Feds end investigation into Trump Org and hush money payments

Clay Curtis
July 19, 2019

Federal prosecutors have told a judge in NY they have concluded their investigation into campaign finance crimes committed by convicted felon Michael Cohen who was also President Donald Trump's former personal attorney.

Cohen thanked Davidson, the documents show, and said, "I hope we're good".

On Nov. 5, the Federal Bureau of Investigation alleged, "Based on a text message from Hicks to Cohen, I believe that later that morning, Pecker spoke to Trump".

"Sixteen seconds into the call, Trump joined the call, and the call continued for over four minutes", it says.

Avenatti said Thursday at a press conference that members of Trump's 2016 campaign, including former campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, former campaign press secretary Hope Hicks, Trump's son Donald Jr. - as well as AMI CEO David Pecker and Chief Content Officer Dylan Howard - engaged in "criminal conduct at the highest level" in the "stealing of a presidential election".

In unredacted search warrant documents revealed Thursday, an Federal Bureau of Investigation special agent described a series of phone calls in October of 2016 between the president's former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, the president's then-campaign press secretary, Hope Hicks, and Trump himself. Trump has denied any wrongdoing. Davis said. "Especially since prosecutors found that virtually all of Michael's admitted crimes were done at the direction of and for the benefit of Donald Trump?".

In the series of calls that began at 7:20 p.m. on October 8, Trump, Cohen and Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks spoke together on the phone for several minutes, followed immediately by a series of calls between Cohen and David Pecker, president of American Media Inc., the parent company of the National Enquirer, and the company's chief content officer, Dylan Howard.

Cohen was sentenced to 3 years in prison for his admitted crimes.

Of the almost 900 pages relating to the search warrants that were released, there were redactions spanning over 20 pages under the heading "illegal campaign contribution scheme".

CNN reported Friday that the Manhattan US Attorney's office had approached the end of its investigation of the Trump Organization and wasn't poised to charge any executives involved in the company's effort to reimburse Cohen for money he paid to silence one of the women.

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In December, Pauley sentenced Cohen to three years in prison after the longtime personal lawyer to Trump pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations, lying to Congress and other charges.

This seemed pretty obvious from yesterday's court filings and Judge William Pauley's decision to release all the materials from the investigation.

During her testimony before Congress last month, Hicks denied ever being present during conversations between Cohen and Trump about Daniels, or ever having direct knowledge of Cohen's payments to Daniels.

Pauley ordered those sections to be unredacted after prosecutors informed the judge that they had "concluded" their investigation into the Trump Organization relating to Cohen's campaign finance violations.

"We are pleased that the investigation surrounding these ridiculous campaign finance allegations is now closed", Trump's lawyer, Jay Sekulow, said Wednesday. That was followed by more calls minutes later between Howard and Cohen, and then a text from Howard to Cohen that read: "Keith will do it".

The close of the campaign finance investigation probably means those executives are out of federal prosecutors' crosshairs - at least for that case - though more details about them might emerge in the materials the judge has ordered unsealed.

The scramble inside the Trump campaign described in the affidavit shows Cohen acting as the middleman. Cohen said during the hearing that he submitted a false written statement to Congress in 2017 about a Trump Organization real estate project in Moscow.

Kerri Kupec, a Justice Department spokeswoman, declined comment.

Cohen arranged a $130,000 payment to Daniels, and on November 1, 2016, the day she received her money, Cohen tried to call Trump but was unsuccessful.

An attorney for Cohen, Lanny Davis, has argued that others in Trump's orbit should have been indicted, and that prosecutors owe the public an explanation for why they weren't.

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