Michael Cohen interviewed by NY prosecutors in hush money probe: report

Michael Cohen interviewed by NY prosecutors in hush money probe: report
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The New York district attorney’s prosecutors interviewed Michael CohenMichael Dean CohenDOJ releases hundreds of pages of memos from Mueller probe Scaramucci visits Cohen in prison US Supreme Court readies for Trump MORE, President TrumpDonald John TrumpThis week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry Impeachment week: Trump probe hits crucial point Judd Gregg: The big, big and bigger problem MORE’s former personal attorney, in recent weeks as part of a probe into how the Trump Organization handled hush money payments to women with whom Trump allegedly had affairs. 

People familiar with the matter told CNN that officials from the district attorney's office, led by Cyrus Vance, spoke with Cohen at the federal prison in Otisville, N.Y., where he is serving a three-year sentence for campaign finance violations, among other things.

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The president has denied having affairs with the women.

The district attorney opened the investigation last month and sent subpoenas to the Trump Organization and American Media Inc. seeking documents and records over payments made to Stormy Daniels as well as Karen McDougal during the 2016 presidential campaign. 

The probe is focused on whether Trump’s business violated New York state law by falsifying its records describing reimbursements to Cohen for the payments.

Vance’s office declined to comment when reached by The Hill.

The Trump Organization in the past has panned the inquiry as a “political hit job” meant to harass Trump and his family. 

Prosecutors interviewed Cohen soon after they opened their investigation, one of the people familiar with the matter told CNN.

Cohen pleaded guilty last year to lying to Congress about talks to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. He also pleaded guilty to paying $130,000 to Daniels to prevent her from publicizing her allegation before the election.

American Media Inc., the publisher of the National Enquirer that admitted to paying McDougal $150,000 in coordination with Cohen, signed a nonprosecution agreement with federal prosecutors.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, which closed its own investigation in July, alleged that the Trump Organization paid Cohen $420,000 to reimburse him for the $130,000 hush money payment to Daniels, boosting the total to include taxes and a bonus.

The company said the fees were legal expenses, though prosecutors alleged Cohen did no legal work for the business in 2017. The Trump Organization was ultimately not charged with any wrongdoing. 

Cohen said he made the payments at Trump’s behest.