Trump’s Pecker Got Him in Legal Trouble Before Conspiring with Russia Did

It was a three ring circus among top Trump advisors today: Jurors found Paul Manafort guilty on 8 counts (the jury was hung on the other 10); Michael Cohen pled guilty to 8 counts, and Mueller’s team continued Mike Flynn’s sentencing for 24 days, with a status report due September 17.

The big takeaway, however, is that Trump got named in a criminal information for his extramarital affairs before his conspiring with Russia did. [I’ve rewritten this headline, replacing “Dick” with “Pecker,” in honor of the National Enquirer’s role and so Democracy Now can show the headline tomorrow when I appear.]

Trump’s hush payments make it into Michael Cohen’s guilty plea

The Cohen plea — which developed quickly and reportedly came under pressure to plead before an indictment got filed this week — covered five tax charges, one false statement to a financial institution, one unlawful corporation contribution tied to Cohen’s quashing of a National Enquirer story on Karen McDougal, and one excessive campaign contribution tied to Cohen’s hush payment to Stormy Daniels. The first reference to Donald Trump — named as Individual 1 — is the 46th word in the in the criminal information.

From in or about 2007 through in or about January 2017, MICHAEL COHEN, the defendant, was an attorney and employee of a Manhattan-based real estate company (the “Company”). COHEN held the title of “Executive Vice President” and “Special Counsel” to the owner of the Company (“Individual-1”).

Cohen will reportedly face three to five years in prison and substantial fines.

In his plea, Cohen stated that he made the hush payments at the direction of a candidate — Trump was not named — knowing the payments violated campaign finance law. Here’s how those paragraphs appear in the information:

42. From in or about June 2016, up to and including in or about October 2016, in the Southern District of New York and elsewhere, MICHAEL COHEN, the defendant, knowingly and willfully caused a corporation to make a contribution and expenditure, aggregating $25,000 and more during the 2016 calendar year, to the campaign of a candidate for President of the United States, to wit, COHEN caused Corporation-1 to make and advance a $150, 000 payment to Woman-1, including through the promise of reimbursement, so as to ensure that Woman-1 did not publicize damaging allegations before the 2016 presidential election and thereby influence that election.

44. On or about October 27, 2016, in the Southern District of New York and elsewhere, MICHAEL COHEN, the defendant, knowingly and willfully made and caused to be made a contribution to Individual-1, a candidate for Federal office, and his authorized political committee in excess of the limits of the Election Act, which aggregated $25,000 and more in calendar year 2016, and did so by making and causing to be made an expenditure, in cooperation, consultation, and concert with, and at the request and suggestion of one or more members of the campaign, to wit, COHEN made a $130,000 payment to Woman-2 to ensure that she did not publicize damaging allegations before the 2016 presidential election and thereby influence that election.

For all the legal trouble his top aides have gotten in, this is the first time (aside from his cameo calling on Russia to find Hillary’s “missing” emails in the GRU indictment) where Trump has been implicated directly.

Thus the headline: His dick [update: Pecker] got him in trouble before his conspiring with Russia did.

There was reportedly not cooperation agreement attached to this plea. I suspect he will be or already has cooperated, however.

Contrary to what some of NYT’s hacks say, this doesn’t mean his dick got him in more trouble than he’ll face in the Russian inquiry: just that that will take a bit longer.

Update: As bmaz noted to me, once he pleads on the Stormy Daniels charge, he loses his Fifth Amendment rights, so the Daniels suit against him can go forward — and with it the deposition of Trump.

Like Cohen, Paul Manafort is a tax cheat

Literally at the same time Cohen was pleading guilty, the jury in the Manafort case declared themselves hopelessly at odds on 10 charges, but found Manafort guilty of 8. Like Cohen, he is guilty of 5 counts of tax fraud. He was found guilty on one FBAR charge for not identifying foreign holdings (my suspicion in the other FBAR charges were hung because it was unclear whether the corporations that held the money faced the same liability). And Manafort was found guilty on two of the bank fraud charges. Per Politico, he was not found guilty on the charges involving payoffs related to the Trump campaign.

Manafort’s next trial starts in 27 days, and if Mueller wants a retrial on the remaining 10 charges here he could get that. Though he has bigger fish to fry.

Mueller thinks Mike Flynn will be done cooperating in the near future

While it’s far less sexy than the trouble Trump’s dick got him in, I’m most fascinated by the status report in the Mike Flynn case. While they’re continuing the sentencing process again (meaning he’s still cooperating), they’re asking for a status report on September 17, the same 27 days away as Manafort’s next trial.

That suggests they may be done with whatever they need Flynn to do in the near future.

Things are picking up steam.

168 replies
  1. Frank Probst says:

    The Manafort jury deadlocked on the 4 conspiracy counts, which were the only ones that I thought were shaky.  Your reasons for the other 6 sound plausible to me.  I’m assuming that reporters were chasing down jury members as soon as they were released, and at least one will probably tell us what the breakdown was on the 10 deadlocked charges.

    Does Judge Ellis handle the sentencing for the 8 guilty counts?  What are we realistically looking at here?

    And just out of curiosity, is Manafort going to continue to stay in the Alexandria jail, or will he be moving back to his old suite in eastern Virginia?

    • emptywheel says:

      Yes. He does sentencing. I saw something like 10-15 years. That may depend on how many other guilty verdicts he has before then though.

  2. Frank Probst says:

    Oh, and the TV legal analysts that @bmaz loves so much are all pretty much blaming the 10 deadlocked counts on Judge Ellis’ handling of the trial.

    • arbusto says:

      Yeah, I’m curious, since the prosecution called Ellis on some of his pontificating from the bench, if there’d be any judicial review of his actions or he just goes gentle into that good night

      • Bob Conyers says:

        I’d put the odds at about 0.01% that he gets any official action. And at this point, I doubt Mueller’s team sees any value to it, even though he was out of bounds.

        • Frank Probst says:

          I agree that he won’t get any official action.  But it’s being widely reported that he was hostile to the prosecution and didn’t run the trial very well.  Personally, I think he would have been equally hard on the defense if they had called any witnesses.  Remember, Judge Ellis is the reason that Manafort got his ass transferred to the Alexandria jail.

