Michael Cohen

Executive Vice President of the Trump Organization, Trump’s personal attorney since 2007

Robert Mueller’s Case: US v. Michael Cohen SDNY, 1:18-cr-00850-WHP.  Sentencing Memorandum Filed December 7, 2018  US Attorneys for the SCO: Jeannie S. Rhee, Andrew D. Goldstein, L. Rush Atkinson

SDNY US v. Michael Cohen, 1:18-cr-00602-WHP  Sentencing Memorandum Filed December 7, 2018.

Grew up on Long Island, exposed to the first Mafiya boss of Brighton Beach, Evsei Agron via Uncle Morton Levine’s El Caribe Country Club in Brooklyn. Married Laura Shusterman in 1994, daughter of Fima Shusterman, brother’s father-in-law is Alex Oronov.

Russiagate: Ukrainian Peace Plan with Felix Sater, Felix Sater arranged a (LOI) from Russian oligarch Andrey Rozov to develop Trump Tower Moscow received October 13, 2015, on behalf of Trump Acquisition LLC.  CNN on September 7, 2017, Laundering Russian mob money through Trump properties since 2007, officially, .

Payoffs for Trump- $130,000 to Stephanie Clifford aka Stormy Daniels & $150,000 to Karen McDougal involving David Pecker and Michael Avenatti

Taxi Business Partners:

  • Gene” Evgeny A. Freidman, taxi mogul controlling $1b of medallions in 2015, a Russian immigrant, pleaded guilty to avoiding $5m in tax May 2018 and agreed to be a cooperating witness. “Citibank’s attempted grab to cover [$31.5m of Friedman’s] past-due loans would “destroy the medallion market,” said ​fleet owner ​Gene Friedman’s lawyer, Brett Berman. In court Tuesday​,​ Berman also claimed that putting Friedman, who controls 900 medallions, out of business would harm the public by slashing the number of cabs on the road.” NY Post March 24, 2015
  • Ukrainian-born partner, the “taxi king” Simon V. Garber via Shusterman
  • Ukrainian-born Semyon “Sam” Shtayner, opened “Cannaboss LLC” in NV on 11/7/16, which Cohen loaned $6m from 2014-18 against collateral property in Sunny Isles, FL. Shtayner was auto repair business partners in the 1990s with
  • Cohen’s Ukrainian-born father-in-law, Fima Shusterman, who introduced Cohen to Trump and pleaded guilty in 1993 to federal money laundering in tax evasion case involving taxis. His business partners were Shalva Botier and Edward Zubok “More recently, Mr. Cohen and his father-in-law lent more than $25 million to a Ukrainian businessman who has a checkered financial record and a history of defaulting on loans. And Mr. Cohen long held a small stake in his uncle’s catering hall, which was frequented by Russian and Italian mobsters. On one day in 2014, he sold four buildings in Manhattan for $32 million, entirely in cash. That was nearly three times what he paid for them no more than three years earlier.”  NY Times. Known among “Red Star” to funnel money into Sunny Isles and Trump Properties and Cohen was one of several attorneys who helped money launderers purchase apartments in a development in Sunny Isles Beach. Seth Hattena
  • Brother Bryan Cohen also married a Ukrainian woman and did business with her father, Alex Oronov.

South Florida Casino Boats The Atlantic and Victory 2 went bust in 2003. Cohen, Arkady Vaygensberg (Ukrainian) and Leonid Tatarchuk (Ukrainian) were 30%/30%/30% partners. Atty David M. Goldstein established it, in business with Alvin Malnik (NJ Casino Control accused of Meyer Lansky mob associates in 1980, in 1970 acquitted for tax fraud). “At the same time that Atlantic Casino was operating in Miami Beach, one of the partners invested in a gambling boat in Tampa Bay. This casino was managed by Tatiana Varzar, a Brighton Beach restaurateur, and her husband, Michael, who had been sentenced to 52 months in federal prison for a tax scheme linked to four New York crime families. In 2008, Tatiana Varzar operated a catering company out of a Trump condominium in South Florida. A fourth, Valentin Laskov, controlled the remaining 10%. Cohen promised to finance the business with $1.5 million, while Laskov promised $800,000. Vaygensberg and Tatarchuk did not put up any money, but were given shares because of their “expertise and experience” in the casino industry.”  Buzzfeed

