Former Trump fixer Michael Cohen met with Manhattan prosecutors investigating his old boss for the 15th time Wednesday — as their probe into the ex-president continues.
“Their knowledge of this case is extraordinary,” Cohen said after leaving the lower Manhattan meeting. “They’re extremely well prepared.”
Trump’s former right-hand man declined to discuss specifics but said he suspects he’ll be meeting with Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s investigators again soon.
His lawyer, Lanny Davis, described the conversation as thorough.
“The impressive part today was the thoroughness and detailed approach of this team of prosecutors. Mr. Bragg has said that this is being treated seriously by his team, and today, based on the questioning of Mr. Cohen, proved it,” Davis told the Daily News.
The years-long probe has seen numerous twists and turns, and comes full circle with prosecutors’ focus on a $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 presidential election to buy her silence about an alleged affair with Trump.
The hush money, which has long been public knowledge, landed Cohen in federal prison. In pleading guilty to a host of tax evasion and campaign finance violations, he admitted in 2018 to paying off Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, “for the principal purpose of influencing” the election and identified Trump in his plea as “individual one.”
Cohen said he worked on the plot to pay off Daniels with National Enquirer boss David Pecker “at the request” of Trump. He said the Enquirer’s parent company, American Media Inc., was involved in another payout to Playboy model Karen McDougal. The New York Times reported that Pecker testified before a grand jury began hearing evidence against the former president last week.
Cohen, in his federal case, said he withdrew $130,000 out of his home equity account, then transferred it to an LLC to wire it to Daniels. He told the House Oversight Committee in February 2019 that Trump and his namesake real estate business reimbursed him incrementally with interest.
At issue is whether Trump directed the hush money for politically motivated reasons, constituting a campaign donation, without classifying it as such, sources say.
The misclassification of company expenses has landed the Trump Organization’s longtime finance chief Allen Weisselberg on Rikers Island serving out a five-month sentence. Two company entities, indicted alongside him in June 2021, were convicted of criminal tax fraud in December and fined $1.6 million last month. Cohen claims Weisselberg was involved in discussions about the hush money payments. The CFO received federal immunity when he testified before the grand jury in Cohen’s case.
Trump has chastised the DA’s probe as a “witch hunt” and vehemently denies all allegations of criminality and the alleged sexual encounters with Daniels and McDougal. In a post on his social media platform last week, he called Cohen a “SleazeBag disbarred Lawyer From Hell.”
Attorneys for Daniels, McDougal, and Pecker did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The Manhattan DA’s spokeswoman Danielle Filson declined comment.