Dershowitz: Cohen plea 'first thing that directly touches the president’

Dershowitz: Cohen plea 'first thing that directly touches the president’

On Tuesday, President Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen surrendered to the FBI after reaching a plea deal with federal prosecutors in the Southern District of NY.

Cohen pleaded guilty Tuesday to five counts of tax evasion, one count of making false statements, one count of making unlawful campaign contributions and one count of making an excessive contribution at the request of a campaign or candidate for office. Any such deal, now or later, would be a potentially perilous development for Trump that could offer investigators a detailed view into the president's business and campaign dealings.

As part of the plea deal with federal prosecutors in the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, Cohen is expected to plead guilty to multiple counts of campaign finance violations, tax fraud and bank fraud, according to three sources.

Daniels' attorney, Michael Avenatti, tweeted that Cohen's guilty plea "will permit us to have the stay lifted in the civil case & should also permit us to proceed with an expedited deposition of Trump under oath about what he knew, when he knew it, and what he did about it".

The Daniels payment was charged as an excessive personal contribution and the National Enquirer money was charged as an unlawful corporate contribution, both "for the principle goal of influencing the election", Cohen said in court.

Mr Cohen's accusation increases political pressure for Mr Trump ahead of November's congressional elections where Democrats are trying to regain control of the House of Representatives and Senate.

Cohen is due to appear in court in NY at 4 p.m. Tuesday. But any bid to negotiate a plea deal under which he would provide information to federal prosecutors in Manhattan in the hopes of a lesser sentence appears to have broken down.

The investigation into Cohen has pulled back the curtain on Cohen's role as the president's loyal "fixer".

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Porn star Stormy Daniels has said Cohen paid her $130,000 shortly before the November 2016 election to keep quiet about a 2006 sexual encounter with Trump. The people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to publicly discuss the case.

Cohen was Trump's longtime personal lawyer until weeks ago.

Prosecutors had been investigating Cohen for possible fraud related to his businesses for months.

When the judge asked Cohen if he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, Cohen said he'd had a scotch on the rocks the night before.

Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG has said it had paid Cohen almost $1.2 million in a consulting deal; USA telecommunications company AT&T Inc. said it made payments of $600,000; and South Korea's Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd. said it hired him for $150,000.

CNN reports the judge will interview jurors individually.

Cohen's then-lawyer called the use of search warrants "completely inappropriate".

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