NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump’s longtime estranged ex-lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen said Manhattan prosecutors recently hijacked his cell phone and accused porn star Stormy in the closing weeks of 2016. He said he retained evidence related to hush payments made to Daniels. presidential election.
Cohen’s payment to Daniels was meant to buy her silence over alleged sexual encounters with Trump.
Cohen said Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office asked for a phone call because they wanted to extract an audio recording of a conversation he had with Daniels’ attorney.
“That way, if they actually moved forward, it could be used as evidence. I doubt they do,” Cohen said in an appearance on CNN.
Cohen told the Associated Press on Wednesday that Manhattan prosecutors investigating the payments asked him for the device after meeting with him recently to discuss the investigation. Cohen said he was questioned for about two and a half hours. He is also expected to testify before a grand jury at some point.
Cohen went to jail in 2019 after pleading guilty to tax evasion, lying to Congress, and campaign finance crimes. After that, he finished his prison term.
The campaign costs were related to a payment to Daniels and a similar payment Cohen arranged for model Karen McDougall. Both women said they had a secret meeting with Trump when he was a reality TV star. Trump says those stories are not true.
Federal prosecutors said Trump was aware of the payments to the women during Cohen’s criminal case.
Cohen told CNN that the materials were “the same” the FBI obtained from him during a 2018 investigation, but “it’s a first for the district attorney. They’ve seen some of it. But now I own it completely.”
Bragg has appointed a new grand jury to hear evidence about paying hush money to women who have alleged ties to Trump, two people familiar with the investigation told The Associated Press. bottom. People were not allowed to speak publicly about grand jury proceedings, which are confidential and spoke on condition of anonymity.
The presence of a grand jury has been previously reported by multiple news outlets.
Trump and his lawyers say the payments to the two women were legal and were a personal matter, not election expenses.