AS REPORTED BY MSN
“Michael D. Cohen, President Trump’s former fixer, made the extraordinary admission in court on Tuesday that Mr. Trump had directed him to arrange payments to two women during the 2016 campaign to keep them from speaking publicly about affairs they said they had with Mr. Trump.
Mr. Cohen acknowledged the illegal payments while pleading guilty to breaking campaign finance laws and other charges. He told a judge in United States District Court in Manhattan that the payments to the women were made “in coordination with and at the direction of a candidate for federal office.”
“I participated in this conduct, which on my part took place in Manhattan, for the principal purpose of influencing the election” for president in 2016, Mr. Cohen said.
The guilty plea and Mr. Cohen’s statements in court represent a pivotal moment in the investigation into the president: a once-loyal aide admitting that he made payments at the behest of Mr. Trump to shield him from politically damaging disclosures.
Mr. Trump’s lawyers have, for months, said privately that they considered Mr. Cohen’s case to be potentially more problematic for the president than the investigation by the special counsel.
But Mr. Trump’s lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, said in a statement after Mr. Cohen’s plea, “There is no allegation of any wrongdoing against the president in the government’s charges against Mr. Cohen.”
In federal court in Manhattan, Mr. Cohen made the admission about Mr. Trump’s role in the payments to the women — an adult film actress and a former Playboy playmate — as he pleaded guilty to two campaign finance crimes.”
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