A letter that purported to prove President Trump’s longtime fixer Michael Cohen misled investigators about a hush money payment made during the 2016 presidential race reportedly surfaced Wednesday.
Cohen’s attorney Stephen M. Ryan wrote the letter to the Federal Election Commission on February 8, 2018, detailing the payment Cohen made to porn star Stormy Daniels.
Six months after the letter was written, Cohen pled guilty in federal court to various crimes, including campaign finance violations linked to the payment to Daniels.
Cohen, is a major character in the grand jury investigation into former President Donald Trump’s alleged participation in the payment to Daniels.
He informed detectives for Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and testified in front of a grand jury that he paid the payments at Trump’s request.
Attorney Robert Costello, one of Cohen’s previous advisors, claimed to have assailed Cohen’s credibility in court this week after claiming to have knowledge that contradicted some of Cohen’s current comments and that may prove exculpatory for Trump.
The letter was not delivered to the grand jury, which did not meet on Wednesday but will meet again on Thursday.
Even if grand jurors are ignorant of its contents the letter might influence Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s decision on whether to file an indictment.
This is especially true in light of Cohen’s ongoing credibility issues.
Trump or Trump’s trust paid $420,000 to Cohen.
According to federal prosecutors, the money consisted of $130,000 for the payment and $50,000 for digital work Cohen performed for Trump.
This $180,000 was supposedly increased to cover taxes. Prosecutors claim the remaining $60,000 was a bonus.
Although non-disclosure agreements are lawful, Trump may have a problem with how his firm compensated Cohen.
Prosecutors can charge Trump with a felony if they can show that his purpose to deceive includes an intent to conduct or conceal a second offense.
Authorities contend that the alleged $130,000 hush payment constituted an unlawful gift to the Trump campaign since it was paid to halt a story in order to promote his presidential campaign.