UPDATED: President Donald Trump’s former fixer Michael Cohen has surrendered to the FBI in New York. As part of a plea deal, Cohen is expected to plead to guilty to multiple counts of campaign finance violations, tax fraud and bank fraud. He’s looking at up to three years in jail and a substantial monetary fine.
The plea deal had been in the works this week with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan. He is expected to appear in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan later today.
In early April, FBI executed a no-knock raid on Cohen’s office and home. Trump called it “a disgraceful situation,” adding, “I have this witch hunt constantly going on,” and complaining it’s “an attack on our country…what we all stand for.”
Agents seized records of payment to porn star Stormy Daniels shortly before the 2016 presidential election. Daniels claims she had an affair with Trump more than a decade ago.
In July, Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani told CNN the FBI is in possession of a pre-election recording between Trump and Cohen in which the two men talked about payment to former Playboy bunny Karen McDougal, who claims she had a months-long affair with Trump.
That month, Cohen also lobbed a grenade, saying candidate Trump knew in advance and signed off on the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Russians promising to bring dirt on Hillary Clinton. Cohen indicated he would be willing to say same to Robert Mueller, though it contradicts claims by Trump, Donald Trump Jr., their lawyers and other administration officials that Trump knew nothing about the meetings until the New York Times approached him about it in July 2017. Horseradish, said Cohen, who claimed he was present, as were others, when Trump was informed of the Russians’ offer by Donald Jr.
Today’s news of a plea deal comes one day after the Associated Press reported Cohen could be charged by end of this month. NBC News first reported today that a deal could come as early as end of day.
Cohen attorney Lanny Davis recently told Politico he has been reaching out regularly over the past few months to John Dean, the former White House counsel who helped bring down the Richard Nixon presidency.
“I reached out to my old friend John Dean because of what he went through with Watergate, and I saw some parallels to what Michael Cohen is experiencing. I wanted to gain from John’s wisdom,” Davis told Politico.
“I certainly don’t want to raise expectations that Mr. Cohen has anything like the level of deep involvement and detailed knowledge that John Dean had in the Nixon White House as a witness to Nixon’s crimes, but I did see some similarities and wanted to learn from what John went through.”