Investigators with the New York state tax department are starting to step on the toes of federal prosecutors conducting an ongoing investigation into former Trump fixer Michael Cohen, according to CNN.
CNN reported Tuesday that Cohen’s attorney, Guy Petrillo, sat for a meeting with the tax department, in defiance of a request from prosecutors with the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s office that other local investigative bodies steer clear of moves that could disrupt their federal case.
“This is clear interference with an ongoing criminal investigation,” a law-enforcement official involved in the matter told CNN.
Both the tax department and Manhattan District Attorney’s office are looking into campaign finance violations Cohen committed by making hush money payments to women on President Trump’s behalf during the 2016 campaign. The DA is reportedly investigating the role of the Trump Organization and two of the company’s top executives in helping Cohen make those payments.
Cohen in August pleaded guilty in federal court to six counts of personal financial wrongdoing and two counts of campaign finance violations.
As both CNN and Bloomberg have reported, federal prosecutors who helped secure that plea are continuing to investigate whether Trump Organization executives violated campaign finance laws, as well.
The office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and the tax department denied to CNN that they had received any instruction from the U.S. attorney’s office to avoid matters that might interfere with the federal case.
In TPM’s previous reporting on these overlapping probes, former federal prosecutors from the hyper-competitive, high-profile Southern District of New York insisted that the parties involved would work collaboratively and avoid turf battles, given the high stakes of the case.
CNN’s reporting suggests that those boundaries are starting to get crossed.