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Judge Says Investigation Of Michael Cohen’s Campaign Finance Crimes Remains Ongoing

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A federal judge in New York revealed on Thursday that prosecutors are still investigating Michael Cohen’s campaign finance crimes, even though the former Trump lawyer has already been sentenced to prison.

Judge William Pauley made the disclosure in a ruling to release some of the materials discovered during an FBI search of Cohen’s home, office and hotel room on April 9, 2018. Several media organizations sued for documents related to a search warrant used in the investigation, and any documents recovered during the FBI searches.

Pauley said that while some of the information can be released in full, documents related to campaign finance crimes have to be redacted because they deal with ongoing investigations.

One of the charges to which Cohen pleaded guilty on Aug. 21, 2018 was making an illegal campaign contribution by making a $130,000 hush payment to Stormy Daniels, the porn star who claims she had an affair with Donald Trump.

“This court concludes that disclosure of the materials with redactions strikes an appropriate balance between the strong presumption of public access to search warrant materials and the countervailing interests identified by the Government,” Pauley wrote.

“In particular, the government represents that aspects of its investigation remain ongoing, including those pertaining to or arising from Cohen’s campaign finance crimes.”

Pauley said that the search warrant applications and affidavits in the case “catalogue an assortment of uncharged individuals and detail their involvement in communications and transactions connected to the campaign finance charges to which Cohen pled guilty.”

The individuals identified in the documents are either subjects of the investigation, are cooperating with the government or have provided information to the government, Pauley said.

“At this stage, wholesale disclosure of the Materials would reveal the scope and direction of the Government’s ongoing investigation,” wrote Pauley, adding that, “[i]t would also unveil subjects of the investigation and the potential conduct under scrutiny, the full volume and nature of the evidence gathered thus far, and the sources of information provided to the Government.”

It has been reported that executives with AMI, the parent company of National Enquirer, are cooperating with New York prosecutors. Cohen dealt directly with AMI chairman David Pecker to kill a story about an alleged affair between Trump and Karen McDougal, a former Playboy playmate.

Pecker reportedly received immunity in exchange for cooperating with the investigation.

Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison on Dec. 12 after pleading guilty in the Southern District of New York and in the special counsel’s case.

In addition to the campaign finance crime, Cohen pleaded guilty in the New York case to tax evasion and bank fraud. On Nov. 29, the former Trump fixer pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about the extent of his efforts to negotiate a deal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.

Cohen’s payment to Daniels, the porn star, violated campaign finance law because it not only exceeded the $2,700 maximum allowed for individual contributions to campaigns, Cohen did not register the payment as an in-kind contribution to Trump’s campaign.

Cohen has claimed that Trump directed him to make the payment. The Trump Organization reimbursed Cohen in 2017.

The special counsel’s office said that Cohen cooperated extensively with its investigation, meeting with prosecutors numerous times over the course of several months. But Cohen was less cooperative with the New York office. Prosecutors there said that Cohen withheld some information that they sought during the course of their investigation.

It has not been clear whether Cohen allegedly withheld information related to Trump, the Trump Organization or other matters. The tax evasion and bank fraud case against Cohen centered on a taxi medallion business that Cohen operated separately from his Trump work.

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