September 22, 2018

Cohen Pleads Guilty to Campaign Finance Violations, Manafort Convicted of Fraud

Two former acolytes of President Trump will likely be serving time in prison, as Michael Cohen, Trump’s personal attorney, plead guilty to violating campaign finance laws, and Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, was convicted of tax fraud.

Cohen reached a plea deal with prosecutors on August 21 in which he plead guilty to the campaign finance violations as well as tax and bank fraud. Cohen admitted in his plea agreement that he arranged two unlawful payments of hush money to two women on behalf of a presidential candidate.

While the two women and the candidate are not specified in the plea deal, it is widely believed that the candidate is Trump and the two women are porn star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal. Both Daniels and McDougal have alleged that Trump engaged in affairs with them, which Trump has denied.

Also on August 21, Manafort was convicted for multiple counts of tax evasion, bank fraud and concealing foreign accounts in relation to his political consulting work for the Kremlin-backed Ukraine Party of Regions. There were an additional 10 counts that the jury couldn’t reach on verdict on.

Manafort could face up to 80 years in prison – and he’s still undergoing a trial in Washington, D.C. over charges of failing to register as a foreign agent and money laundering.

Following the convictions, Trump told reporters about Manafort, “It’s a very sad thing that happened. This has nothing to do with Russian collusion. This is a witch hunt and a disgrace.” He has yet to comment on Cohen’s guilty plea.