Michael Cohen, The Ultimate Red Shirt Defendant Takes A Plea

images-1.jpgThe appearance of Michael Cohen in court as a self-confessed felon was as riveting as predictable as scene in this unfolding drama. Indeed, if this is ever made into a movie, it would seem all too formulaic. Cohen is the ultimate red-shirt defendant. In the film industry, “red shirts” are characters in a movie plot that inevitably die (like those red shirted security officers in Star Trek that always seem to face demise by the end of an episode). You can often spot a red shirt in that character who is so over-the-top in reading letters from home or over compensating in the face of a pending battles. They are dead men walking.  If you play back the last year, there is one guy who stands out in the red shirt, the guy who has to implode and flip. It is Michael Cohen.

For years, Cohen stood out among sycophants and hanger-ons for his public proclamations of absolute loyalty and love for Trump. He called himself Trump’s fix man and said he would take a bullet for the man. Yup, red shirt. He is inevitably the guy who flips for the government.

Cohen pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations and tax and bank fraud in New York. He will go to jail for up to three years.

The most important charges clearly involve campaign finance violations. When the payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal were first disclosed, some of us immediately said that the payments looked like campaign finance violations. It was that obvious. Yet, like so much of his representation, Cohen seemed to blissfully steer himself and his client into the worst possible path in dealing with threats.

Cohen’s implication of Trump in open court yesterday left the President in the position of an unindicted co-conspirator.  If the government believes Cohen and believes that this is a crime (as it must to file this material), it must also believe that President Trump participated in same crime with Cohen as well as other individuals referenced in the indictment.  While campaign finance charges are rarely prosecuted as crimes, they are crimes and Cohen just confessed to committing them — allegedly with the man who is now President of the United States.

That does not mean that Trump is without defenses.  This is difficult crime to prove as shown in the John Edwards trial and Cohen is a dreadful fact witness.  If what Cohen said today is true,  then what he has said for the last year are lies.  That hardly makes for a compelling fact witness.  Yet, for the first time, a plea has tied the President directly to an alleged criminal act — and that is always a serious matter.

246 thoughts on “Michael Cohen, The Ultimate Red Shirt Defendant Takes A Plea”

    1. mespo – if Trump funded most of his campaign himself and if he paid for the NDAs with his own money, then you raise an excellent issue.

      1. Trump may have largely funded his primary race. But it’s highly unlikely Trump funded the fall campaign. Trump is too savvy of a businessman to fund the entire race!

        The Republican National Committee, for instance, would have granted serious funding for the general election. What’s more I am sure small donors kicked in. I believe they were getting MAGA hats for suggested contribution amounts.

          1. My point is valid, Mespo. The ‘Co-Conspiritor’ allegations stem from campaign funding laws that may ‘not’ have applied had Trump paid for his whole race.

            1. PH:
              That’s like saying if he didn’t run a campaign, he wouldn’t have been charged. The issue is who paid the funds for the hush money. If Trump did, Cohen just pled guilty to a non-crime. If Cohen paid without reimbursement, then Trump MAY have violated the campaign finance laws which is a speeding ticket in the pantheon of federal crimes. Pay the fine, say you’re sorry and move on. Just like Obama’s $375,000 fine for similar violations. Nobody suggested he resign or be impeached. Wonder why?

          1. Yes, Paul, I believe that’s correct. But one of the counts against Cohen involves “Sham Invoices”. In other words Cohen submitted bills to the company that were deliberately misleading.

            1. Peter Hill – that Trump Corp paid out on fraudulent invoices is not the fault of Trump. Nor does it make it a campaign contribution. SDNY has a long way to go to connect the dots.

              1. Paul, yesterday Cohen pleaded guilty in a Federal Courthouse. And Professor Turley himself referred to Trump as a potential co-conspiritor. Turley’s opinion was supported by the mainstream media. It’s hard to imagine this case is only half-baked.

                If Trump knowingly directed the payment of hush money to Daniels and McDougal, then he ‘is’ a co-conspiritor. And don’t forget that Cohen made that tape of Trump authorizing payments.

                Trump himself has changed his story 3 times regarding what he knew and didn’t know. It’s hard to believe that Cohen was reimbursed without Trump’s approval. Like the accountants just paid Cohen without consulting Trump? I don’t think anyone in Trump’s orbit is promoting that scenario.

                1. Peter Hill – I would not take either JT’s or the Lame Stream Media’s opinion on this subject. JT does not do criminal law.

                  1. Well let’s go with that, Paul. As a Republican, are you okay with a president who grabs women’s pussy’s and pays off mistresses? Because to millions of people, women especially, Trump sounds like a creep.

                    1. Peter Hill – do you know they cut something important out of that pussy quote? They edited out the sentence “They let you.” Which makes it consensual. I do not care if you consensually grab the pussy of everyone you know. It is consensual. In TV they call that the “Villian’s Cut” where they cut the tape to make the person look their worst. You saw it with the Omarosa tapes. The first tape was cut off before we could here exactly why Omarosa was being fired. And Lara Trump says there was more to her phone conversation with Omarosa which would have clarified the phone call. Again, they only played the part of the tape that could be construed as making Trump look bad.

                      Do you really think the Lame Stream Media which has reported negatively on the President 90% of the time, would give Trump the benefit of the doubt?

