IRS analyst charged with leaking Cohen's financial records to Avenatti

The Justice Department on Thursday announced charges against an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) analyst for illegally disclosing financial reports related to President TrumpDonald John TrumpJulián Castro: It's time for House Democrats to 'do something' about Trump Warren: Congress is 'complicit' with Trump 'by failing to act' Sanders to join teachers, auto workers striking in Midwest MORE's former attorney, Michael Cohen.

John C. Fry, 54, was charged with unlawful disclosure of Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs), the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of California said in a news release.

Fry allegedly provided the documents to Michael Avenatti, the attorney representing Stormy Daniels in her lawsuit against Trump and Cohen.

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Prosecutors said Fry, who worked in San Francisco as an investigative analyst for the IRS’s law enforcement arm, logged on to his work computer in May 2018 and conducted searches for records related to Cohen. According to the complaint, Fry downloaded five SARs, including one related to a bank account for Essential Consultants LLC. Fry then allegedly contact Avenatti with the information.

Days later, Avenatti shared on Twitter that Cohen had set up a shell company where he received money from AT&T, Swiss drug company Novartis and an American company linked to a Russian oligarch with ties to the Kremlin.

Cohen's shell company, Essential Consultants, was then used to pay $130,000 to Daniels as part of a nondisclosure agreement related to an affair she alleges to have had with Trump.

That information was later published in multiple news outlets.

Fry faces up to five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 if convicted, prosecutors said.

Cohen was sentenced last December to three years prison on charges of bank fraud, tax fraud and campaign finance violations, as well as a charge of lying to Congress about plans for a Trump Tower in Moscow.

A judge earlier this month dismissed Daniels' defamation lawsuit against Cohen, something Avenatti had requested.