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Michael Cohen meets with prosecutors investigating Trump's family business, charity

Michael Cohen meets with prosecutors investigating Trump's family business, charity
Posted at 6:20 PM, Oct 17, 2018

Michael Cohen and his attorney met Wednesday with a group of state and federal law enforcement officials investigating various aspects of President Donald Trump's family business and charitable organization, according to people familiar with the meeting.

The group, which included the federal prosecutors from the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York who charged Cohen in August and officials from the New York Attorney General's office, met at the Midtown New York City office of Cohen's attorney, Guy Petrillo, these people said.

CNN observed Cohen leaving Petrillo's office building Wednesday afternoon. Assistant US Attorney Tom McKay, the lead prosecutor on the Cohen case, had entered the building earlier in the day.

The purpose of the meeting wasn't immediately clear, but both offices are continuing to investigate cases that relate to Trump entities and with which Cohen had professional involvement.

Representatives for both the attorney general's office and the US attorney's office declined to comment. Petrillo didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

The meeting comes as Cohen, Trump's former personal attorney, has spent hours huddling with prosecutors from the office of special counsel Robert Mueller. Cohen's cooperation with investigators could help reduce the sentence he's set to receive December 12 for the crimes to which he pleaded guilty in New York. Cohen has said privately a reduced sentence is not his motivation.

In recent days, Cohen and Trump have traded public barbs, with Cohen touting his recent allegiance with the Democratic Party on social media and Trump saying Tuesday in an interview with the Associated Press that Cohen was "lying" when he indicated during his guilty plea, under oath, that Trump had directed him to break the law by instructing Cohen to make payments to silence two women who claimed affairs with Trump.

Trump has denied those claims, and in the AP interview he described Cohen as "a PR person who did small legal work, very small legal work."

"He wasn't in trouble for what he did for me; he was in trouble for what he did for other people," Trump said. "He represented me very little. It's a very low level. And what he was is also a public relations person."

In response to Trump's interview comments, another attorney for Cohen, Lanny Davis, said on Twitter that Cohen "acknowledged and took responsibility for @realDonaldTrump @POTUS bad behavior. Trump calling anyone a #liar is a compliment!"

In August, Cohen pleaded guilty in Manhattan federal court to tax evasion, making false statements to a bank and campaign finance violations involving so-called "hush money" payments two women who alleged sexual encounters with Trump: adult film star Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, and former Playboy model Karen McDougal.

Federal prosecutors in New York began seeking to arrange a meeting with Cohen after his August plea, CNN has reported, and that office has been continuing to investigate matters related to Cohen's case, including possible campaign finance violations by others within the Trump Organization.

Cohen has also been in contact with the New York state attorney general's office since his guilty plea, including shortly after his appearance in federal court, CNN has reported. The AG's office has a civil lawsuit against the Trump Foundation, and has been coordinating its investigation with the US attorney's office, CNN has reported.