Michael Cohen tape leak could complicate his legal troubles

Michael Cohen and Donald Trump

At least 12 audio files have been handed to the U.S. government as part of the cache of material seized from Donald Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen, according to a new court filing.

The context matters. Cohen's attorney, Lanny Davis who provided the tape to CNN, stressed repeatedly that Mr. Trump said "cash".

Will told O'Donnell that this first tape, in which Trump and Cohen discuss a payment to former Playboy model Karen McDougal, is just "redundant evidence" that Trump is "a seedy man whose incontinent sexual appetites get him into trouble with seedy women".

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In the conversation, recorded in September 2016 at Trump Tower in New York, Cohen discusses setting up a company to make a payment apparently involving David Pecker, chief executive of American Media Inc (AMI) and a close friend of Trump's. Giuliani, a former federal prosecutor, said the other 11 recordings are of Cohen discussing Trump with other, unnamed individuals.

Davis said the tape is among audio recordings that were seized by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in a raid of Cohen's home and office in April. Investigators are looking into whether Cohen violated campaign-finance laws, engaged in illegal lobbying or committed bank fraud or wire fraud.

The White House has consistently said Trump denied both affairs. He says Trump actually says, "Don't pay with cash", showing Trump was not trying to hide the potential payment to a media company to keep model Karen McDougal's story from becoming public. Davis and Giuliani did not respond to a request for further comment.

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Still, an extended trade dispute that lingers into the fall harvest - and elections - holds the potential to shake that support. The financial relief would not authorize any new money and thus not need approval from Congress, the New York Times reported.


Cohen's attorney has said he released the tape after being subjected to an "intense campaign of disparagement" by the president's team. "It's about truth", Davis said on "Good Morning America" on Wednesday. During the office's 2014 investigation of a NY state anti-corruption commission, the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption, for example, Petrillo was angered with prosecutors after a newspaper story disclosed that his client in that probe was to be interviewed by federal investigators, according to people familiar with the matter. Ms McDougal sold her story to the National Enquirer, which never published it.

The discussion relates to whether Trump should buy the rights of the story from American Media, which paid McDougal $150,000 in August 2016 for her story about an alleged 10 month affair with Trump.

"I need to open up a company for the transfer of all that info regarding our friend David", Cohen says.

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Trump asks for more information and Cohen tells him, "We'll have to pay".

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