Michael Cohen may want to rethink being Trump’s martyr (Opinion)

Legal professionals usually pay a type of “hush cash” usually referred to as “settlement proceeds” to resolve authorized disputes. The “hush” a part of the transaction is assured by confidentiality and nondisclosure agreements, sealing the lips of all events to the transaction. Such agreements are significantly widespread when high-profile company executives and politicians are accused of sexual harassment, sexual abuse or other forms of embarrassing conduct (like adultery with a porn star, as an example).

What’s uncommon right here is that the beneficiary of Stormy Daniels’ $130,000 confidentiality settlement shouldn’t be Mr. Cohen, the person footing the invoice, however Donald Trump. Since assuming the position of “private counsel,” Cohen has been described as one among Trump’s “pit bulls” — the results of his tendency to threaten and file lawsuits each time he, the Trump Group or Mr. Trump himself are critically attacked or maligned.

However why would Cohen use his personal private funds to make such an unlimited cost? Is that this a quest to grow to be a type of political sugar daddy to Trump, a relationship akin to Bebe Rebozo’s with Richard Nixon?
Given the truth that the tabloid press had been buzzing with rumors that Melania Trump, pregnant together with her first Trump youngster on the time of the alleged Stormy liaison, had imposed what Bruce Springsteen would possibly refer to as a “Tenth Avenue Freezeout” on the President, Mr. Cohen’s Valentine’s Day timing in disclosing his position right here was impeccable. Along with his customary bravado, he continued: “The cost to Ms. Clifford was lawful, and was not a marketing campaign contribution or a marketing campaign expenditure by anybody.”
Additional characterizing his $130,000 cost, first reported by the New York Occasions, as a “personal matter,” Mr. Cohen notes within the interview that he has additionally offered this info to the Federal Election Fee — which is investigating a criticism filed by Frequent Trigger, alleging that the cost of hush cash to Ms. Clifford was actually an unlawful and unreported marketing campaign contribution.

The wording of the implausible story Cohen provided in his assertion leaves him a few escape hatches from the sticky state of affairs of being the uncompensated cash man. Denying reimbursement from the “Trump Group” or the “Trump marketing campaign” nonetheless leaves open the potential for reimbursement, now or sooner or later, from President Trump personally or from Trump’s household, buddies or supporters.

Ought to these different types of reimbursement happen, this might create a authorized drawback for Cohen — if he informed federal investigators that no such promise of recompense had been made. Assuming, for the time being, that the Cohen cost to Ms. Clifford was completely private, made gratuitously in honor of his idol Mr. Trump, then the cost might be completely authorized.

Mendacity to federal investigators, nonetheless, may lead to severe prison costs underneath federal legislation, equivalent to making false statements and even perjury. However, mendacity to the press shouldn’t be solely completely authorized, however currently has risen to an artwork type in American presidential politics. The John Edwards case established the precedent that private items and funds motivated by friendship quite than an try to guarantee a candidate’s election needn’t be reported.

Edwards, whereas a presidential candidate with a pregnant mistress, was given cash by “buddies” to secretly help and home her. Edwards was indicted for failing to report election contributions and on different associated costs, however acquitted at trial. He used the “buddies” quite than political supporters protection. Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey extra lately acquired a hung jury and finally a dismissal of the prison costs in opposition to him utilizing an analogous protection in a bribery case. If confronted with authorized motion, it is fairly believable that Cohen will declare his contribution to the Stormy Daniels “silence is golden” fund was motivated by friendship quite than politics.

If Cohen needs to remodel himself from pit bull to sugar daddy, the legislation will allow it, technically talking. He ought to bear in mind, although, that even the generosity of Bebe Rebozo by no means saved Richard Nixon from resignation and shame. And John Edwards’ presidential marketing campaign crashed and burned. Cohen’s buy of Stormy Daniels’ silence won’t erase the general public’s already ingrained notion of the President’s alleged liaison together with her. Hush cash can buy silence however, no matter who pays it, it doesn’t erase anybody’s reminiscence.

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