Prosecutors grant Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg immunity in Cohen probe

Monday, 27 Aug, 2018

On Tuesday, Cohen pleaded guilty to eight felonies, including two counts related to hush money to women who alleged affairs with Trump.

The Manhattan District Attorney's office is trying to determine what role the organization may have had in the arrangement of a payment Michael Cohen made to Stormy Daniels, the adult-film actress who said she had a sexual relationship with Donald Trump.

Cohen has stayed out of sight and has remained emotional since his plea, according to the people close to him.

The Daniels payment was charged as an excessive personal contribution and the National Enquirer money was charged as an unlawful corporate contribution, both "for the principle goal of influencing the election", Cohen said in court.

The Manafort charges stem nearly completely from his personal businesses but they came to light after he went to work for Trump. She also is suing the president and Cohen for defamation after they called her a "liar".

The referral request was first reported by The New York Times.

Daniels was paid $130,000 from Cohen directly and McDougal was paid from the publisher American Media, Inc., which owns the National Enquirer.

In an NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey, conducted August 22nd (the day after the Manafort and Cohen news broke) through August 25th, the president's approval rating was 44 percent while 52 percent disapproved. The Trump Organization did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

According to court filings, Cohen in early 2017 submitted an invoice to Weisselberg seeking to be repaid for legal expenses and payments he said he made on Trump's behalf.

Federal prosecutors in NY are considering possible charges against the Trump Organization in relation to the Cohen hush-money agreement with Daniels, an official briefed confirmed to ABC News on Friday.

Cohen, the Journal reported, was likely referring to creating a shell company to make a payment in return for silence, presumably regarding former Playboy model Karen McDougal.

Cohen's lawyer has said his client is "more than happy" to help the collusion inquiry. Meantime, Cohen also committed bank and tax fraud relating to his NY taxi and other businesses.

Second, Trump can cure the injustice stemming from the one-sided probe by declassifying documents the Justice Department is hiding from Congress and the public.

When respondents were told that six members of Trump's campaign team - including Cohen and Manafort - had now been found guilty or pled guilty to crimes, 40 percent of registered voters said they believed the crimes could potentially extend to the president.

Manafort faces another trial in Washington next month on separate charges, including conspiracy to defraud the United States, money laundering and witness tampering.