The National Enquirer once harbored a treasure trove of information about Donald Trump considered so damaging it was reportedly kept in a safe. But all those revelations and more are now at the disposal of federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York. Less than an hour after Trump’s former lawyer/fixer Michael Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison Wednesday, New York prosecutors announced they had reached a non-prosecution agreement with the salacious tabloid’s parent company, AMI, that would make absolutely “everything” the company knows about Trump available to investigators. And let’s just say, the company probably knows a lot. Politico writes:
The immunity deal, said Gene Rossi, a former federal prosecutor from Northern Virginia, “is a huge red flag and loud gong against the president.”
Under the agreement dated from late September and released Wednesday, AMI accepted immunity from federal prosecutors in exchange for documents and “numerous interviews” with the company’s executives and staff about the Trump hush-money scheme and other arrangements involving politicians running for office.
As part of the agreement, AMI admitted to paying former Playboy model Karen McDougal $150,000 in hush money and that “its principal purpose in making the payment was to suppress the woman’s story so as to prevent it from influencing the election.” Sound familiar? Cohen explicitly confessed to the very same goal in his pleading—meaning two entities have now confirmed the express purpose of the payments was to defraud the American people.
But the sweeping agreement between AMI and New York prosecutors is undoubtedly bad news for Trump, Trump Organization, and some of Trump’s family members—all of which contributed to the cover-up in some way. As former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti observed, prosecutors likely bestowed immunity on AMI and Trump Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg “because they intend to pursue additional charges related to the hush money payments.”
Mariotti argues in Politico that either Don Jr. or Eric Trump may be a chief target of the investigation, with Trump potentially ending up as an unindicted co-conspirator.
In paragraph 38 of the Cohen charges, Executive-1 (reportedly Weisselberg) sought approval for payments to Cohen from Executive-2, and then told another employee to “pay from the Trust.” Who would the chief financial officer need approval from? If it was for a payment from Trump’s own trust, Executive-2 could be Donald Trump Jr. (Trustee) or Eric Trump (Chairman of the trust’s advisory board).
But one way or the other, AMI’s full cooperation is a doozy for Trump.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.