New York, August 22: Donald Trump has suffered a double blow after his former campaign chief Paul Manafort was found guilty of fraud and his ex-lawyer Michael Cohen admitted to paying hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 US election, potentially leaving the US president in legal jeopardy.
In a stunning admission that implicates Trump, his former lawyer Cohen pleaded guilty to buying the silence of two women about their alleged affairs with Trump. Cohen, 51, pleaded guilty in the Southern District of New York to charges of tax evasion, making false statements to a federally-insured bank, and campaign finance violations.
The most-stunning admission he made in court before US District Judge William Pauley was that in 2016, Cohen had made payments of USD 280,000 to silence two women, who otherwise planned to speak publicly about their alleged affairs with a presidential candidate, thereby “intending to influence the 2016 presidential election”.
The presidential candidate here is Trump and the payments were to adult film actress Daniels and a former Playboy playmate, a clear implication of the president. Cohen’s sentencing is scheduled for December 12.
Cohen told the judge that the payments to the women were made “in coordination with and at the direction of a candidate for federal office? and “for the principal purpose of influencing the election” for president in 2016. Trump has not been named by federal prosecutors in the charges against Cohen but has been identified as “Individual 1”.