence committees.
Mr. Cohen was originally scheduled to begin his prison term next month, but his lawyers cited Congress’s testimony – as well as the latest shoulder surgery – as a reason for a two-month delay. The judge who supervised Cohen’s case granted the request on Wednesday.