A $75,000/year attorney since 1992, Michael Cohen gained Trump’s trust after Cohen’s condo board had decided to remove “Trump” from the building and Cohen gained residents’ support to replace the entire board and preserve the signage. Soon after Cohen became the Executive Vice President of the Trump Organization and “Special Counsel” to Trump at $500,000/year where he remained until January 2017 when he started Michael D. Cohen and Associates and Essential Consultants LLC. These firms operated from the NYC offices of Squire Patton BoggsNew York Law Journal April 2018. “Cohen also secured a substantial amount of consulting business for himself throughout 2017 by marketing to corporations what he claime to be unique insights about and access to Trump.” Sentencing Memorandum

Taxi Cab Medallions worth millions in NYC and Chicago provided Cohen monthly income.


A Brief History of Michael Cohen’s Criminal Ties Rolling Stone From the Russian mob to money launderers, Trump’s personal attorney has long been a subject of interest to federal investigators Copyright © Seth Hettena. Based on an excerpt from Trump / Russia: A Definitive History to be published by Melville House Publishing on May 8th. 

“He grew up on Long Island, the son of a physician who survived the Holocaust in Poland, and like Tom Hagen [The Godfather Corleone consigliore] spent a childhood around organized crime, specifically the Russian Mafiya. Cohen’s uncle, Morton Levine, was a wealthy Brooklyn doctor who owned the El Caribe Country Club, a Brooklyn catering hall and event space that was a well-known hangout for Russian gangsters. Cohen and his siblings all had ownership stakes in the club, which rented for years to the first Mafiya boss of Brighton Beach, Evsei Agron, along with his successors, Marat Balagula and Boris Nayfeld. (Cohen’s uncle said his nephew gave up his stake in the club after Trump’s election.)

I spoke to two former federal investigators who told me Cohen was introduced to Donald Trump by his father-in-law, Fima Shusterman, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Ukraine who arrived in the U.S. in 1975. Shusterman was in the garment business and owned a fleet of taxicabs with his partners, Shalva Botier and Edward Zubok – all three men were convicted of a money-laundering related offense in 1993. “Fima may have been a (possibly silent) business partner with Trump, perhaps even used as a conduit for Russian investors in Trump properties and other ventures,” a former federal investigator told me. “Cohen, who married into the family, was given the job with the Trump Org as a favor to Shusterman.” (“Untrue,” Cohen told me. “Your source is creating fake news.”)

Shusterman, who owned at least four New York taxi companies, also set his son-in-law up in the yellow cab business. Cohen once ran 260 yellow cabs with his Ukrainian-born partner, the “taxi king” Simon V. Garber, until their partnership ended acrimoniously in 2012. Glenn Simpson, the private investigator who was independently hired to examine Trump’s Russia connections during the real estate mogul’s presidential run, testified before the House Intelligence Committee that Cohen “had a lot of connections to the former Soviet Union, and that he seemed to have associations with organized crime figures in New York and Florida – Russian organized crime figures,” including Garber.
A curious episode in Cohen’s life came in 1999 when he received a $350,000 check from a professional hockey player named Vladimir Malakhov, who was then playing for the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens. According to Malakhov, the check was a loan to a friend. The friend, however, swore in an affidavit that she never received the money and never even knew the check had been written until it was discovered years later in a Florida lawsuit. So what happened to the money? One interesting lead was an incident involving Malakhov, who was approached in Brighton Beach and shaken down for money by a man who worked for the Russian crime boss, Vyacheslav Ivankov.
Regardless of what he did or didn’t know Cohen was able to purchase a $1 million condo at Trump World Tower in 2001, persuading his parents, his Ukrainian in-laws and Garber to do the same in other Trump buildings. Cohen’s in-laws Fima and Ania Shusterman bought three units in Trump World Tower worth a combined $7.66 million (one of which was rented to Jocelyn Wildenstein, the socialite known as “Catwoman” for undergoing extreme facial plastic surgery to please her cat-loving husband [designer Lloyd Klein]). Cohen later purchased a nearly $5 million unit in Trump Park Avenue. In a five-year period, he and people connected to him would purchase Trump properties worth $17.3 million.”
Cohen and Felix Sater have known each other for nearly 30 years. They met in Brighton Beach when Cohen started dating his future wife, Shusterman’s daughter, Laura, who Sater says he knew from the neighborhood.” Cohen graduated law school in 1991 and started practicing in 1992, married 1994.

