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President Donald Trump's former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty to eight criminal counts in a Manhattan federal court Tuesday. Cohen admitted that "in coordination and at the direction of a candidate of federal office" he acted to keep information that would be harmful to the candidate and the campaign from becoming public during the 2016 presidential election.
Cohen said he arranged payments to two women at Trump's behest to secure their silence about affairs they said they had with him. He also pleaded guilty to multiple counts of tax evasion and bank fraud. Trump counsel Rudy Giuliani said in a statement that "there is no allegation of any wrongdoing against the president in the government’s charges against Mr Cohen... Mr Cohen’s actions reflect a pattern of lies and dishonesty over a significant period of time.”
The plea came shortly before another blow to the president, with his former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, convicted of eight of the 18 charges in his financial fraud trial in Virginia. Special Counsel Robert Mueller had built a case that Manafort hid millions of dollars in foreign accounts to evade taxes and lied to banks to obtain US$20 million in loans.