          It’s the optics that I think are important.  Manafort himself said that having the DC trial first would look better for him.  Instead, he got himself thrown into the Alexandria jail, the EDVA trial happened first, the judge was widely viewed as biased against the prosecution, and Manafort was STILL convicted on 8 felony counts, and he got a mistrial on the remaining 10.  Not a single acquittal.  There’s no positive way for him to spin this.

            • Frank Probst says:

              I think Manafort is largely playing to an audience of one, and maybe more broadly to Trump’s base.  He’s obviously hoping for a bunch of pardons.  From that prospective, getting a whole bunch of convictions from a Democrat DC Jury in a Witch Hunt Trial presided over by an Obama Judge would’ve looked better than getting 8 felony convictions from a Virginia jury in a trial presided over by a Reagan-appointed judge who was viewed as openly hostile to the prosecution.  (Yes, northern Virginia is bluer than the rest of the state, but it’s still a state that Trump won, and explaining the differing demographics of different parts of the state doesn’t really fit into a tweet.)

      • jf-fl says:

        He wasn’t acquitted on the other charges so prosecutors could re-try them.

        Ellis certainly gave them every reason to do so.    Also manafort may seek to appeal, they may want to keep pressure on him.

        • Avattoir says:

          Appeal to even the relatively R-friendly 4th CCA has been made tougher for Manafort by the jury’s manifesting its capacity to distinguish between the counts. And was already tough given Ellis’ conduct and rulings were so many, routinely, heavily and wrong against the prosecution.

          • Frank Probst says:

            Unless he’s acquitted of all charges in DC (highly unlikely), he stays in jail while his appeals are pending, doesn’t he?  I’m not sure that’s a great option for him.

      • Bob Conyers says:

        In all of the Trump-related news, I just wanted to add that this verdict is least a small bit of justice for all of the people all over the world who suffered for Manafort’s almost sociopathic support for dictators like Marcos, Savimbi and Mobutu. He sought out the worst of the worst and helped them murder and torture, all for the sake of his rugs and suits.

        • Peacerme says:

          That reminder is a sock in the gut. There are real victims under this presidency. Human rights violations, murder, stealing. Real. Serious. Crimes. White collar crime has a way of hiding the violence through the use of passiveness and deflection. The talk of a polite narcissist as opposed to the buffoon in the Oval Office. The identifying behavior, deflection. Thanks for the gut check. Let the truth set us free. I will fight my vengeful glee and replace it with reverence for everyone who has been damaged, wounded, killed, or jailed as a result of their association with a “malignant narcissist”.  Like an F 5 tornado, there will be a path of destruction. We will speak of this time, for years to come. Only concern, is that this tornado called Trump is still spinning and on the ground. It’s not easy to stop a tornado. And yet, one degree drop in temp and the tornado dies. Minutes. And it’s over. The right Change in environment can topple a dictator. It feels like we might be nearing that first domino in the change. The truth today finally so big, obvious and valid that most of us cannot unsee it.

          Thank you EW, for once again shining the light on truth. I honestly needed this site like an inhaler in order to breath, so many times. Tonight feels a little like the Libby indictment. Satisfying, but wanting so much more truth.

          • Prancy says:

            Just found this site, but wondering what Human rights, stealing, murders, etc. you are talking about? This whole so called Russian investigation is hog wash and we know it. You know why? Because you ignored HRC’s and DNC’s obstruction of Bernie. You also ignored the outright display of obstruction of justice by FBI and DOJ over the server. Or the tarmac meeting.  This is not a serious site this is a site for small, one track thinkers.

            • Rayne says:

              I’m letting this comment through because it’s a perfect example of the kind of thoughtless trollery cluttering up more serious discussions. This person says they “just found this site” but they assume the issues they proceed to bitch about have never been addressed here in some way and/or assume their pet issues are legitimate simply because teh Fox News sez so.

              Hasta, trollbreath. Don’t waste our time.

        • pseudonymous in nc says:

          Yeah, there are a lot of McLean and Alexandria McMansions bought with blood money.

          I stick by my conviction that Mueller’s team actually wants Manafort locked up for a long time pour encourager les autres. If he cooperates, he cooperates, but there is value in taking every brass cent from somebody who acts with utter impunity in dumping the toxic shit of American politics around the world.

    • emptywheel says:

      TY. As I said, the real reason was so Democracy Now can cite it. Gotta remember not to say ratfucker, either.

      • Avattoir says:

        Even ratrogering? Rodent Romeo? Pestilential perv? Wombat wanker?

        IAE, I do enjoy the implication that Democracy Now was flexible at least to this extent. I’ve watched you make Amy stutter and even nuan-plus Juan.

      • Thomasa says:

        @EW, I watched your segment on DN! The conversation with Amy was clarifying and enlightening to me and I’ve been following the posts closely for months. Clearly she or members of her staff read EW, so I was a bit surprised that she pursued the issue of your FBI testimony. I though it quite clear in your posts on the subject that you had said all you were going to say. Perhaps she wanted to give you the opportunity to make your reasons clear to a wider audience. She, of course knows better than to ask some of the question she did just for information.

  3. Ollie says:

    Thank you Marcy for the breakdown.  I’m giddy over any action, lol.  I’ll be sure and tune in to one of my favorite news site: DN! w/Amy Goodman.  Wonderful.

  4. pseudonymous in nc says:

    My guess — I’m trying to clarify this — is the jury hung on the one in which he didn’t get a loan (meaning TS Ellis’ criticism about prosecutors focusing on a loan that didn’t go through may have had an effect).

    I think there was a deadlock on the TFSB counts, perhaps because of the defence argument that Calk was going to grant the loan anyway, perhaps because Calk wasn’t charged or called as a witness.

  5. marksb says:

    My favorite bumper sticker in the early 70’s, during protests to withdraw from Vietnam:

    “Nixon’s Father Should Have Withdrawn”

    What a day. We may never had Fitzmas, but this is pretty close.

