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Michael Cohen Pleads Guilty To Covering Up Trump Real Estate Deals In Moscow

Michael Cohen

President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney has pleaded guilty to covering up a Russian real estate deal during a time when the then-candidate was trying to win the White House

Michael Cohen pleaded guilty Thursday in New York in a nine-page filing that detailed numerous lies he told to put distance between a planned Trump-branded tower in Moscow and Trump’s presidential ambition. Cohen admitted to knowingly lying to the Senate and House intelligence committees in 2017 about the president’s commercial ties in Russia. 

Although he previously said the Russian real estate deal had stalled before the primaries began in the 2016 presidential election, Cohen admitted talks continued through June of that year, the Washington Post reports. He identified the president in court documents as “Individual 1.” 

“I made these misstatements to be consistent with Individual 1’s political messaging and out of loyalty to Individual 1,” Cohen said in court. 

Trump has reiterated a claim that he had no business dealings in Russia — and accused Cohen of lying about his admissions of lying — but Cohen said the president was aware of the talks with Russian officials through the summer of 2016. Prosecutors detailed discussions Cohen had that summer with Felix Sater, a developer who was collaborating on the Moscow project and once said the project would "get Donald elected."

Cohen’s attorney, Guy Petrillo, told reporters Thursday outside the New York courthouse his client is cooperating and will continue to cooperate.

Trump told reporters at the White House Thursday Cohen was a “weak person.” He added he himself had done nothing wrong, simply keeping business opportunities open in case he had lost the election.  

Cohen’s guilty plea is his second in four months. He previously pleaded guilty to charges of campaign finance, tax and bank crimes, including arranging hush money payments to two women who claimed they had engaged in sexual relationships with Trump.