                    2. Oh, Peter, I didn’t know. You don’t like female body parts. Do they offend you? You can grab whatever parts suit you best and as far as I am concerned you can even grab Lambchop.

                    3. “They edited out the sentence “They let you.” Which makes it consensual.”

                      That is important Paul. Do you think Lambchop gives consent to Paul?

                2. Peter Hill – when you have a company(ies) as large as Trump’s you have no idea of what is being paid, if you are Trump. You pay other people to pay those bills. Trump is not a micro-manager.

                3. “If Trump knowingly directed the payment of hush money to Daniels and McDougal, then he ‘is’ a co-conspiritor.”

                  It is amazing the contortions Peter Shill goes through.

                  Trump is able to pay hush money to anyone he pleases. That is not a campaign violation. Cohen admitted to a crime that he likely isn’t guilty of. Suddenly the Shill calls Trump a co-conspiritor, a co-conspirtor in what? If Cohen wrote out the check and was reimbursed by Trump there is no crime since paying hush money isn’t illegal and done all the time.

                  Cohen seems to have plead guilty to a none crime in order to implicate Trump in a non crime and was repaid by lowering the charges on his illegal activities. This doesn’t show our justice system acting the fashion intended.

                  1. Allan – Cohen is composing to get his sentence reduced. He would be a horrible witness for the prosecution.

                    1. “He would be a horrible witness for the prosecution.”

                      Of course but the real problem is he is going to serve time for a non-crime just so that the media can say Trump is an alleged coconspirator in that non crime.

                      The sun is shining, the economy is doing well, formerly unemployed people have jobs.

                      Peter is annoyed because he would like to see everyone on welfare and food stamps.

                4. Peter Shill do yourself a favor and listen to the Hillary supporter Alan Dershowitz who probably understands the law on this subject better than anyone else. You could also listen to the video posted by George of Mark Levin. However, Mark Levin comes from the right (and doesn’t have the credentials) so you may be more comfortable with Dershowitz. You can continue to listen to the pundits on TV that don’t know very much but are being paid to make the best sounding arguments possible that can potentially injure Trump, however, in this case you would just continue making a fool of yourself.

          2. Paul:

            That’s what happened. A candidate can pay from his funds or an entity that he controls and violate no campaign financing law. I just saw where a former FEC chairman said no campaign laws were broken here. So much for the latest “Trump Is Finished” scandal. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/those-payments-to-mistresses-were-unseemly-that-doesnt-mean-they-were-illegal/2018/08/22/634acdf4-a63b-11e8-8fac-12e98c13528d_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.8a217c1115f3

            1. Mespo, you have a better memory than me. Can you name each incident in order that was going to end Trump? I doubt it, as there have been so many probably in the three digit level and then one has to figure out the first digit. On everyone of those incidents the crazies shouted Trump down and stated the end was near.

              Amazingly Peter Shill only had time to address a few of them, perhaps at least one per week and he continues on his hopeless and foolish trek.

    2. It’s all moot.

      I can’t wait to see Obergruppenfuhrer and Liar-in-Chief (Iraq had WMD) Mueller send a paramilitary unit without purview to

      the White House to arrest the President of the United States.

      The unwarranted redress the communists are caterwauling for is impeachment by Congress, which is nothing new and has

      been in the cards since November 8, 2016.

  1. Are there any attorneys on this site?

    Can one of you clarify for the readers; are Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDA) legal, private and engaged in ubiquitously by

    individuals, small businesses, corporations and governmental organizations?

    1. George – I did hear a Secret Service agent say that NDAs are common in the WH since 2004. Every Hollywood star with a nanny has them sign a NDA. I think some corporations have some people at certain levels sign them.

      1. Those cover confidential national security issues. Nobody else required NDAs in order to protect the president’s personal behavior, illegal behaviors, or ego.

      2. Federal Employees are not obliged to sign non-disclosure agreements. Said agreements actually violate Whistle Blower Protections.

          1. NDA’a must be SOP in divorce cases and those of small business, corporations and governmental organizations. I haven’t heard a peep from the ex-Mrs. Woods.

    2. George,

      NDA’s I hate those M’pkers, let me explain.

      The US’s legal system has basically collapsed & there is no long an expectation of justice bring properly applied only “Just Us”.

      After decades in the Real Estate biz, Courts & lawyers are overly excepting of what I strongly believe are unconstitutional NDA’s.

      The last time NDA’s bit my & millions of others azzes,

      2007, 08, 09 Bush/Obama/Clinton’s US Real Estate Crash time frame.

      Major banks, insurance co’s, etc agreed to plead guilty to defrauding other businesses & customers , & pay a token very small fine in return both parties would sign a NDA & almost No CEO Crooks are charged or would go to jail.

      What I’ve a major issue with aside from the Govt/Big Corp’s Conspiracy to Defraud all others is that those NDA’s were/are being used to conceal the evidence of the crimes all those parties from all others that suffered harm by their hands & have/had standing before the courts to bring their cases.

      1. LOL,

        I haven’t checked back in years after many of the corrupt courts started ruling against the injured parties.

        But the Lawyer Neil seems still at it, training more and more.

        I just moved on, if a property has anything to do with MERS in the title I just go for the quite title action to kill any-other claim.

        https://livinglies.wordpress.com/tag/mers/

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