  6. Peterr says:

    I don’t know who’s paying Lanny Davis today, but I’m pretty sure it’s not Trump:

    Today he [Cohen] stood up and testified under oath that Donald Trump directed him to commit a crime by making payments to two women for the principal purpose of influencing an election. If those payments were a crime for Michael Cohen, then why wouldn’t they be a crime for Donald Trump?


  7. RWood says:

    One thing that surprises me is the absence of the payoff to Shera Bechard. I don’t buy the story that it was Broidy for one minute.

    • Avattoir says:

      So that’s you, me & of course Paul Campos, as well as a anon horde itching for a public evisceration of Trump.

      But Cohen’s plea deal not mentioning it suggests some not-inconsistent reasons. I think we all believe Broidy only resorted to Cohen because Trump insisted on it, and I believe we’re all right in that assumption.

      But Broidy is both experienced in precisely this sort of corruption – he pleaded guilty some years ago to bribing public officials, and the details included Broidy arranging to take on one of the public official’s positons in relation to an affair -and had AFAWK no prior relationship with Cohen. So, whatever Cohen might ‘think’ was really going on, I think it’s not at all unreasonable to allow for neither Broidy nor Trump ever actually TELLING Cohen about all the most sensitive dark parts in that deal. Rather, Cohen would recognize that whatever the story might be, he was being involved to protect Trump, AND being Cohen – incompetent, unimaginative, unskilled & lazy in his hobby law practice – he just took the same David Dennison format off his shelf and applied it.

      But now with Cohen’s pleas, and what I’d suggest is complete openness to a cooperation agreement – of which more below – and with what happened today effectively allowing Avenatti to pursue deposing Trump, AND with the FBI/DoJ now pursuing Broidy over bribery and influence peddling in relation to arms contracts involving Arabian Gulf state cut-outs, there appears to be a virtual cornucopia of promising pathways to exploring fully the shenanigans with the former Playmate Shera B.

      I did find the absence of a cooperation agreement with Cohen surprising, but only very briefly. This plea deal looks like it came together quickly, and that’s NOT what we’re coming to understand about Mueller’s cooperation agreements. Those seem to be individually tailored and involve the OSC intimately. So, I think we can safely surmise that that’s a process that’s currently being worked on.

      • punaise says:

        Avenatti has become rather a self-obsessed blowhard, but he is witty and sharp, with a flair for going for the jugular. Gotta love his tweet to Rudy today:
         “Buckle Up Buttercup. You and your client completely misplayed this… “

      • Tracy says:

        Avattoir, in support of your observations, on MSNBC last night, there was some commentary that the charges/ plea came about pretty suddenly, perhaps even b/c SDNY got fed up w/ Cohen faffing around, said we are going ahead and charging you, and only then Cohen came on board; and that there is perhaps an “understanding” about cooperation moving forward. And Lanny Davis (whose strategy I cannot fathom) was on Maddow shouting: we are open to cooperation (but why shout it and not just do it? I don’t get the strategy…).

        Emily Jane Fox (who I’d consider access reporter for Cohen, thus it is Cohen’s line, to take or leave) said that from her reporting, Cohen only started talking w/ prosecutors last week. But it makes sense b/c didn’t the special master just finish her work? And she reportedly only did not have the password for an encrypted Blackberry, which makes it seem unlikely that Cohen was cooperating at that point already.

        • Peacerme says:

          Here’s my take. Lanny kept repeating certain memes. They are crafting a narrative that Cohen didn’t want a plea deal he just wants to tell truth. He wants to “do the right thing”. ‘Trump told him to do it”. They are working to rehab his reputation. His spokespeople have spent 4 weeks advertising his cooperation. I got the distinct feeling that Cohen was throwing himself at Mueller’s feet.

          I get the feeling that Mueller was letting him dangle by not offering any deal, unless he was willing to add something they didn’t have.  Even now a “deal” is denied. Lanny denies that Cohen would accept a pardon. But he uses it to say, he just wants to do the “right thing.” Voila!! He’s a Scout eagle!!

          If I were Mueller, I would know that Cohen would end up cooperating. He’s made it clear. I might act disinterested and ignore the overture. I might act like I don’t need him. This would force Cohen to have to get Muellers attention. To give up the crown jewel. Mueller might have played it “I’ve got what I need by collection of your records, your voice and his on tape”. It “felt” like the Cohen team was panicked trying to convey they would cooperate. He let him dangle.

          Lanny is working to save his client. He’s making it look as if Cohen:

          1) is cooperating. (Advertising his willingness)

          2) is doing it for his country. (Wants to do the right thing)

          3) finally saw the light. (Helsinki)

          4) is driven by his desire to protect his family.

          5) was just following Trumps orders and requests.

          6) is driven by his strong morals

          Lanny is doing his job.

          • Avattoir says:

            Actually, I’m not too far away from thinking something along the same lines.

            Mueller’s People have standards. One is that you don’t go around airing your and others’ laundry to the press; he’s from NYC himself, so I’m assuming he’s not just being snobbish, but cautious given his familiarity with that swampland.

            Assuming the potential cooperator HAS NOT gone all NY Post-al, Mueller’s People offer a daunting gauntlet. My impression: Gates, tho he stumbled, worked hard to get back on the horse; Flynn stumbled repeatedly & gave off a different vibe: between dangerously unreliable to kook; and Papadopoulous crapped his pants at the first hurdle & never really gained ANY points.

            Thus, among a number of reasons (some others just as important) for Mueller to send Cohen to SDNY is to provide a message that some insider like Lanny Davis could convey: that you’ve REALLY dug yourself an especially deep hole here, Mickey, and we’re gonna have to out-dance Ali in Zaire to even get a shot here.

            So, what more typically would come to the DoJ as a proffer, just to gain any hope at all for Mickey Medallions getting out of the soup he put himself in required some extraordinary gesture, and, FWIW, tho I’ve certainly never been any kind of fan of Lanny, this move might actually turn out brilliant.

