ABC News / YouTube Trump lawyer says he paid porn...
ABC News / YouTube

Michael Cohen,  Donald Trump’s personal attorney/fixer, tells the NY Times “I am his friend, and I would do just about anything for him and also his family.” Investigators may soon be asking him if “anything” includes tax fraud.

Remember Cohen’s admission that he paid porn actress Stormy Daniels hush money  to keep the lid on Trump’s affair with Daniels?

Last week, Mr. Cohen said he used his own money for the $130,000 payment to her, which has prompted a complait alleging that Mr. Cohen violated campaign finance regulations. Legal experts also have noted that the payment on behalf of his client may have violated New York’s ethics rules.

Mr. Cohen, who is still described as Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer although he is no longer on the Trump Organization payroll, has denied any wrongdoing and insists the arrangement was legal.

Martin J. Sheil, a former IRS fraud investigator, says it’s simpler than that. All you have to do is follow the money.  Appearing on The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell tonight, Sheil said he immediately saw Cohen’s account as a potential case of tax fraud.  He notes that Cohen could have simply written a check to Stephanie Clifford (Daniels real name) and be done with it if he had nothing to hide.  Instead, he set up a shell corporation in Delaware which then funneled the money to someone named Peggy Peterson.   That’s where the IRS comes in.  Every taxpayer is familiar with the IRS 1099 Form, the form where earnings are reported.  Sheil points out that Stephanie Clifford’s name MUST appear on the 1099 form that Cohen’s shell company was required to issue.  If it does not, it’s fraud…a felony.   Sheil also says this could potentially lead to conspiracy charges that could reach all the way up to the Oval Office if Trump was involved in the coverup.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.

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