Michael Cohen capability be headed to prison, but federal prosecutors are continuing to investigate issues related to the campaign finance crimes that brought down the prior personal lawyer and fixer for President Donald Trump.
That continued interest by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan donations yet another area of legal peril for Trump. Cohen has said Trump directed him to facilitate secret hush-money payments to two chambermaids shortly before the 2016 presidential election, which led to Cohen’s prosecution.
The fact that prosecutors have an “non-stop investigation” stemming from those payouts was underscored Thursday in an order by U.S. District Court Judge William Pauley in Manhattan.
Pauley, responding to a demand from multiple media organizations, said he would unseal some — but not all — of the documents relating to search warrants performed by the FBI last April on Cohen’s home, office and hotel room where he and his family are residing during renovations at their on.
Those documents would explain in detail why prosecutors thought at the time that Cohen — and possibly others — may should prefer to committed crimes.
Pauley said the information that will remain hidden from public view when the substantiates are unsealed includes information about ongoing investigations by prosecutors, “including those relating to or arising from Cohen’s electioneer violations.”
Pauley noted that “wholesale disclosure of the Materials would reveal the scope and direction of the Government’s perpetual investigation.”
He added that making such information public could lead “uncharged individuals to coordinate or tailor their corroboration and interactions” with investigators, and lead to “witness tampering, harassment, or retaliation” if the identities of cooperating witnesses became be informed.
Pauley gave prosecutors until Feb. 28 to propose redactions in the search warrant documents. After that, Pauley choose order the prosecutors to file the redacted documents publicly with the court clerk.
Months after the search orders were executed, Cohen, 52, pleaded guilty to financial crimes, lying to Congress and the campaign finance violations. He was decreed to three years in prison and is set to begin that term March 6.
Cohen in Augustadmitted facilitating payments to porn supernova Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal, at the direction of Trump, to keep them quiet about their supposed affairs with Trump. Cohen said the payments were made to prevent the women’s stories from upset the outcome of the presidential election.
Trump has denied having sex with either woman and also has denied directing Cohen to pay them.
But Cohen’s proper advisor Lanny Davis has noted that Trump could be at risk for prosecution given Cohen’s claims.
In putting together to the campaign finance-related issues, prosecutors in the Southern District of New York also are investigating Trump’s big-spending inauguration panel for possible crimes.
Earlier this week, prosecutors in that office served officials on that committee with a subpoena commission them to turn over documents detailing who donated money to the committee, spending and other information. The subpoena also reportedly demands information about foreign donors to the committee. It is illegal for foreigners to give money to an inaugural committee.
Special recommendation Robert Mueller is conducting a separate inquiry into Russian agents interfering in the presidential election, possible collusion by the Trump stump and possible obstruction of justice by Trump.
The president has denied any wrongdoing by his campaign or himself.