Law & the Courts

Michael Cohen Pleads Guilty to Lying to Congress About Moscow Building Project

Then-candidate Donald Trump with his personal attorney, Michael Cohen in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, September 21, 2016. (Jonathan Ernst/File Photo/Reuters)

Former Trump attorney Michael Cohen plead guilty Thursday in federal court to making false statement to Congress about plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.

Cohen made the plea as part of a cooperation agreement with special counsel Robert Mueller, according to the Associated Press.

Cohen testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee that plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow broke down in early 2016, but now admits that discussions about the potential development, which involved Trump personally, continued until 2017. It remains unclear whether those conversations continued after Trump was sworn in.

Cohen, who plead guilty to campaign finance and bank fraud charges in August, also admitted to misleading investigators about the frequency of conversations he had with Trump regarding the Moscow project.

Russian-born real estate developer Felix Slater, who was assisting on the Moscow project, emailed Cohen in the summer of 2016 and invited him to meet with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Russian president Vladimir Putin and a number of financiers.

Cohen is now assisting in Mueller’s wide ranging investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.

“Mr. Cohen has cooperated. Mr. Cohen will continue to cooperate,” Cohen’s attorney Guy Petrillo told reporters outside the courthouse in Virginia.

The emails and Cohen’s testimony contradict Trump’s repeated claim to have no business in Russia.

“For the record, I have ZERO investments in Russia,” Trump tweeted in July 2016.

The guilty plea comes days after Trump submitted written answers to Mueller’s questions after a protracted negotiation over the scope of the questions the president would willing to answer.

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