      • John Moura says:

        Cooperation vastly improves one’s fate at sentencing, with or without an agreement at the time of the plea.  Cohen can stay out on bail, and greatly reduce his eventual sentence time.  Sentencing can be delayed until cooperation is no longer needed (as with Flynn).  Lanny Davis is doing a good job for a client that will cooperate completely as long as the prosecutors want him.

  8. getouttahere says:

    The accommodation for Democracy Now makes sense. It’s good to have a great headline and a great backup headline. Otherwise another possible headline could be The dick’s dick and pecker, etc.

    And one might add to this: “[c]ontrary to what some of NYT’s hacks say, this doesn’t mean his dick got him in more trouble than he’ll face in the Russian inquiry: just that that will take a bit longer” because the dick’s dick is likely less long than the dick has claimed.

    • Wotadog says:

      Love it “the dick’s dick is likely less long than the dick has claimed” – an new tongue twister for my children. Beats Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.

  9. orionATL says:

    “I’ve restated this headline, replacing “Dick” with “Pecker,” in honor of the National Enquirer’s role and so Democracy Now can show the headline tomorrow when I appear.”

    totally fake news. another media smear. one of my best fuckin friends. vicious!!!


  10. Milton Wiltmellow says:

    More drama, more evidence of this clown president’s corruption, more questions unasked and unresolved (Did Cohen go to Prague or not?), and more malefactors dancing in the shadows — Stone, Prince, Mercer, Kochs, … ).

    I won’t be satisfied until this entire crew of crooks — and their political allies and co-conspirators — appear in court as defendants.

    • Bob Conyers says:

      About time for that pompous, entitled clown. Duncan Jr. is an even more watered down version of Don Jr. Too bad Duncan Sr. won’t be feeling any heat.

    • pseudonymous in nc says:

      Inherited the district from his dad, could have bequeathed it to his son, pissed it all away because of the desire to live it large.

      This is actually one of the shitty consequences of a Congress of millionaires: people who are just plain well-off feel like paupers among their peers, spend their days cajoling rich fuckers to give them money, and end up with campaign accounts that are bulging with zeroes. Not that I feel sorry for Congressman Dudebro or Chris Collins, but the grift feels like a structural problem.

  11. notjonathon says:

    I know that there is disagreement on whether a sitting *resident can be indicted, but I think it is interesting to note that the prosecution in Cohen’s case has revealed an indictable offense that occurred before the election: i.e., when *rump was not yet a public official.

    • Pete says:

      I was hoping for below the Mendoza Line for Manafort even “giving” him “mistrials” as wins.

      But I suppose this ain’t baseball – and let’s hope yesterday was a turn.

      • Avattoir says:

        Yup, as you say, this ain’t baseball.

        Mueller’s People got a win. It was hard fought: Manafort had able trial attorneys who knew what they were doing and did it well, and the judge whistled a hell of lot of stuff in their favor some of which they weren’t even close on.

        But still: a REAL win. Andres et al hung in there & the result is good enough: it works.

        I thought Downing’s words to the press after were really strategically chosen. Not at all sure they were made clear of inviting corruption, but also not sure what choice counsel has in these virtually unprecedented circumstances.

  12. Tracy says:

    Thanks so much for your commentary on this big confluence of events today, Marcy!

    Question for those who know about these things: I just heard Nick Akerman (Watergate and federal prosecutor, who seems to pay more attention to the conspiracy than do others) w/ Ali Velshi on MSNBC, say he believes that there’s no way that Cohen has such a plea agreement w/out a cooperation agreement [w/ Mueller] under seal – what do you think? (Akerman said that they would do this all the time.)

    Also, I hope that we learn why the jury (apparently) seemed to go from 17/ 18 counts w/ consensus to 8/18 counts w/ consensus in a v short time…

    It’s so frustrating to hear the media say that Trump is effusive about Paul Manafort (“it’s so sad; he’s such a good guy”) b/c he’s trying to distance himself; um, pardon dangling??…

    • bmaz says:

      To my eye, Ackerman is a bit hyperbolic and out over his skis. Sure, he does so in favor of “the good guys”, but still seems a bit much. As to whether there is a cooperation agreement with Cohen? Who knows, not me you or mouthy Nick. In some, really almost all, ways it does not matter. If he fully debriefed, he better have been truthful, or that constitutes more crimes; just ask Mr. Van der Zwaan and Mr. Papadopolis. What one says to the Feds matters.

    • Bob Conyers says:

      Regarding the 10 counts without agreement, I think the earlier notice to Ellis about one count being hung was just the optimistic tally of where they stood, and there was still hope for an agreement on the other nine counts.

      My guess, based on no real evidence, is that the jurors overall made a good faith effort and there weren’t any hardcore ideologues, just people putting in serious work to evaluate the best they could. That’s not to say there was no bias or laziness, but I suspect it’s a decent jury all in all.

      • Tracy says:

        Thanks for your comments!

        Re: cooperation, I heard later on MSNBC opinions more like what Avattoir has stated above, i.e. that if Cohen is moving toward cooperating it’s happening w/ an understanding/ expectation rather than something under seal (reportedly, Cohen only just started talking w/ SDNY while SC cooperation agreements take time). But we don’t know, for sure – and there’s a lot of spin!

      • Avattoir says:

        It’s actually typical of notes from the jury. Who all takes classes on How to Write Jury Questions? No one. They’re not lawyers but their wording gets picked apart by lawyers. It’d be maybe better at some level if the trial judge could have a little bit of dialog with the foreperson at least, but there’s room for mischief even in that, and the potential for disaster is the greater.

        • bmaz says:

          Hey now, I have gone to CLE classes on jury instructions! They are absolutely critical to a trial, and not just the closing instructions, but the opening ones too. Always ask the court for their standard opening instructions and seek to modify to your benefit if you can. Even more critical for closing, of course. Not enough people pay attention to instructions.

  13. Ed Walker says:

    I agree with Bob Conyers above that the jury did a workmanlike job. The points Marcy raises as explanations seem plausible. Corporations are confusing to jurors and many laypeople because it isn’t always clear who directed an action.

