SIX YEARS AGO: Feds Primed Cohen to Torpedo Trump | Steve Berman

Michael Cohen, the lawyer who paid off Stormy Daniels on behalf of David Pecker’s National Enquirer, to kill the story she was about to tell just weeks before the 2016 election, that she had sex with Donald Trump, is about to get on the stand to testify in Manhattan D.A.’s case against Donald Trump. In the event you might not be following this smelly fart from yesterday’s enchilada trial, here’s what is alleged Trump did.

  • They say he falsified a number of corporate records (34 in all) to cover up the payment of $130,000 to Daniels.
  • They say this payment was an illegal contribution to Trump’s election campaign.
  • They say the crime of the illegal contribution was made by Michael Cohen.
  • They say it doesn’t matter whether Trump committed a crime by paying the money to Daniels, because the falsified documents is enough to prove criminal intent.

In New York, it’s illegal to falsify corporate documents. It’s also illegal in 49 other states. But in Manhattan, thousands of cases a year are brought, because this is a good way to bring in cash to fund, say, free legal representation for squatters living in apartments without paying a dime in rent, so landlords cannot evict them, change the locks, or turn off water or electricity without going to jail themselves. That’s New York City for you.

But Trump’s case is different. Other cases in this genre are generally outright fraud, which Trump’s company, himself as proprietor, has already been found liable for in civil court, and levied an enormous judgement of over half a billion dollars. In order for Trump to be charged with a felony for false business records–whether these records have ever seen the light of day, or have been provided to anyone for any purpose, only that they exist–there needs to be an intent to commit a “predicate crime.” Michael Cohen is the predicate crime.

But the case against Trump started six years ago, in 2018, when the Feds primed Cohen to torpedo the then-president. Federal prosecutors tacked on two campaign finance violations to a long list of charges they already had dead to rights on the lying crook. Cohen pled guilty to eight counts, including the two charges related to the Stormy Daniels payments, and was sentenced to three years in prison by U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III. As part of that light sentence (5 counts of tax evasion and a charge of making false statements to a bank carry up to 55 years maximum penalty), federal prosecutors also made a deal with David Pecker’s American Media (AMI), owner of the National Enquirer, which secured its statement that the Daniels payments were illegal campaign contributions.

Cohen reported to “America’s cushiest prison” Club Fed at Otisville on May 6, 2019 to serve his three years. CBS quoted the AP about Otisville’s “amenities”:

Inmates have lockers to store personal belongings, they can do their own laundry in washers and dryers and use microwaves to heat up food. They also have access to ice machines. It also has tennis courts, horseshoes and cardio equipment, leading the Associated Press to observe that it’s “the closest thing the federal prison system has to sleepaway camp.”

But the crook Cohen didn’t stay there. He was out by May 20, 2020, just over a year into his sentence, due to the threat of COVID-19. Funny how the rest of the inmates at Otisville Hilton weren’t released to serve the rest of their sentences at home. The New York Times noted: “He was recorded by television news cameras in the late morning as he entered his doorman building on Park Avenue in New York City, wearing a cap, black suit jacket, jeans and a surgical mask. He nodded to reporters and photographers as he buttoned his jacket.”

That’s right, Cohen served most of his three years on Park Avenue. He pled guilty and received a fine–basically paying the IRS what he owed them–and a slap on the wrist for much more serious crimes than the Stormy Daniels payoff, in exchange for being the stoolie who set Trump up for a filing false documents felony case in 2024. The previous Manhattan D.A., Cyrus Vance, Jr., declined to prosecute Trump for this, even though it had been set up in 2018 for that specific purpose. The media ran Vance out of office, ushering in Bragg, who proceeded even though two of the chief prosecutors investigating the Trump false records case (whom Bragg specifically asked to stay on) resigned.

Cohen is going to get on the stand and pretend he went to prison because he aided Donald Trump in making illegal campaign contributions (to his own campaign!) and covering them up with his own corporate records using the company he owns. But that’s not really why Cohen went to prison.

The Feds had Cohen on tax evasion of over $4 million in unreported income. They had him on all kinds of bank schemes to get lines of credit on phony pretenses, trading on New York City taxi medallions as collateral. He used the same collateral over and over again without telling the new banks who loaned him money he had already pledged them. He lied his butt off to banks, and hid income to the IRS, to pay for his exorbitant life style. None of this had a single thing to do with Donald Trump.

Cohen could have pled guilty to all of this, made restitution to the IRS, and served a year in Club Fed, which is the typical way these cases go. But the prosecutors smelled blood in the water, and tacked on the Trump campaign charges. Cohen got off with three years, of which he served one, and then two in his Park Avenue digs, in exchange for later testimony of how Trump victimized him and sent him down the river for paying off Daniels.

Meanwhile, there has been a coordinated effort to strip Trump of all his cash, and his ability to mount an effective campaign this year. The IRS finally completed its long-running audit of the Trump Organization, and is saying he owes up to $100 million for “double dipping” on a Chicago high rise. This is in addition to New York’s half billion judgement, and $92 million in E. Jean Carroll’s defamation suit.

But that’s not all: Judge Jesse M. Furman in Manhattan believes Cohen’s application to be released from court supervision after he served his detention at home was riddled with lies, says Politico.

“Cohen repeatedly and unambiguously testified at the state court trial that he was not guilty of tax evasion and that he had lied under oath” to the late Judge William H. Pauley III, Furman wrote.

Trump himself noted this in March, calling it “MASSIVE PERJURY”. Cohen is a liar, a crook, a thief, and an unreliable witness. Everything in Bragg’s case depends on Cohen, and nothing Cohen says is believable.

On the stand, Cohen is going to have to submit to Trump’s lawyers’ cross-examination, about his tax evasion (if Judge Juan Merchan permits it), about his sentencing, about his guilty plea, about his deals with federal prosecutors, about his light sentence, about his getting out of Club Fed two years early, about his walking away from his other crimes. That’s if he even committed those crimes, which he now denies.

All of this took place in 2018, when Trump was in the White House, and the Washington Post, on his inauguration day, went with the headline “The campaign to impeach President Trump has begun.” They were after him from Day One.

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevengberman.

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