On Tuesday, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office released a 34 count indictment, as well as a statement of facts against former President Donald Trump, who stands accused of falsifying business records from 2017. According to the charges, Trump paid his former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, who in turn paid porn star Stormy Daniels $130,000 for her silence about her alleged 2006 sexual encounter with the President.
The 34 counts of felony falsifying business records each carry a maximum four-year prison term. Trump pled not guilty. Trump is also alleged to have coordinated, with Cohen and large media conglomerate American Media Inc. (AMI), an “eyes and ears” program that did the President’s bidding in terms of locating and quashing negative stories related to his 2016 presidential run. AMI, publishers of the National Enquirer, have admitted to the arrangement.
The government’s statement of facts also references the case of former Trump Tower doorman Dino Sajudin, whom officials believe was paid $30,000 for the rights to a false story about Trump fathering a child out of wedlock. The payment was promptly followed by an alleged $150,000 agreement with former Playboy model Karen McDougal for information concerning an alleged affair with Trump. In both cases, with the understanding that President Trump would eventually reimburse Cohen for money paid out.
To cover the $130,000 reimbursement, Cohen was given a $420,000 year-end bonus by Trump’s chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg. They then went on to falsely characterize these payments as coming from Cohen’s legal services. Finally, after federal authorities began investigating Cohen in April 2018, the president is alleged to have pressured him to not cooperate with law enforcement via both private and public channels.
AMI is a major media outlet, based out of New York City and owned by Chatham Asset Management. Founded in 1926, AMI has since grown to be one of the largest magazine publishing groups in the United States. It operates under multiple brands such as their flagship publication National Enquirer, Us Weekly, and the recently launched The Sun.
Michael Cohen is an American lawyer, businessman and former attorney for then-President Trump. After being sentenced to three years’ imprisonment stemming from plead guilty to tax and campaign violations in 2018, Cohen served out his sentence and was released early on May 21, 2020. Cohen is now a convicted felon, his case immediately caught the public’s attention due to his close ties to the president.