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Michael Avenatti: Cohen evidenced Trump payoffs, pregnancy cover up

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Michael Cohen and Donald Trump
Michael Cohen and Donald
Trump.

Reuters/Getty
Images


  • President Donald Trump’s legal troubles with his former
    lawyer Michael Cohen took a damaging twist on
    Thursday.
  • Lawyer Michael Avenatti alleged Cohen had evidence of
    Trump paying off multiple women and tried to cover up a
    pregnancy.
  • Stories alleging that Trump paid off women or hid a
    pregnancy, or even a child, have long been brushed off by the
    president.
  • But if Cohen provides evidence of this, it could
    seriously damage Trump.
  • Increasingly, Cohen, Trump’s longtime personal lawyer
    and holder of many of his personal secrets, appears to be
    flipping on his former boss.

President Donald Trump’s legal troubles with his former lawyer
Michael Cohen took another, damaging twist on Thursday when
Michael Avenatti, the attorney for porn star Stormy
Daniels,
alleged that multiple women had been paid off,
and that Trump may even have covered up a pregnancy.

“Donald Trump conspired with Michael Cohen to pay off
multiple other women prior to Election Day in 2016. They were
also concerned about a pregnancy. Cohen has evidence and info in
his possession and it must be released to the public,” Avenatti
tweeted
.

Trump already stands accused of having paid off Daniels, and in
tapes published by the New York Times, Trump and Cohen are on
record discussing making payments to former Playboy model Karen
McDougal.

Additionally, Trump has long been plagued by rumors that he
fathered an illegitimate child and paid a former Trump Tower doorman
$30,000 to keep quiet about the affair.

In short, it’s nothing new that Trump may have paid off multiple
women to keep quiet, or that he may have been “concerned” about a
pregnancy. Trump has brushed these stories off for years.

But what’s new and especially threatening to Trump’s presidency
is Cohen’s material, of which there seems to be plenty. 

Flippin’ Cohen


Michael Cohen
Michael Cohen.
Jeenah
Moon/Reuters


The government seized at last 12 audio tapes from Cohen, Trump’s
former longtime lawyer, a court filing on Monday
revealed
.

When the FBI raided Cohen’s office in April, it seized 4 million
other documents, many of which have proven to be outside
attorney-client privilege. 

It’s legal to pay people off to keep quiet about affairs via
nondisclosure agreements, and doing so falls far short of a
legally prosecutable “conspiracy,” as Avenatti suggested.

If Trump made the alleged payments with his own funds, and made
the payments strictly for personal, not campaign reasons, he
could be legally in the clear. But the proximity of the payments
to the election raise serious legal questions about use of
campaign finances.

Trump is legally bound to disclose campaign donations and
expenditures, and the payments, which Trump denies happening,
allegedly made to McDougal and Daniels went unreported by both
Cohen and Trump.

Facing an FBI investigation after years of acting as a “fixer”
for Trump, Cohen, also a key figure in the Russia
investigation
, increasingly appears to have flipped on his
former boss in what’s quickly become the greatest legal threat to his
presidency.

Trump responded to the tapes by saying Cohen taping him was
“totally unheard of & perhaps illegal,” though in New York
only one party needs to consent to taping. 

Cohen’s lawyer went on CNN to discuss the tapes, citing Trump
suggesting cash to make a payment in the audio as something only
“drug dealers and mobsters” use. 

Trump and Cohen have reportedly not spoken since the April FBI
raid. For years, Trump has relied on Cohen to keep secrets and
make problems go away.

As investigators pry deeper and deeper into Cohen’s deep archive
of documents as a Trump employee, those secrets and problems look
posed to revisit Trump.

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