AP-Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former personal attorney, pleaded guilty Thursday to making false statements to Congress about a Trump real estate project in Russia, reportedly as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
Cohen, in a surprise court appearance in New York City on Thursday, pleaded guilty to making false statements to Congress in 2017 to the Senate Intelligence Committee about a plan to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.
Thursday marks the first time Mueller’s team charged Cohen as part of their investigation into Russian meddling and potential collusion with Trump campaign associates during the 2016 presidential election.
In August, though, Cohen pleaded guilty in a separate case to violating federal campaign finance laws by arranging hush-money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal in the weeks leading up to the election “at the direction” of then-candidate Trump.
Cohen has been under criminal investigation as part of a grand jury probe into his personal business dealings, including his taxi business and bank fraud, since earlier this year.
The Wall Street Journal reported in September that Mueller had interviewed Cohen over the Trump Tower deal in Russia. Cohen said in 2017 that he discussed the deal with Trump three times during the campaign, though the project was abandoned in January 2016.
Cohen told the Senate Intelligence Committee last year that the possible project was “solely a real estate deal and nothing more” and it was scrapped before the Iowa caucus and months before the first primary.
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