The Manhattan district attorney’s office might file criminal charges against the Trump Organization and two senior company officials over the “hush money” former Trump attorney Michael D. Cohen paid to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, according to The New York Times.
The payment to Daniels was recorded as a legal expense. But Cohen said on Tuesday that he paid Daniels in 2016 so she would not speak publicly about her alleged past affair with Trump. According to federal prosecutors, the payment to Daniels was for fake monthly invoices for $35,000 “pursuant to retainer agreement.”
As Fox News reported, “It’s illegal to willfully make a false entry in a business record with intent to deceive. It’s a felony if the false record was made in an attempt to conceal or commit another crime.”
Despite the fact that Trump has spoken about pardoning people who have worked for him who face federal charges, he cannot pardon people and corporate entities convicted of state crimes.
In the current federal case against Cohen, court papers reveal he ultimately received $420,000 from the Trump Organization to reimburse him for his $130,000 payment to Daniels. The Washington Post reported, “Trump executives decided Cohen should be paid more than he sought — an additional $360,000 for expenses and other fees and taxes, plus a $60,000 bonus, prosecutors said.”
The Post added that documents released as part of Cohen’s plea deal with federal prosecutors “point to two unnamed Trump Organization employees who prosecutors say approved the payments — with one executive instructing an employee to describe the fees to Cohen as legal expenses. The employee was instructed to put the words ‘retainer for the month of January and February 2017’ in the description of the first payments, court filings said.”