Trump/Cohen Tape Emerges
Trumps lawyer Rudy Giuliani confirmed the existence of a recording between Donald Trump and his former lawyer Michael Cohen reported by the Wallstreet Journal to be about buying the rights to Karen McDougal’s story.
McDougal had previously sold the rights to the story to The National Enquirer for $150,000, though their parent company American Media passed on allowing publication. The chairman if American Media, David Pecker, is a friend of Trumps.
The recording was discovered after an FBI raid on Cohens office, home, and apartment, following a referral by Robert Mueller.
Rudy Giuliani confirmed the existence of the tape to the New York times, declining attorney/client privelage but claims that it shows the president did nothing wrong.
The President took to twitter stating that it was “Inconceivable that a lawyer would tape a client” and questioned the legality of it.
Cohen had been secretly recording telephone calls with his clients, and in most states the doing of such only requires single party consent to do.
The tape posses a legal risk to Trump, as if the payment was made with the political purpose of concealing the information before the election, federal campaign finance laws would have required that the information become publlic knowledge.
Such cases are difficult to prosecute, as seen in the 2011 indictment of John Edwards over payments to mistress Rielle Hunter. While he was charged with violating finance laws by having friends pay Hunter to keep the story quiet during the 2008 election.
His lawyers successfully argued that the payments were made by Edwards friends to hide the affair from his wife, which lead to him being acquitted.