Michael Cohen's business partner may flip under plea deal

It's the first time we've heard of payments to Cohen that resulted in action by the White House.

Word of the Freidman agreement came just days after news broke that Jeffrey Yohai, the son-in-law of former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort, had reached a plea agreement.

A high-ranking Ukrainian intelligence officer told the BBC that, before Poroshenko's White House visit, Cohen was brought in because the country's lobbyists couldn't secure a substantive Oval Office meeting with Trump. One source stated that the 51-year-old lawyer was paid $400,000, while another indicated that he was paid some $600,000.

Payment was made to Cohen through intermediaries of Poroshenko, the BBC reports.

Michael Volkov, a defense attorney at The Volkov Law Group, sounded a grim note on Cohen's legal prospects after the deal had been struck.

"This story is completely false", wrote Cohen in the text comments to the Agency.

Petro Poroshenko.   Gleb Garanich  Reuters
Petro Poroshenko. Gleb Garanich Reuters

That proposal comes in response to Cohen's recently revealed financial dealings, which showed that he accepted millions in payments from major corporations that wanted access to the president - including telecom giant AT&T and the pharmaceutical company Novartis - following the 2016 presidential election.

Healy had noted the "serious and egregious nature of the charges", Freidman's exposure to prison time and ties outside NY. He has not been charged with a crime. There is no specific mention of cooperation in a transcript of the plea hearing obtained by ABC News, but prosecutor Ben Clark mentioned "other factors known to the AG" in outlining the terms of the agreement.

The payment was arranged by intermediaries acting for Poroshenko who wanted to open a back channel to the USA president, the BBC said, citing unnamed sources in Kiev.

What's more, the BBC notes that the Ukrainian government dropped its anti-corruption investigation into former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort after it paid for Cohen to arrange talks with Trump.

The press service noted that the Ukrainian-U.S. summit in June 2017 was organized exclusively through official diplomatic channels, including the Ukrainian Embassy in the United States.

A spokeswoman for the NY state attorney general did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters. Trump, whose spokesmen have denied such an affair, reimbursed Cohen for the payment to Daniels.

  • Stacy Allen