Gangster Party candidate: Trump’s ties to Russian organized crime The Insider

Regarding the Cohen-Vladimir Malakhov $350,000 check referenced above, shaken down by: Vyacheslav Ivankov-Yaponchik, friend of the Crocus Group and Real Estate co-developer of Trump Tower Moscow and co-organizer of the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow 2013, Araz Agalarov-Azerbaijani “underworld figure Hikmet Mukhtarov [who] was shot in a car registered in the name of Crocus’s co-founder, Rail Zeynalov…According to some sources, Vyacheslav Ivankov-Yaponchik (the one who was detained at the Trump Tower) was present at the  Hikmet’s funeral in Azerbaijan. In turn, when Yaponchik was shot dead in 2009, Azerbaijani crime boss Mammad Masallinsky was noticed at his funeral…in the early 1990s, the group run by the thief in law Hikmet were in charge of security for Agalarov and his family. In the 90’s it was impossible to work without backing form the criminal world. Hikmet had a team of 500 “athletes”…Then the thieves became businessmen. ”


How Michael Cohen, Trump’s Fixer, Built a Shadowy Business Empire Michael D. Cohen, President Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, leaving federal court in Manhattan on April 26.   Credit Jeenah Moon for NY Times By William K. Rashbaum, Danny Hakim, Brian M. Rosenthal, Emily Flitter and Jesse Drucker 

“In 1999, Mr. Cohen would find himself in the middle of a Sunny Isles real estate deal involving a hockey player [Vladimir Malakhov]and a purported figure from the Russian underworld. Nearly 20 years later, the details of the transaction remain unclear, but Mr. Cohen received a check for $350,000 from a Russian player for the Montreal Canadiens that was part of a deal involving an apartment in Sunny Isles. The player’s agent later testified that the money was intended to go to Vitaly Buslaev. Mr. Buslaev, who has been identified by multiple Russian media outlets as a Mafia figure, was a friend of one of Mr. Cohen’s business partners, according to two people who knew both men.

The son of a Holocaust survivor, Mr. Cohen grew up in the Five Towns area of Long Island, just east of the New York City borough of Queens. It was a comfortable life — both his father and an uncle were doctors, and he attended a local private school then called Woodmere Academy. “My cousins are all either lawyers or doctors,” Mr. Cohen told The New York Times last year.

One of those relatives was his uncle Dr. Morton W. Levine. Uncle Morty, as he was known to his family, had no children of his own, and he and Mr. Cohen were close. He even let his nephew drive his Bentley. Dr. Levine, a family practitioner, provided medical assistance to members of the Lucchese crime family, “which aided their illegal activities,” according to a sworn affidavit in 1993 from an F.B.I. special agent. The agent was involved in the investigation of the Lucchese underboss, Anthony (Gaspipe) Casso, who “regarded Levine as someone who would do anything for him,” according to the affidavit. That account was buttressed by testimony from a longtime Lucchese associate in an unrelated 2006 federal trial. In 1992, Dr. Levine bought Mr. Casso’s home while Mr. Casso was a fugitive. Dr. Levine has acknowledged in court documents that Mr. Casso was a patient. But he said he did not know that the house belonged to Mr. Casso and denied any wrongdoing.

Dr. Levine also owned El Caribe, a Brooklyn catering hall that for decades was the scene of mob weddings and Christmas parties. Two of New York’s most notorious Russian mobsters once maintained offices there. Mr. Cohen was among the minority owners of El Caribe, Dr. Levine has said, although he added that Mr. Cohen gave up his ownership stake after the 2016 election.

Dr. Levine had crossed paths with Mr. Trump years before his nephew went to work for him. The doctor was part of an investment group with some garment executives that unsuccessfully challenged Mr. Trump’s 1989 bid for the Atlantis Casino in Atlantic City.