    • Avattoir says:

      During the trial I posted something about juries on banks: they don’t like ’em. We’ve got history with ’em as a society and culture, almost everyone has been screwed over by a bank and everyone else has family or a friend who’s been bankstered, and the bureaucracy of banking is always about them, only incidentally about the customer, and never with this sort of forum in mind.

      ALL cases involving this kind of bank evidence are like this. The only types of cases where problems don’t arise categorically are bank robberies (fear being easy to convey) and the clearest least sympathetic type of hanky-banky.

        • Tracy says:

          And here I was wondering whether the prosecution was regretting calling Rick Gates… but I am appreciating all the nuances people are raising… Someone also mentioned that Ellis’ causing the jurors to match exhibits w/ testimony was likely a real headache. Ellis didn’t do a favor to prosecutors; but anyway, there was a lot more going on than just Gates (which media is trying to paint as the weak link).

          I wonder if anyone caught Fox News last night to see: what was the spin, and were they vilifying Gates, since he’ll come up again…?

  14. Trip says:

    Interesting idea that Stanley Cohen brought up:
    Stanley Cohen@StanleyCohenLaw
    Replying to @EsqMontgomery

    And as you know the coconspirator exception to the hearsay rule kicks in and all statements made by either in furtherance of any of their conspiracies can now come in either in court and certainly Congress.

    Co-conspirator exception – Legal Definition
    An exception to the hearsay rule that allows the acts and statements of one conspirator, as long as they were done or said during or in furtherance of the conspiracy, to be admitted into evidence at the trial of another conspirator, even if done or said in the defendant’s absence. In federal court and in some states, the act or statement is admissible even if done or said after the conspirators were arrested and in custody.

    Comment bmaz?

      • Trip says:

        I would think based on the description above that it would apply to conversations after the raid, Including any phone calls “to stay strong”, hints of pardons and whatnot from Trump, even if NOT recorded.

        • Avattoir says:

          What you’re describing is more in the category of Admissions Against Interest, e.g. confessions.

          What the others preceding you in this sub-thread are driving toward is the so-called Co-Conspirator’s Except to the Rule Against the Admission of Hearsay.

          I raised this way back when fearless leader first came out with her theory/reveal that Big Bobby ThreeSticks was aiming his biggest sticks at ConFraudUS.

          It’s not at all easy to discuss this constructively in the abstract. But the general assumption is Big Bobby 3Sticks knows a lot more than we do and HAS a lot more ammo than we can even guess at, because, AOT, we’ve got the NSA and he’s got clearance to its storage bins.

          It does seem likely to come up at some point, tho right now all we can do is guess at the context (indictment of Junior and “Individual-Junior’s Pop-1”? assuming the big game huntin’-happy little twerp is stupid enough to go to trial).

  15. Frank Probst says:

    Has anyone seen any mention of an interview with any of the jurors?  I’m surprised none of them has talked to the media yet.

    • Chuffy says:

      Heard on the radio that a) the jurors asked to remain anonymous and b) the judge advised them to maintain anonymity.

      • HMT says:

        ^^ It was stated on either CBC or NPR (don’t recall what station I was listening too) that the justification for anonymity was due to death threats already being levied at the jurors.

        • Tracy says:

          That’s for the best, if the judge – et al – were getting death threats – can you imagine? There are some demented MAGA fanatics out there…!!!

          Honestly, I hope some good psychologists are researching whether MAGA is a cult, w/ Trump their leader; there are similarities.

          And I have to wonder, what’s the difference between recruiting terrorists, inculcating them with hate speech and inciting them to kill people, and Trump’s stoking of violence at his rallies, the gunning down of reporters at the Gazette, the terrorizing of counter-protestors and killing of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville?

          Trump’s rhetoric is at the heart of this, and if he were black or brown, saying the same things, sadly it would be viewed much differently.

      • SpaceLifeForm says:

        That is true.

        Ellis receiving death threats is one thing.

        However, if one or more jurors did, not good.

        This is why I said jurors should not use their cellphones even close to courthouse. Do not use within miles of courthouse. Make it appear never there.

  16. pseudonymous in nc says:

    So, a retrial? Part of me wants whoever’s paying Paulie’s legal bills to have to dig deep, but the DC trial is more important. For that, there’s the question of how to handle Gates, who Paulie’s lawyers clearly consider one of the weaker links in the prosecution chain as long as Paulie himself doesn’t have to take the stand.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Gates may have taken a hit as a witness, but I think the MSM’s focus on him avoids making a more thorough critique of a sitting federal judge.

      Ellis’s excesses made it harder for the jury to match exhibit with testimony and crime.  In an eighteen-count indictment involving financial crimes, reams of documents, and testimony from a co-conspirator turned snitch, that was a pro-defense position.

      Among other issues is possible jury fatigue.  There is, too, the unknown influence of Trump’s constant meddling in an attempt to influence the outcome.  In many countries, that would have been shockingly illegal conduct.

  17. pdaly says:

    Cohen, Manafort, “person-1” and Hunter all making it into news of illegal activity today?

    Swish! Swish! And into the dustbin of history (one hopes). I think we’re going to need a bigger bucket.

    • Peterr says:

      How much would you pay for that? Don’t answer yet . . .

      Take it away, Roll Call:

      The White House last week likely unknowingly put itself in a difficult predicament by firing a speechwriter who spoke on a panel in 2016 with a publisher of white nationalist views.

      On Tuesday evening, The Washington Post reported that President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser hosted that same publisher at his home the day after the speechwriter was fired.

      Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, admitted to the Post that Peter Brimelow attended his birthday gathering Saturday at his Connecticut home and that he’s been coming to his dinner parties there for years.

      Brimelow, a former writer for Dow Jones and National Review who lives in Connecticut, founded the anti-immigration website in 1999. The platform features writings promoting white nationalist views. . . .

  18. Kevin says:

    Seems significant that AMI was involved in both payoffs. I don’t think we knew that Cohen originally heard about Stormy from AMI. Makes me wonder if someone there who didn’t like what was going on ultimately sourced the WSJ, who broke both stories.

      • Tracy says:

        Does anyone have an opinion on why Davis is taking this to the airwaves rather than taking all of this tantalizing info to the SC directly?

