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Michael Cohen reportedly negotiating plea deal with prosecutors

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Michael Cohen
Michael
Cohen.

Richard
Drew/AP


  • Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s longtime
    lawyer, could reach a plea deal with federal prosecutors as
    soon as Tuesday, NBC News reported.
  • Cohen is the focus of a criminal
    investigation in the Southern District of New York into whether
    he violated campaign-finance laws, committed bank fraud or wire
    fraud, engaged in illegal lobbying, or
    participated in other crimes.
  • The attorney is reportedly discussing a possible guilty
    plea with investigators in connection with bank and tax fraud,
    multiple sources told NBC.

President Donald Trump’s former longtime lawyer Michael Cohen is
working on a deal with federal prosecutors in Manhattan that
could be cut as soon as Tuesday, NBC News reported.

Cohen is the focus of a criminal
investigation in the Southern District of New York into whether
he violated campaign-finance laws, committed bank fraud or wire
fraud, engaged in illegal lobbying, or
participated in other crimes. He is reportedly discussing a
possible guilty plea with investigators in connection with bank
and tax fraud, multiple sources familiar with the investigation
told NBC News.

The sources told NBC that no deal had been reached but that the
sides could agree on a possible deal in the immediate future — as
soon as Tuesday.

A person close to Lanny Davis, an attorney for Cohen, told
Business Insider they could not comment on the NBC News report.
Davis told NBC News he could not comment on advice of counsel
because of the ongoing nature of the investigation.

Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, did
not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The potential deal could have major implications for the
president. In recent weeks, Cohen has signaled a willingness to
cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation
into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

How we got here

The FBI raided Cohen’s home, hotel room, and office in April,
seizing more than four million documents from Trump’s longtime
lawyer.

Those documents then underwent an extensive, months-long review
for claims of attorney-client privilege, a process that recently
concluded. A minuscule fraction of the documents were protected
by privilege, while the remainder were handed over to the
government for use in a potential prosecution of Cohen.

At the center of the
investigation
is the $130,000 hush money payment to porn star
Stormy Daniels, which Cohen facilitated just before the 2016
presidential election to keep her quiet about her allegation of
an affair with Trump in 2006 — an allegation Trump has denied.
The FBI sought documents related to that payment and similar
arrangements with other women.

Investigators have also taken
interest in some of Cohen’s business dealings, particularly as
they related to his once-sprawling taxi business,
The New York Times reported Sunday


Michael Cohen
Cohen.
AP Photo/Richard
Drew


The Times reported that the Cohen investigation reached “the
final stage,” with prosecutors weighing whether to file charges
before the end of August.

Mitchell Epner, an attorney at Rottenberg Lipman Rich and a
former federal prosecutor in the US Attorney’s Office for the
District of New Jersey, told Business Insider in a Tuesday email
that if Cohen reaches a plea deal, “the most important question
is whether it is a ‘cooperating’ plea deal.”

“Sometimes the prosecution is able to hide the cooperation
agreement from public view,” Epner said. “On the other hand, the
people who have pled guilty to charges brought by special counsel
Mueller have had their cooperation agreements made public at the
time that they entered their pleas.”

Roland Riopelle, a partner at Sercarz & Riopelle who was
formerly a federal prosecutor with the US Attorney’s Office for
the Southern District of New York, told Business Insider in an email
Monday
that the brief five-month delay between the FBI’s
raids and potential charges signaled to him that “this may be a
cooperation plea agreement.”

“If the matter was contested, the delay could be longer before
charges were returned,” he said, adding that the recent “silence
from Cohen and his lawyers is also something that weighs in favor
of a cooperation deal.”

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