Trump’s ex-lawyer pleads guilty to new charge


Trump's ex-lawyer pleads guilty to new charge
Michael Cohen walks out of federal court, Nov. 29, 2018, in New York.

In Summary

  • The charge was filed by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is leading a probe into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election.
  • Cohen, who previously pleaded guilty to violating campaign finance laws, directed efforts to construct a Trump-branded complex in Moscow.
  • Trump strongly denounced his former attorney, accusing him of succumbing to pressure from prosecutors.

President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty Thursday to a new charge of lying to Congress about a Russian real estate venture Trump sought to develop during his presidential campaign.

The charge was filed by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is leading a probe into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election.

Cohen, who previously pleaded guilty to violating campaign finance laws, directed efforts to construct a Trump-branded complex in Moscow.

He admitted to a federal judge in New York he lied about the timing of negotiations and other information in order to be consistent with Trump’s “political message” and “to be loyal to Individual One,” a reference to Trump during the court session.

Among the lies Cohen told the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2017 was that discussions of the project ended by January 2016 when they actually continued until June of that year.

Trump strongly denounced his former attorney, accusing him of succumbing to pressure from prosecutors.

“He’s a weak person and what he’s trying to do is get a reduced sentence,” Trump told reporters outside the White House. “So he’s lying about a project that everybody knew about. I mean we were very open with it. We were thinking about building a building,” Trump added.

“I decided ultimately not to do it. There would have been nothing wrong if I did do it. If I did do it, there would have been nothing wrong,” Trump said.

The developments come as Trump continues almost daily attacks on Mueller’s investigation of Trump campaign links to Russia and whether Trump, as president, obstructed justice in an effort to thwart the probe.

Trump last week provided written answers to about two dozen questions posed by Mueller about his own actions and recollections of the campaign.

It is not known, however, whether Mueller will seek to follow up with more questions for Trump, now nearly halfway through his first term in the White House.

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