Mr. Cohen began his professional legal career at a personal injury firm in 1992, the year after he graduated from Cooley Law School in Michigan. His boss at that first job would later plead guilty to bribery.” NY Times


“A significant business partner of Michael D. Cohen, President Trump’s personal lawyer, has agreed to cooperate with the government as a potential witness, a development that could be used as leverage to pressure Mr. Cohen to work with the special counsel examining Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Under the deal reached with the New York attorney general’s office, the partner, Evgeny A. Freidman, a Russian immigrant who is known as the Taxi King, specifically agreed to assist government prosecutors in state or federal investigations, according to a person briefed on the matter.

In the 1990s, there was an informal group of federal and local law enforcement agents investigating the Russian Mafiya in New York that called themselves “Red Star.” They shared information they learned from informants. It was well known among the members of Red Star that Cohen’s father-in-law was funneling money into Trump ventures. Several sources have told me that Cohen was one of several attorneys who helped money launderers purchase apartments in a development in Sunny Isles Beach, a seaside Florida town just north of Miami. This was an informal arrangement passed word-of-mouth: “We have heard from Russian sources that … in Florida, Cohen and other lawyers acted as a conduit for money.”

An investigation by Reuters found that at least 63 individuals with Russian passports or addresses have bought at least $98.4 million worth of property in the seven Trump-branded luxury towers. And that was a conservative estimate. At least 703 – or about one-third – of the 2044 units were owned by limited liability companies, or LLCs, which could conceal the property’s true owner. Executives from Gazprom and other Russian natural resource giants also owned units in Trump’s Sunny Isles towers. In an observation that several people I spoke with echoed, Kenneth McCallion, a former prosecutor who tracked the flows of Russian criminal money into Trump’s properties, told me, “Trump’s genius – or evil genius – was, instead of Russian criminal money being passive, incidental income, it became a central part of his business plan.” McCallion continued, “It’s not called ‘Little Moscow’ for nothing. The street signs are in Russian. But his towers there were built specifically for the Russian middle-class criminal.”

Cohen joined the Trump Organization around the time that the second Sunny Isles tower was being built. A few years earlier, he had invested $1.5 million in a short-lived Miami-based casino boat venture run by his two Ukrainian business partners, Arkady Vaygensberg and Leonid Tatarchuk. Only three months after its maiden voyage, it would become the subject of a large fraud investigation. But Cohen was saved from his bad investment by none other than Trump himself, who hired Cohen as an attorney just before his casino ship sank. A source who investigated Cohen’s connections to Russia told me, “Say you want to get money into the country and maybe you’re a bit suspect. The Trump organization used lawyers to allow people to get money into the country.” NY Times


September 2015, During a radio interview, Cohen suggested that Trump meet with Putin during the UN General Assembly meeting in NY. Cohen discussed. Cohen lied; he spoke with Trump about contacting the Russian government before reaching out to gauge Russia’s interestSentencing Memorandum

Cohen’s long-time friend and Trump’s business partner in Bayrock, Felix Sater, arranged a letter of intent (LOI) from Russian oligarch Andrey Rozov to develop Trump Tower Moscow. Michael Cohen received the letter October 13, 2015, on behalf of Trump Acquisition LLC.  Read the Letter here, obtained by CNN on September 7, 2017.

November 2015,Cohen received the contact information for, and spoke with, a Russian national who claimed to be a “trusted Person” in the Russian Federation who could offer the campaign “political synergy” and “synergy on a governments level.” The defendant [Cohen] recalled that this person repeatedly proposed a meeting between Individual 1 [Trump] and the [Putin]. The person told Cohen that such a meeting could have a “phenomenal” impact “not only in political but in a  business dimension as well,” referring to the Moscow Project, because there is “no bigger warranty in any project than consent of [Putin]. ³[Cohen] explained that he did not pursue the proposed meeting, which did not take place, in part because he was working on the Moscow Project with a different individual who Cohen understood to have his own connections to the Russian government. Sentencing Memorandum

Document details scrapped deal for Trump Tower Moscow By Gloria Borger and Marshall Cohen, CNN


Attorney for Michael Cohen in the SDNY case:  Guy Petrillo

SDNY US v. Michael Cohen, 1:18-cr-00602-WHP  Sentencing Memorandum Filed December 7, 2018.  

Cohen does not have a cooperation agreement or a 5K1.1 letter and is not a “cooperating witness.” 

