David Pecker, the head of the company that publishes the National Enquirer and longtime friend of President Donald Trump, was granted immunity for providing prosecutors information surrounding Trump and his former lawyer Michael Cohen coordinating hush-money payments to two women during the 2016 election, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Pecker, CEO of American Media, Inc., was subpoenaed by federal prosecutors in April around the same time the FBI raided Cohen’s home and seized thousands of documents and recordings.
Pecker’s cooperation with federal prosecutors appears to have been instrumental in forming the campaign finance violations Cohen pleaded guilty to on Tuesday, according to TheWSJ. Cohen also pleaded guilty to tax evasion and bank fraud violations.
Cohen said he was directed by Trump to arrange hush-money payments in an effort to silence the two women alleging affairs with the then-candidate for the purpose of influencing the election. (RELATED: Cohen Says He Violated Campaign Finance Law At Trump Direction)
Both payments — a $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels and a $150,000 payment to former Playboy model Karen McDougal — involved American Media executives. Prosecutors said American Media purchased McDougal’s story at the behest of Cohen in August 2016, who promised to reimburse the company if it buried the story. (RELATED: Trump Says Cohen Payments Were Not A Campaign Finance Violation)
Trump repaid Cohen for the payment he made to Stormy Daniels, but he insisted during an interview with Fox News on Wednesday the arrangement did not violate campaign finance laws because the funds “did not come out of the campaign.”
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