US President Donald Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen pleaded guilty [plea agreement] on Tuesday to five counts of tax fraud, one count of making a false statement to a financial institution, one count of causing an unlawful corporate contribution and one count of making an excessive campaign contribution.
According to the plea agreement, the maximum term of imprisonment for all eight counts is 65 years. However, the stipulated sentencing range is between 46 to 63 months. In addition, Cohen may be ordered to pay a fine of between $20,000 and $1,000,000.
Numerous reports indicate [The Hill report] that Cohen stated he violated federal campaign laws by making a $130,000 payment to adult-film actress Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels, “at the direction of a candidate for federal office.” Cohen was reimbursed for these payments after submitting fake invoices to the candidate’s company. Cohen also made a payment of $150,000 to former Playboy model Karen McDougal. Cohen acknowledged in court that both payments were made in an attempt to influence the outcome of the election. He was compensated for the payments by submitting falsified invoices to a company believed to be the Trump Organization.
The plea deal came after prosecutors threatened [WSJ report] to present an indictment this week.
In an unprecedented move, federal agents obtained a warrant to search Cohen’s hotel room, office and home to seize over a million files on April 9. A few days later, Cohen attempted to stop the authorities from reviewing the documents by claiming attorney-client privilege. The court resolved the matter by appointing an individual to oversee the review of the documents in order to ensure that documents that properly fell within the scope of the attorney-client privilege were not reviewed. The seized records led to the charges to which Cohen pleaded guilty on Tuesday.