  1. Willful Tax Evasion

    From 2012-2016, Cohen underreported >$4m income, avoiding $1.4m tax, and “failed to report several different streams of income on his tax returns, which he swore were true and accurate. The largest source of undisclosed income was more than $2.4m that Cohen received from a series of personal loans that he made to a taxi operator [Semyon “Sam” Shtayner, Taxi Operator-1to whom Cohen leased certain of his Chicago taxi medallions, between 2012-2015, for a total principal of $6m. Each of these loans carried an interest rate in excess of 12%. Cohen funded the majority of these loans from a line of credit with an interest rate of <5% (such that Cohen was earning a substantial spread on the difference between the two loan rates). Cohen received more than $2.4m in interest payments from [Shtayner] between 2012 and 2016. In 2014, Cohen received $100,000 for brokering the sale of a piece of property in a private aviation community in Florida. In 2015 Cohen made approximately $30,000 in profit from the sale of a rare and highly valuable French handbag. In 2016, Cohen received more than $200,000 in consulting income from an assisted living company. Cohen reported none of this to the IRS or his accountant.” Sentencing Memorandum

    Cohen “and the lawyer’s father-in-law [Fima Shusterman] have lent $26 million in recent years to a taxi mogul with Chicago ties who is shifting into the legalized marijuana industry, according to documents obtained by The Associated PressUkraine-born Semyon “Sam” Shtayner, 63, “a longtime business associate of Michael Cohen’s father-in-law Fima Shusterman, created Nevada-based Cannaboss LLC a day before the 2016 election. “He personally manages over 500 taxi medallions, but he is looking to transition from the medallion business to the cannibas” [sic], according to the personal narrative that Shtayner submitted in October to city officials in Henderson, Nevada. It couldn’t be determined whether Shtayner used any of the loans — $6 million of which have come directly from Cohen since 2014 — to finance his grow operation.

    Records show Shtayner’s wife Yasya Shtayner and companies they control have used their properties in Chicago and Sunny Isles, Florida, as collateral for the loans from Cohen and his father-in-law, the Chicago Sun-Times has reported. The business relationship among Cohen, Shusterman and Shtayner stretches back years. Property records in New York show Shtayner and Shusterman were among investors in an upper Manhattan taxi garage and auto repair shop in the 1990s. 
    Last August [2017], Shusterman lent at least $12 million against Chicago properties owned by Yasya Shtayner or their companies, the Sun-Times has reported. In a second series of four transactions in March, Shusterman lent the Shtayners or their companies an additional $8 million. Four of the loans were made to Shtayner’s wife and four others were directed to two Chicago taxi companies she manages, according to corporate documents.

    Cohen has a fleet of 22 cabs in Chicago and, with his wife and father-in-law, has owned 30 medallions in New York after initially going into business with his father-in-law, records show. Shusterman — who, like Shtayner, started as a cab driver after emigrating from Ukraine — pleaded guilty in 1993 to federal money-laundering charges in a tax-evasion case involving cab drivers and a Brooklyn accountant. Shtayner’s Chicago cab empire has grown rapidly, though 99 of his medallions are in foreclosure, and 15 have some sort of violation. Forty-nine have been taken over by the city for failure to pay taxes and fees.” Chicago Sun-Times

