A former personal attorney for President Donald Trump pleaded guilty Thursday to one charge in the special counsel’s investigation.
Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to making false statements to Congress about his efforts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, according to court filings released after Cohen’s plea. He also admitted that he worked on the project through June 2016, much later than he said in his congressional testimony.
Cohen claimed in letters sent to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) on Aug. 28, 2017 that he ceased work on the Trump Tower Moscow project in January 2016. He also claimed that he did not make plans to visit Russia to further the deal or attempt to get Trump to visit Russia.
“In truth and in fact, and as COHEN well knew, COHEN’s representations about the Moscow Project he made to SSCI and HPSCI were false and misleading,” prosecutors said.
Cohen lied to Congress in order to “minimize links between the Moscow Project” and Trump with an aim at “limiting the ongoing Russia investigations,” the criminal complaint said.
Prosecutors said that the so-called Moscow Project “was discussed multiple times within the Company and did not end in January 2016.”
“Instead, as late as approximately June 2016, COHEN and Individual 2 discussed efforts to obtain Russian governmental approval for the Moscow Project,” the complaint added. “COHEN discussed the status and progress of the Moscow Project with Individual 1 on more than the three occasions COHEN claimed to the Committee, and he briefed family members of Individual 1 within the Company about the project.”
Cohen has met extensively with special counsel Robert Mueller since pleading guilty on Aug. 21 in federal court in New York City to tax evasion and illegal campaign finance charges.
He is expected to be sentenced in two weeks in that case.
Cohen is a key figure in the special counsel’s investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. He is accused in the infamous Steele dossier of visiting Prague in August 2016 to meet with Russians and pay off hackers who infiltrated Democrats’ email accounts. (RELATED: Lanny Davis: Michael Cohen Did Not Go To Prague)
Cohen vehemently denied the allegations after BuzzFeed News published the dossier on Jan. 10, 2017. His attorney, Lanny Davis, continued denying the dossier’s claim even after Cohen pleaded guilty in the New York federal case. Davis said that Cohen has never visited Prague and that other allegations about him in the dossier were false.
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