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Trump’s payoff to Stormy Daniels probably violated several election laws, attorney says

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A payment made by President Donald Trump late in the campaign to porn actress Stormy Daniels may have violated federal election law.

Trump sent his longtime attorney Michael Cohen to pay the actress $130,000 in hush money shortly before the Nov. 8, 2016, election, according to the Wall Street Journal — which attorney J. Whitfield Larrabee said appears to be a violation of the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA).

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The Republican presidential candidate was still trying to contain the damage from the “Access Hollywood” tape when Fox News and other outlets began looking into reports that Trump and Daniels had an affair.

Larrabee said the payment to Daniels likely came from the Trump Organization, where Cohen served as lawyer and executive vice president, and would violate the FECA ban on corporate contributions to candidates and campaign committees.

“Because the payment came near the end of Trump campaign, and was made to aid the campaign by purchasing the silence of Daniels, it amounted to an in-kind contribution to the Trump campaign,” Larrabee said.

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The law considers all expenditures made by anyone in consultation or at the request of a candidate’s campaign to be a prohibited in-kind contribution.

“By paying off Daniels for the Trump campaign, Trump, The Trump Organization and Cohen likely committed federal crimes,” Larrabee said.

The attorney said Trump’s payoff to the actress also appears to have violated FECA’s $2,700 contribution limit by nearly 50 times over — and he said the value of Cohen’s services probably violated the same limit.

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On top of all that, Larrabee said, the possibly illegal payoff was almost certainly not reported by Trump in required public disclosures to the Federal Election Commission — which would also be a federal crime.

Trump and Cohen could have broken laws against criminal conspiracy if they knowingly skirted federal election law, which Larrabee believes they did.

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“Trump has been prosecuted for campaign finance violations in the past, and he knows the law quite well,” Larrabee said. “Where contributions have an aggregate value of over $25,000, as is the case with Daniel’s payoff, each violation is a felony punishable by up to 5 years in the federal prison.”

Larrabee, who has filed ethics complaints against Florida attorney general Pam Bondi and failed Senate candidate Roy Moore, said he intends to request a U.S. Justice Department investigation and to file a complaint with the Federal Election Commission by the end of the month.


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WATCH: Franklin Graham tells Jeanine Pirro coronavirus pandemic is because of people sinning

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Franklin Graham blamed sinners for the COVID-19 coronavirus epidemic during a Saturday night appearance on Fox News.

Host Jeanine Pirro noted the growing death toll and wondered how God could let that happen.

"Well, I don't think it's God's plan for this to happen," Graham said.

"It's because of the sin that's in the world, judge," he argued.

"Man has turned his back on God, we have sinned against him, and we need to ask for God's forgiveness and that's what Easter's all about," he continued.

"This pandemic, this is the result of a fallen world that has turned its back on God," he added.

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Drought causing water shortage amid coronavirus crisis in Chile

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With historically low river flows and reservoirs running dry due to drought, people in central Chile have found themselves particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus pandemic.

Years of resource exploitation and lax legislation have allowed most reservoirs in that part of the country to run dry.

"There are now 400,000 families, nearly 1.5 million people approximately, whose supply of 50 liters of water a day depends on tankers," Rodrigo Mundaca, spokesman for the Movement for the Defense of Water, the Earth and the Protection of the Environment, told AFP.

One of the main pieces of advice to protect people against coronavirus is to wash your hands regularly.

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Trump warns of ‘tough week’ ahead — after the United States surpassed 300,000 coronavirus victims

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US President Donald Trump warned Americans on Saturday to brace for a "very horrendous" number of coronavirus deaths in the coming days as the total number of global fatalities from the pandemic soared past 60,000.

As confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States surpassed 300,000 with more than 8,300 deaths, there was some encouraging news in Italy and Spain.

Europe continues to bear the brunt of the epidemic, however, accounting for over 45,000 of the worldwide deaths, and Britain reported a new daily high in fatalities.

There are now more than 1.17 million confirmed coronavirus cases around the world and there have been 63,437 deaths since the virus emerged in China late last year.

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