  2. Making False Statements to a Financial Institution

    December 2015 HELOC application (“Bank-3”) failing to disclose >$20m and $70,000 monthly interest payments for debt to (“Bank-2”) “By February 2013, Cohen had obtained a $14m Lin of credit from (“Bank-1”), collateralized by his taxi medallions. Cohen separately maintained a $6.4m medallion-related loan with Bank-1. This loan as disclosed in Cohen’s subsequent credit applications to Bank-2 and Bank-3. In November 2014, Cohen refinanced this medallion debt at Bank-1 with Bank-2. Bank-2 shared the debt with a New York-based credit union, pursuant to a participation agreement. For ease of reference, this memorandum will simply refer to the debt at Bank-2. The transaction was structured as a package of individual loans to the entities that owned Cohen’s New York medallions, totaling more than $20m, and personally guaranteed by Cohen. Following the closing of these loans, the $14m line of credit with Bank-1 was closed.  In 2013, Cohen made a successful application to Bank-3–the bank to which he later would make false statements in connection with the HELOC application-for a mortgage on his Park Ave. condominium. In that application, Cohen did not disclose the $14m line of credit he had with Bank-1 at the time. In February 2015, Cohen attempted to secure financing from Bank-3 to purchase a summer home for approximately $8.5m. Once again, he concealed the $14m line of credit, which by this point took the form of the $20m in refinanced loans with Bank-2. In connection with the summer home application, Cohen had to go to great and deliberate lengths to keep the debt hidden from Bank-3…In 2017 and early 2018, Cohen wanted Bank-2 to restructure his more than $20m in medallion debt on terms more favorable to Cohen. Cohen thus shifted gears, halting monthly payments to Bank-2 and falsely representing orally and in writing that he had a negative net worth and less than $1.5m in cash, despite his receipt of nearly $4m in “consulting” fees between January 2017 and March 2018. By early April 2018, Bank-2 and Cohen reached a deal in principle, premised on Bank-2’s receipt of an updated personal financial statement confirming, in writing, the negative financial information represented by Cohen. On April 9, 2018, the FBI executed a series of search warrants on Cohen, including at his residence, hotel, and office, which put him on notice that he was being investigated for, among other things, bank fraud and explicitly referenced Bank-2…To save the deal,Cohen agreed to post his Park Ave. residence as collateral, which he had previously refused to do. An updated financial statement Cohen provided at closing reflected a positive $17m net worth in addition to previously undisclosed liquid assets, a nearly $20m increase from the false financial information Cohen had provided to Bank-2 just weeks earlier in the negotiations.” Sentencing Memorandum

  3. Illegal Campaign Contributions-Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels

“During the campaign, Cohen played a central role in two similar schemes to purchase the rights to stories-each from women who claimed to have had an affair with Trump-so as to suppress the stories and thereby prevent them from influencing the election. With respect to both payments, Cohen acted with the intern to influence the 2016 presidential election. Cohen coordinated his actions with one or more members of the campaign, including through meetings and phone calls, about the fact, nature, and timing of the payments. In particular, and as Cohen himself has now admitted, with respect to both payments, he acted in coordination with and at the direction of Trump. As a result of Cohen’s actions, neither woman spoke to the press prior to the election.” Sentencing Memorandum

In August 2016, Playboy model Karen McDougal made a deal with American Media Inc. (National Enquirer) for $150,000 plus publishing her fitness columns to keep quiet about a nearly year-long affair with Trump in 2006 shortly after Barron was born. Wall Street Journal reported in November 2016. July 25, 2018, CNN played the tape wherein Cohen told Trump, “I need to openup a company for the transfer of all of that info regarding our friend David.” [David Pecker of AMI] In April 2018, McDougal successfully sued to withdraw from the contract.

“In August 2014, Chairman-1 [David Pecker] had met with Cohen and Trump, and had offered to help deal with negative stories about Trump’s relations with women by identifying such stories so that they could be purchased and “killed.” Consistent with that offer, after Editor-1 [Dylan Howard] told Pecker about McDougal’s story, they contacted Cohen to tell him about the offer…Between August 2016 and September 2016, Cohen agreed with Pecker to assign the rights the non-disclosure portion of AMI’s agreement with McDougal to Cohen for $125,000. Cohen then incorporated a shell entity called “Resolution Consultants LLC” to be used in the transaction. Both Pecker and Cohen ultimately signed the agreement, and a consultant for AMI, using his own shell entity, provided Cohen with an invoice for the payment of $125,000. That assignment was never completed, however.” Sentencing Memorandum

