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Ex-lawyer says he told Trump about Kremlin contact: court proceedings

(Reuters) – Michael Cohen, former Donald Trump's former personal attorney, informed Trump about a call he had with the Kremlin…

(Reuters) – Michael Cohen, former Donald Trump’s former personal attorney, informed Trump about a call he had with the Kremlin seeking help to build a skyscraper in Moscow in 2016 during the US presidential campaign, according to a court application.

PHILPHOTO: US President Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen leaves the federal court after committing a guilty prosecution in Manhattan, New York, USA on November 29, 201

8. REUTERS / Andrew Kelly

Cohen was also “near and regular contact with White House-based staff and legal adviser “to Trump when he prepares fake statements to Congress about his contacts with Russia, Cohns lawyer said in a petition to a federal judge in Manhattan late Friday.

Cohen is scheduled to be sentenced on December 12 after being guilty of tax evasion, making false claims to a bank, campaign funding violations and lying to the congress.

Cohen has collaborated with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian involvement in the 2016 US election and possible interaction with the Trump campaign and his lawyers asked in the submission that he avoids imprisonment. The White House did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

Cohen, a former member of Trump’s internal circle, previously called the president’s fixer, acknowledged this week that he made false statements to two congressional panels about the Moscow project to remain consistent with Trump’s message about Russia during the campaign in 2016.

Cohen had stated in his statement to Congress that he had limited contact with Trump about the project, when it had actually been more extensive. Cohen also said that he wrongly told the Congress that he never took steps to travel to Russia when he had actually discussed going there.

In Friday’s court application, Cohen said that he kept Trump “appreciated” of the “material conversation” he had with a counselor to a major Russian governor in January 2016, seeking assistance in securing land and funding for the Mos Office project.

Cohen also said that he was talking to Trump, known as “Client-1” in filing, to travel to Russia to run the project deep in the presidential campaign from 2016.

“He and Client-1 also discussed any trip to Russia in the summer of 2016, and Michael took steps to clear the date of such travel, “Coh’s lawyers said in filing.

Following Cohns guilty allegation on Thursday, Trump Cohen called a “weak person” and accused him of preparing the story for a smaller prison sentence. Trump has repeatedly denied any interaction with Russia and criticized Mueller’s probe as a politically charged witch hunt.

Reporting by Nathan Layne in New York; Editing Alistair Bell

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