        • Trip says:

          He’s the Cohen version of Giuliani. A TV talking head PR machine.

          Guy Petrillo is his real lawyer, and Petrillo used to be charge of the criminal division in SDNY.

          • bmaz says:

            I’ll say this about Davis, he is a lot smarter and more measured than Rudy.Whatever it is he is doing, you can bet it is in coordination with Petrillo.

            • Trip says:

              I didn’t intend to make an absolute equivalency. Apologies, and yes, of course you are correct.
              But I will add that saying someone is greater than Giuliani is faint praise. They aren’t in the same league. Giuliani is, shall we say, in a league of his own (Pee Wee).

  19. Mommibrain says:

    Bmaz, I’ve heard others opine that Ellis, by being such a martinet to the prosecution, has bullet-proofed the trial, offering the lack of immediate appeal talk as evidence. Not that he isn’t always a bit, er, difficult in court, and not that he didn’t go a bit overboard this trial, he is and he did, but the net effect…bullet-proof.

  20. Skilly says:

    So I am eager to start an informal poll on which of the trump “roaches” will start the frenzy of those trying to scurry away from Trump as quickly as possible. My hunch is Mattis and Kelly will be not be leaving so they can stop a complete melt down. At least that is my hope. My guess is the congress critters will start dropping reference to him in commercials within a week. I can imagine a flurry of Junior staffers and interns working on resumes tonight. thoughts?

  21. LowdenF23c says:

    On NPR this morning, Lanny Davis stated that his client, Michael Cohen, has authorized him say that “under no circumstances would he accept a pardon” from the President.  Whether true or posturing, that’s got to send a bit of a shiver through the White House.

    • Tracy says:

      Really???… The spin from this team, I do not know what’s going on…

      And maybe that is the whole point…

    • Trip says:

      It makes you wonder if one was dangled during the Cohen smokin’ cigars on the roof with the gang time period. He was kinda cocky (and disrespectful) not showing up for court, at that juncture.

      Of course from what I hear about Lanny…who knows where truth lies?

      • SteveB says:

        It occurs to me that the absence of a cooperation agreement with Cohen makes it more difficult to pardon him : there is no specification by the Government of the ambit of criminal conduct covered by a putative deal, thus it is , at least for the present, impossible for Trump to know how to effectively deploy any pardon regarding Cohen, and consequently effectively pardon dangle as a means of obstructing the investigation(s) into him.

        That assumes of course that Cohen has useful information etc to divulge concerning others of interest. What he knows and can help prove re relations between the Campaign and Russia, and/or eg money laundering have been matters speculated about, albeit guardedly since Cohen being hived off to SDNY has been taken as an indication he is not seen as useful to the core Mueller investigation. However, the clear incrimination of Trump (and others) is a remarkable feature of the SDNY case.

        But should he have useful stuff to give up,  Cohen’s best hope of minimising jail time maybe to put himself in a position of perpetual cooperator, in the hope (but without a formalized expectation) that his utility to the government will outweigh the liability to punishment his further confessions. That seems a very risky course for Cohen.

        I wonder whether it is possible or even ethical for there to have been a tacit understanding between Cohen’s lawyers and the Government short of a formal plea agreement; Trumps pardon dangling seems to have had some effect on the investigation :see PapaD and Manaf, and possibly Flynn; thus an arrangement which made a pardon dangle less effective might be attractive to the Government.

        • Trip says:

          It occurs to me now, revisiting Felix Sater and his lack of real hard time; could Cohen have agreed to, and now be under, deep cover? I don’t recall reading anything about Sater signing any kind of (public) formal agreement (from articles), but the gov’t showed him enormous mercy at sentencing for working with the intelligence alphabet soup. He certainly could have a lot to say about the Ukraine/Russian peace proposal, the object being eliminating Russian sanctions. Unless, due to his history of association with Russian mob-type figures, he is a prime target himself.

          However, yesterday I revisited his illustrious career history, via an older ProPublica article, and he was quite literally Slippin’ Jimmy, down to the crappy office, chasing ambulances and skating while others got caught up in insurance fraud (staging accidents as well as the doctor business inflating treatment costs for insurance claims). Ingratiating himself with Trump, after buying some Tower Condos, he fancied himself as Saul, getting payment from the real crime syndicate. It almost makes me feel sorry for him as a bit of a pathetic character.

          • SteveB says:

            Bit dubious about Cohen being under deep cover TBH. Sater OTOH has a long history of playing on both sides of the fence : I recall an article about him (forget by whom or when) which painted him in heroic terms as an undercover asset for US Govt.

            Perhaps Cohen is simply trying in his own inept way to be a Sater redux.

        • SteveB says:


          Also raise the question of a tacit understanding.

          ”  Receiving directions from Trump was not an element of any of the crimes to which Cohen confessed. In effect, Cohen went out of his way to confess to a conspiracy involving Trump that had not been charged.

          It is unclear why Cohen pointed the finger at Trump. Was Cohen acting in accordance with an as yet unknown understanding with prosecutors by providing damaging evidence against the President? Or was he simply adding details to the story on his own?”

          But their reporting takes them in a different direction : quoting a source from the campaign and Trump circle

          ““In my conversations with several people inside the White House and outside, there’s confusion about this Michael Cohen thing,” the source said. “If he made this statement in court, does he have evidence supporting it? And if he does have evidence, why couldn’t he get a deal?”

          And concluding the article  quoting the same source who opined Trump would still countenance a pardon to Manafort, but also asserted that Cohen releasing the “tape” blew any chance he had of a pardon.

          • Trip says:

            It’s all absurd, when you think about it, since I believe Giuliani brought up the tape in the first place.

            • SteveB says:

              He did indeed. But that was to get ahead of the fact the government were going to get it.

              Cohen’s “real crime” in Trump’s eyes was making the recordings in the first place, whether as “insurance” ( or mutually assured destruction kompromat) or otherwise.

              Releasing the tape simply compounded Cohen’s crime from their pov.

