Former Trump lawyer Cohen discussing plea deal with U.S. prosecutors: source

Former Trump lawyer Cohen discussing plea deal with U.S. prosecutors: source

By Brendan Pierson

(Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, who has been under investigation for possible bank and tax fraud, is discussing a possible guilty plea with federal prosecutors, a source said.

NBC News said Cohen, 51, has not reached a plea agreement, but one could be reached as early as Tuesday, NBC News said. CNN said the proposed deal did not include a pledge to cooperate with authorities.

Lanny Davis, a lawyer for Cohen, declined to comment. Cohen and another of his lawyers, Guy Petrillo, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The probe is being led by the office of U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman in Manhattan. A spokesman did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Federal agents had seized documents and files from Cohen in April that stemmed from a referral from the office of Robert Mueller, the special counsel looking into possible coordination between Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and Russia.

Cohen was part of Trump's inner circle for more than a decade, working as his personal attorney at the Trump Organization and continuing to advise the president after the election. Cohen once said he would "take a bullet" for Trump, but the relationship between the two men has frayed since the April FBI raid on Cohen's office, hotel room and home.

The New York Times reported on Sunday that federal prosecutors were focused on more than $20 million in loans obtained by Cohen from taxi businesses owned by him and his family.

The loans are part of the investigation into whether Cohen committed bank and tax fraud, and for possible campaign law violations linked to a $130,000 payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels.

Trump has repeatedly denied any collusion and has called the Mueller investigation a witch hunt. Russia has denied meddling in the election. U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded Moscow interfered.

Mueller's investigation, which began in May 2017, has resulted in the indictment of more than 30 people and five guilty pleas.

Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, is on trial in Alexandria, Virginia, for 18 counts of financial crimes resulting from the Mueller probe. The jury in his case was in its fourth day of deliberations on Tuesday.

(Reporting by Brendan Pierson; Writing by Jonathan Oatis; Editing by James Dalgleish)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

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Updated Date: Aug 22, 2018 00:09:26 IST

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