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Tipsheet

Does This 2018 Letter 'Destroy' Alvin Bragg's Case Against Trump?

A 2018 letter has surfaced that has the potential to “destroy” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s case against former President Donald Trump's alleged involvement in a hush money payment scheme.  

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The letter to the Federal Election Commission indicates that Michael Cohen “used his own personal funds to facilitate a payment of $130,000” to porn star Stormy Daniels.

“Neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms. Clifford, and neither reimbursed Mr. Cohen for the payment directly or indirectly,” Cohen’s lawyer Stephen Ryan wrote in the Feb. 8, 2018 letter. 

But a little more than six months later, Cohen changed his tune and copped a plea to a laundry list of federal crimes that included making an excessive campaign contribution to Trump, now 76, by paying Daniels to keep quiet about her alleged 2006 affair with him. 

As part of his guilty plea, Cohen admitted that he used a newly incorporated shell company to pay Daniels, then sought reimbursement from the Trump Organization for the full amount, plus a $35 wire fee and another $50,000 for tech work related to Trump’s campaign.

The total was doubled for tax purposes, and Cohen also received a $60,000 bonus, with the full amount of $420,000 paid to him in monthly installments for which he submitted invoices.

Cohen also later pleaded guilty to an unrelated charge of lying to Congress when he denied trying to broker a deal for a Trump Tower development in Moscow during the 2016 presidential campaign.

In December 2018, Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison by a judge who blasted his “veritable smorgasbord of illegal conduct” and acidly noted that “as a lawyer, Mr. Cohen should have known better.”

Former Brooklyn prosecutor Julie Rendelman said the 2018 letter could help Trump’s defense if he’s prosecuted by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg over the Daniels payment.

“I think it’s just going to open the door to additional questions of his credibility and give more opportunity for further cross-examination — as though they didn’t have enough,” Rendelman said. (New York Post)

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