  22. Tracy says:

    Marcy, thanks again, and I must say, you’ve piqued my interest on

    -timing of Flynn sentencing

    -who is paying Paul Manafort’s lawyer fees

    And I do really wonder if Manafort is more open to cooperation now that his legal peril just got a whole lot more real, w/ state charges that could still nail him, w/ fear of Trump’s self-servingness – w/ maybe all his legal fees piling up? (depending on who’s paying – who are these “friends” who set up a funding page for him?)…

    Barbara McQuaid, on Rachel’s show, was saying: Manafort’s team has got to be saying to him: if you are going to cooperate, this is the time – this is it! So it’s an interesting time…

  23. Jon b says:

    to the lawyers here

    could the fact that Cohen does not have an actual cooperation agreement be seen as a message to a now guilty Manafort that there is still an open door to his becoming a cooperating witness.  Will the OSC now say to Paulie that its inevitable that the Don is going down and his opportunity to get off a sinking ship is NOW.  Or do I watch to much law and order?

  24. Trip says:

    Attorney Lanny Davis reveals why Michael Cohen turned on Trump: ‘Helsinki was a significant turning point’

    Lanny is layin’ on the patriotic shtick a little thick.

    We didn’t forget about this:

    A week before Michael T. Flynn resigned as national security adviser, a sealed proposal was hand-delivered to his office, outlining a way for President Trump to lift sanctions against Russia…Mr. Flynn is gone, having been caught lying about his own discussion of sanctions with the Russian ambassador. But the proposal, a peace plan for Ukraine and Russia, remains, along with those pushing it: Michael D. Cohen, the president’s personal lawyer, who delivered the document; Felix H. Sater, a business associate who helped Mr. Trump scout deals in Russia; and a Ukrainian lawmaker trying to rise in a political opposition movement shaped in part by Mr. Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

  25. Bay State Librul says:

    Old Charlie Pierce is “on the money” with this sweet summary

    “…. though, it is now plain that the Trump campaign in 2016 was merely a vehicle for various grifters and opportunists to get rich. I still believe none of these people had the foggiest notion that Trump would become president*. But if your primary goal in life is to grab enough loot from enough places, a political campaign is a nice fat turkey to be sliced up. So I think they all had their own agendas, including the president*, and all of them were sort of in business for themselves, but under the Trump flag, as the Gambinos used to put it. Most of them had been working in a corrupt business enterprise for decades before it turned itself into a political campaign and then a presidency*.

    Then, my god, he gets elected. Who’s stupid fcking idea was that? He’s president*, and we’re all in trouble now.

    It is a corrupt enterprise, both the campaign and the administration*. In any other circumstances, an ambitious prosecutor—like, say, the young Rudolph Giuliani—could make a RICO case against these guys in his sleep. And, suddenly, all the bills are coming due, all the fiddlers and pipers are at the gates, demanding to be paid, and there isn’t a roost anywhere that isn’t filled with chickens.”  Charlie Pierce 8/21/18

    • Trip says:

      That’s true. But it leaves out the bigger drivers like the Kochs, Mercers, Netanyahu, Kissinger, Putin, etc, etc, up the chain. These smaller time grifters were their vehicles.

    • Tracy says:

      I’ve also heard Tim O’Brien (TrumpNation biographer) stating that Trump’s campaign was filled with grifters b/c none of them thought he’d win and wanted to use the campaign for their own self interest; then when he did win, many of these same actors followed him into the WH for the greater opportunities for self-advancement.

      O’Brien states that this is why you do not see people interested in public service in the WH, why they don’t act like public servants and have no real policy ideas or agenda.

      It’s all so transparent, this level of corruption.

  26. Trip says:

    OT, maybe not…
    @Bob Conyers (I think) mentioned The Three Stooges the other day, and this sent me down the rabbit hole. The following is brilliant, only about 18 minutes long, and it almost perfectly encapsulates our current times, especially the Rally skit, enjoy:

    You Nazty Spy 1940

  27. Valley girl says:

    Totally OT- I hope I don’t get kicked out for this comment.  But reading all this trial stuff suddenly reminded me of a great movie- Witness for the Prosecution.  Directed by Billy Wilder, but very Hitchcockian.   Actually better than some of Hitch’s movies.

    I do wish that every so often EW (the site) would have a totally OT thread, for fun and entertainment as an antidote to our present woes.

  28. Gamboler says:

    Non-attorney’s questions:

    What is the likely timeline for Mueller to decide whether to submit a new indictment the other 10 counts?

    Could a Trump pardon cover these counts even if they are yet to be resubmitted?

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      A global pardon would cover all federal crimes committed up to the date of the pardon.  A more narrowly tailored pardon would cover fewer circumstances.

      Normally, pardons follow a formal review process.  Trump does what he likes, without regard to process or precedent, except that he always acts to protect himself or to further his own interests.

      A president could also commute a sentence, meaning that the defendant would not have to serve it.  Bush did that for Scooter Libby.  A president could not pardon or commute sentences for state crimes, but most state governors can.

    • bmaz says:

      Yes, what Earl said, and I think I read somewhere that Mueller will decide whether to retry on the ten counts that hanged by August 29.

  29. cwradio says:

    It astonishes me that Trump and Cohen would do something as stupid as paying off a sexual accuser to preserve his aura of good moral behavior before the election. Bill Clinton has already proven that it doesn’t matter how many extra-marital affairs a presidential candidate has, as long as he doesn’t subsequently soil the Oval Office with Bubba Juice.

    And after Pussygate had no negative effect on Trump’s evangelical base (who apparently don’t care what kind of immoral crud occupies the nation’s highest office, as long as he supports banning abortion and has the proper fealty to the “Holy Land”), why did they do something as stupid as try to shut up someone who calls herself “Stormy”?

    I guess gangsters just can’t help being gangsters.

    • Trip says:

      If it was constant, like the drip drip drip that happened to H.Clinton, it may have had an impact on the conservative educated suburban women voters (who have turned on him now). The cult will never GAF what he does, he’s their lord and savior in hate. The radical religious right doesn’t care either as long as they get someone to legislate against abortion, the LGBT community, minorities and women’s rights, in general.

