United States President Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen on Thursday pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about his role in the negotiations for the proposed Trump Tower in Moscow, reported CNN.
Cohen said he had discussed the status of the project with Trump on at least three occasions and briefed Trump’s family members about it during the presidential campaign, reported The New York Times. He told a federal court in New York he had also agreed to travel to Russia for meetings regarding the project.
Cohen had previously said talks about the project in Moscow had ended in January 2016 before the Iowa caucuses – events where members of the Democratic and Republican parties meet to select delegates to vote for their party’s presidential nominee.
“In truth and in fact, and as Cohen well knew, Cohen’s representations about the Moscow Project he made to [the House and Senate intelligence committees] were false and misleading,” said Special Counsel Robert Mueller in a court filing. Mueller is looking into Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 US presidential elections.
Responding to Cohen’s guilty plea, Trump called him a “weak person” who was “trying to get a reduced sentence”, reported CNN. “He was convicted with a fairly long-term sentence with things unrelated to the Trump Organisation,” Trump said as he left Washington for the G20 summit in Argentina.
In August, Cohen pleaded guilty to violating finance laws during the 2016 presidential elections, including by paying off adult an film star, Stephanie Clifford, to keep quiet about her affair with Trump.