“On October 8, 2016, an agent for (“Woman-2”) [Stephanie Clifford a.k.a. Stormy Daniels] informed Dylan Howard that she was willing to make public statements and confirm on the recorder alleged past affair with Trump. Pecker and Howard contacted Cohen and put him in touch with Michael Avenatti, who was [representing McDougal and Clifford]. Over the course of the next few days, Cohen negotiated a $130,000 agreement with Avenatti to purchase Clifford’s silence. Cohen received a signed confidential settlement agreement and a separate side letter from Avenatti. Cohen did not immediately execute the settlement agreement, nor did he pay Clifford. On the evening of October 25, 2016, with no final deal in place with Clifford, Avenatti told Howard that Clifford was close to completing a deal with a media outlet, under which she would make her story public. Howard texted Cohen that “[w]e have to coordinate something on the matter [Avenatti is] calling you about or it could look awfully bad for everyone.” Pecker and Howard then called Cohen through and encrypted telephone application. Cohen agreed to make the payment and then called Avenatti to finalize the deal. On October 26, 2016, Cohen emailed an incorporating service to obtain the corporate formation documents for another shell corporation, Essential Consultants, LLC, which he had incorporated a few days prior. That afternoon, he directed that $131,000 from his HELOCthe same HELOC he had obtained by means of false statements, see p. 8-10, supra – be deposited into an account he had just opened in the name of Essential Consultants LLC. The next day, Cohen wired $130,000 from that account to Avenatti. On the wire form, Cohen falsely indicated that the purpose of the wire was to pay a “retainer.” On November 1, 2016, Cohen received copies of the final, signed confidential settlement agreement and side letter agreement from Avenatti.

After the election, Cohen sought reimbursement for election-related expenses, including the $130,000 payment he had made to Clifford. Cohen presented an executive of the Company with a copy of a bank statement reflecting the $130,000 wire transfer. Cohen also requested reimbursement of an additional $50,000, which represented a claimed payment for campaign- related “tech services.” Executives of the Company agreed to reimburse Cohen by adding$130,000 and $50,000, “grossing up” that amount to $360,000 for tax purposes, and adding a$60,000 bonus, such that Cohen would be paid $420,000 in total. Executives of the Company decided to pay the $420,000 in monthly installments of $35,000 over the course of a year.

At the instruction of an executive for the Company, Cohen sent monthly invoices to the Company for these $35,000 payments, falsely indicating that the invoices were being sent pursuantto a “retainer agreement.” The Company then falsely accounted for these payments as “legal expenses.” In fact, no such retainer agreement existed and these payments were not “legal expenses” – Cohen in fact provided negligible legal services to Trump or the Company [Trump Organization] in 2017 – but were reimbursement payments. Cohen then received the $420,000 during the course of 2017.

The Washington Post published a transcript of the call wherein Cohen states “I’ve spoken to Allen Weisselberg about how to set the whole thing up.”

4. Making False Statements to Congress

“They each involve deception, and were each motivated by personal greed and ambition. While Cohen-as his own submission makes clear-already enjoyed a privileged life, his desire for even greater wealth and influence precipitated an extensive course of criminal conduct.”

Robert Mueller’s Case: US v. Michael Cohen SDNY, 1:18-cr-00850-WHP.  Sentencing Memorandum Filed December 7, 2018  US Attorneys for the SCO: Jeannie S. Rhee, Andrew D. Goldstein, L. Rush Atkinson

Cohen first gave a written response to Congress in late August 2017, and then in a public appearance in October 2017, lied that Trump Tower Moscow “was terminated in January of 2016”. “By presenting this false narrative, the defendant deliberately shifted the timeline of what had occurred in the hopes of limiting the investigations into possible Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election-an issue of heightened national interest…The fact that Cohen continued to work on the project and discuss it with [Trump] well into the campaign was material to the ongoing congressional and SCO investigations…Similarly it was material that Cohen, during the campaign, had a substantive telephone call about the project with an assistant to the press secretary for the President of Russia.”

August 7, 2018, Cohen requested a meeting, and September 12, 2018, Cohen was interviewed by Mueller’s SCO during 7 proffer sessions. After pleading guilty in US v Cohen, 18-cr-00602-WHP, he admitted to prior false statements about Trump Tower Moscow. He admitted to”discussion during the first half of 2016 about the possibility of travel to Russia in connection with the Moscow Project…Cohen explained financial aspects of the deal that would have made it highly lucrative for the Company and himself. The information provided by Cohen about the Moscow Project in these proffer sessions is consistent with and corroborated by other information obtained in the course of the SCO’s investigation.”

November 29, 2018, Cohen pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements to Congress, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001(a)

Hon. William H. Pauley III,  US Attorneys: Robert Khuzami, Andrea M. Griswold, Rachel Maimin, Thomas McKay, Nicolas Roos October 11, 2018: The New York Times sought “an order unsealing materials related to certain searches conducted in connection with the above-referenced case.”  SDNY Intent to oppose request before November 2. h/t @SpicyFiles