      • Rayne says:

        That drip-drip-drip didn’t happen in full sight of the public; much of it happened in social media via micro-targeting. We can’t see whether entities are sharing counter-programmed micro-targeted content aimed at “conservative educated suburban women voters.” We can’t trust them even if they aren’t receiving counter-programmed content because most of them are racists and misogynists due to internalized oppression. I wouldn’t assume “conservative educated suburban women voters” have flipped on him.

        • Trip says:

          You could be right, but your point was a tangent from mine; examining present day trends.

          The reason that Cohen and Trump paid off the women was to stop it/them from impacting polling negatively, right before the election. The “pussy grabbing tape” was gaining momentum, and whether or not it was a facade, at that point, even Republicans had to speak out against it. A piling on of more negative stories in MSM might have deflected from the Wikileaks drop to some extent. After the tape, there was basically radio silence on negativity about Trump and a barrage on Clinton. Cohen and Trump insured that no voters and/or the electoral college would hear about it. Erasing bad news certainly impacts voter sentiment. If it didn’t, Trump wouldn’t be calling news articles “Fake News”.

          • Trip says:

            Too late to edit and I forgot to add: it was not just conservative or swing voters who helped squeak Trump to victory. It was also people who were so disaffected that they didn’t vote at all. Sometimes outrage or disgust motivates people to vote AGAINST a candidate.

          • Rayne says:

            I simply don’t think the women who voted for him give a shit about his cheating. Hello, three wives? Already well-publicized cheating on the first two as well as Ivana’s tell-all book post-divorce? They already had his number when it came to women and they just don’t respect themselves enough to give a shit. It’s called ‘internalized oppression’.

            The reason white women voted for him was primarily racism, after more than eight years of hammering about a black man assuming the presidency and more than a decade of Islamaphobic war-on-terror agitprop combined with fear of job loss to immigrants.

            It also didn’t help that NBC’s Zucker and reality TV carnie Mark Burnett sanitized and normalized this mobbed-up capo in an orange fright wig for mainstream consumption over +13 years. He can’t be that bad if Jack Welch’s NBC would bet on the gold-toileted monster, right? ~shudder~

            As for “If it didn’t, Trump wouldn’t be calling news articles “Fake News”.” — it’s inoculation against anticipated bad news.

            • Trip says:

              As for “If it didn’t, Trump wouldn’t be calling news articles “Fake News”.” — it’s inoculation against anticipated bad news.

              I don’t see the difference, Rayne. You appear to be in agreement with the statement I excerpted.

              And Regardless of the suburban conservative women’s reasons for selecting Trump, questions and airtime would have been devoted to the stories on the heels of the tape, which is what Cohen/Trump tried to avoid. This left Wikileaks in the spotlight, with no competition.

              • Rayne says:

                Mm-hmm. Right. Talking some more about problematic women would break through months of “But her emails!” and Comey’s last minute wretchedness while Russians were pumping social media full of micro-targeted BROWN PEOPLE ARE COMING, [PERSON’S REAL NAME]! BE AFRAID! SCARY OLD WHITE WOMAN PRESIDENT, [PERSON’S REAL NAME]! BE VERY AFRAID!

                It had already worked in UK for Brexit, the ultimate proof-of-concept substituting SCARY OLD EUROPEAN UNION for SCARY OLD WHITE WOMAN. ~smh~

                EDIT: Meant to add I don’t think we know yet what’s in Trump’s pre-nup with Melania. He’s alleged to have threatened to deport her if she leaves him — something he could only do once he was president. I don’t think we should forget there is one white woman who does have some limited power over Trump who could have changed things had she come out in October 2016 and told the press her husband was a cheating sonofabitch and she was leaving him and taking Barron with her. Now **THAT** would have changed the election. Unfortunately she’s stuck with the asshole and his abuse.

                • Trip says:

                  Yeah, in that sense if the Daniels and McDougal scandals would have happened before he won (or IF he won) the presidency, the press wouldn’t have treated Melania so gingerly (not a first lady, but only a candidate’s wife) like they do now. That figured into my equation. Maybe that shit might have been too much of a glaring spotlight for her since she wasn’t in hiding back then. It’s amazing that no one even tries to get a comment now. I mean, Cohen just pleaded guilty to paying off these women, with her husband. Is that being “best”, FFS? I thought the parents getting citizenship was probably part of the Faustian bargain to stay. NYC rumors had her in an affair with some security dude from Tiffany before she became flotus.

    • Avattoir says:

      I think you’re prob’ly right, and that Trump would agree.

      IMO it’s more than possible Mikey C. was eager to please Spike T. (Loony Tunes ref.), that really only Mikey was in anxiety meltdown at the time – remember, Mikey – like Manafort undoubtedly like many others within MAGA world – was unpaid & badly over-extended financially by fall 2016, such that there was actually a growing proportion of the Trump 2016 campaign support community for whom winning in November – an absurdity per conventional wisdom – was looking like a necessity.

      I think my little theory-ette here fits hand in wherever with the dialog Trump had with an informal press gaggle on Preznit 1, when T said ‘I dunno nuthin’, youse gotta axe Mickey Medallions‘ (paraphrase), and with the facts that

      a. Mikey chose not just a needless but needlessly exposed route to raising the capital quickly, and

      b. Mikey remained un-repaid for quite a while, prolly ’til Allen Weisselberg could get around to the payable (including how to bury treat it within one or another set of  Trump World’s books).

      IMO the subtext in Trump to Prez-1 press gaggle was more,

      You listened to me on those Howard Stern shows, you know I’m a baaad boy and it’s part my brand and figure I’d actually be complimenting any of you ladies here if I schtupped you (don’t get excited,  at most you top out at 5.8 & if Melania’s not right here I beat that in under 4 minutes). Also Mikey’s my firewall here and knows it, so good luck with that.

  30. Manqueman says:

    I read these posts backwards from new to old.

    So when I started to read the headline, I initially thought David Pecker/AMI. Wrong pecker! It happens!

  31. Greenhouse says:

    Lanny Davis sets up “Michael Cohen Truth Fund” GoFundMe smells more like “Pay me! Money today, Today, TODAY!!!👺

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