Federal prosecutors investigating former longtime Trump attorney Michael Cohen are reviewing 12 recordings seized during raids of his home, office and hotel room, after the President said he no longer objects to the government listening to the “12 audio items,” reports Bloomberg.
Trump and Cohen had previously claimed that the 12 tapes were “privileged,” and could not be reviewed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team investigating Trump-Russia connections, according to court-appointed “special master” who reviewed evidence seized from the raids – former federal judge Barbara Jones.
President Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, confirmed that Cohen secretly recorded a conversation with Trump discussing payments to the National Enquirer to buy the rights to claims by a former Playboy Playmate, Karen McDougal.
Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, confirmed in a telephone conversation on Friday that Mr. Trump had discussed the payments with Mr. Cohen on the tape but said the payment was ultimately never made. He said the recording was less than two minutes and demonstrated that the president had done nothing wrong. –NYT
The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that the recording is under two minutes long, cuts out before the conversation ended.
“Nothing in that conversation suggests that he had any knowledge of it in advance,” said Giuliani, adding that Trump had previously told Cohen that if he were to make a payment related to the woman, to write a check instead of sending cash so that the transaction could be properly documented. “In the big scheme of things, it’s powerful exculpatory evidence,” Giuliani added.
The former model, Karen McDougal, claims to have had a nearly yearlong affair with Trump in 2006, right before Melania Trump gave birth to their son Barron. McDougal sold her story to the National Enquirer for $150,000 as the 2016 presidential campaign was in its final months, however the tabloid sat on the story which kept it from becoming public in a practice known as “catch and kill.”
The Enquirer’s chairman, David J. Pecker, is a personal friend of Trump’s, and McDougal has accused Cohen of taking part in the deal.
Cohen made a similar payment of $130,000 to porn star and stripper Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford. Cohen said at the time “In a private transaction in 2016, I used my own personal funds to facilitate a payment of $130,000 to Ms. Stephanie Clifford.”
Clifford – whose husband just filed for divorce, is suing Trump over a nondisclosure agreement so that she can “tell her story” (in the form of a book, we imagine), while she is also suing both Trump and Cohen for libel after Trump called her statements “fraud” over Twitter, while claiming that Clifford fabricated a story that she was threatened by a man after she went to journalists with the story of her affair.
Shortly before the 2016 election, former Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks said that McDougal’s allegations were “totally untrue.”
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Author: Tyler Durden