Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former personal attorney, pleaded guilty to tax fraud and violating campaign laws by making payments to women who said they had affairs with Trump, CNN reported.
Cohen has been a longtime fixer for Trump and has worked for the Trump Organization for more than decade. Though some have described Cohen’s recent actions as “flipping” on his former client, the deal does not include any promise that he will cooperate with prosecutors, two people familiar with the matter told The New York Times.
Cohen surrendered to the FBI on Tuesday ahead of a court proceeding where the plea deal was disclosed. Cohen pleaded guilty to eight criminal counts, including campaign finance violations. They included payments he made to porn actress Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels, and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, CNN reported.
He could receive up to 65 years in prison, CNN said.
In the plea deal, Cohen said that “in coordination and at the direction of a candidate for federal office,” he prevented information that would’ve been harmful to said candidate and the campaign from going public.
Prosecutors in New York had been investigating Cohen for possible bank and tax fraud, as well as for his role in payoffs to buy silence from the women.
In January, the Wall Street Journal reported that Cohen paid Clifford $130,000 to keep her from discussing the alleged affair, which Cohen later said came from his own personal funds and did not involve Trump.
Last month, an audio recording emerged of Cohen and Trump discussing a payment to former Playboy model Karen McDougal in September 2016, soon before the presidential election.