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Michael Cohen confirms report he paid firm to rig online polls for Trump



President Donald Trump’s former lawyer and “fixer” Michael Cohen confirmed a Thursday Wall Street Journal report that he paid a small technology firm to rig online polls in favor of Trump ahead of the 2016 campaign.

“As for the @WSJ article on poll rigging, what I did was at the direction of and for the sole benefit of @realDonaldTrump @POTUS. I truly regret my blind loyalty to a man who doesn’t deserve it,” Cohen posted to his Twitter account.

The Journal’s report detailed how Cohen paid a firm called RedFinch Solutions between $12,000 and $13,000 in cash delivered in a Walmart bag — along with a boxing glove — to fix a 2014 CNBC online poll ranking the US’s top business leaders and a 2015 Drudge Report poll of possible Republican presidential candidates.

The attempts to artificially inflate Trump’s performance in both polls were ultimately unsuccessful. Cohen also had the firm create a Twitter account called @WomenForCohen, which describes him as a “strong pit-bull” and a “sex symbol.”

Read more:Michael Cohen reportedly paid someone to run a Twitter account called @WomenForCohen that described him as a ‘sex symbol’

Cohen then requested — and received — a $50,000 reimbursement from the Trump Organization for the services, which appears to have been paid from Trump’s personal accounts.

In August, Cohen pleaded guilty to tax fraud, bank fraud, and campaign-finance violations in the Southern District of New York. The violations were related to payments to secure the silence of two women, Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels, who say they had affairs with Trump.

Federal prosecutors said in their sentencing memo for Cohen that he made the payments “in coordination with and at the direction of” Trump, establishing the president as an unindicted co-conspirator in the case.

On November 30, Cohen struck a deal to plead guilty to one count of lying to Congress in exchange for cooperating with Robert Mueller, the special counsel leading the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 US presidential election and whether the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow.

Read more:Everything Michael Cohen told Mueller about the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia, according to the memo that could land Cohen a ‘substantial’ prison sentence

On December 12, Cohen was sentenced to 36 months in federal prison. At his sentencing, Cohen said he acted out of “blind loyalty” to Trump, adding that “time and time again I felt it was my duty to cover up his dirty deeds.”

“I have been living in a personal and mental incarceration ever since the day that I accepted the offer to work for a real-estate mogul whose business acumen that I deeply admired,” he said. Cohen is scheduled to testify before the House Oversight Committee on February 7.

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