A new report from CNN claims that former Trump “fixer” Michael Cohen has offered significant cooperation in a probe of the Trump Organization being conducted by investigators at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.
According to court filings reviewed by CNN and sources familiar with the investigation, Cohen’s assistance in the probe “poses one of the most significant threats to the president’s family business.”
Of particular interest to prosecutors are whether Trump Organization officials broke the law by scheming to reimburse Cohen for his illegal campaign hush-money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal.
“Through a series of false invoices for a non-existent retainer agreement, Cohen was handed a total of $420,000 by the company, including a $60,000 bonus, prosecutors said, and the company falsely recorded those payments as legal expenses,” CNN writes. “In fact, according to prosecutors, they were payments to compensate Cohen for the money he directed toward Trump’s female accusers.”
What’s particularly troubling for the White House, CNN reports, is that only a handful of people within the Trump Organization were authorized to make such reimbursements — and four of them are President Trump himself or his three adult children.
Harry Sandick, a former prosecutor in the Manhattan US Attorney’s office, tells CNN that the structure of the Trump Organization is such that prosecutors might charge the entire entity — rather than just individuals within it — for financial crimes.
“What makes this complicated here is that the Trump Organization is pretty closely bound up in one person, so it is not like a typical business,” he explains.