The former personal lawyer of US President Michael Cohen has pleaded guilty to campaign-finance violations and other charges, saying he made payments to influence the 2016 election at the direction of a candidate for federal office.
Cohen who appeared in federal court in Manhattan pleaded guilty to five counts of tax fraud, one of bank fraud and two counts of violating campaign finance laws. He could get about four to five years in prison at the sentencing on December 12.
The guilty plea came almost at the same time as former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort was found guilty of eight financial crimes, including tax evasion and bank fraud. Questioned by the federal judge, Cohen said he had paid sums of $130,000 and $150,000 each to two women who claimed they had affairs with Trump, acting at his boss’s request, in a bid to buy their silence “with the purpose of influencing the election”. After the court hearing Cohen was released on $500,000 bail