Federal prosecutors granted immunity to tabloid publisher David Pecker as part of their investigation into Michael Cohen’s hush money payments to women, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday .
CEO of National Enquirer parent company American Media Inc., during the 2016 presidential campaign to quash the stories of women’s alleged extramarital affairs with President Trump.
Cohen on Tuesday pleaded guilty in Manhattan federal court to eight counts, including two related to campaign finance violations regarding these payouts to women.
The Journal reported earlier Thursday that Pecker provided prosecutors with details about the payments they arranged, “including Mr. Trump’s knowledge of the deals.”
Cohen said under oath that he made these deals “in coordination and at the direction of a candidate for federal office.”
According to the Journal, neither Pecker nor AMI chief content officer Dylan Howard will be charged in relation to the Cohen criminal investigation.
The court documents describe how Pecker volunteered in August 2015 to work with Cohen “and one or more members of the campaign” to deal with damaging stories about Trump.
The publisher ended up paying $150,000 to former Playboy model Karen McDougal for the rights to the story of her relationship with Trump. The Enquirer also tipped Cohen off about adult film star Stormy Daniels’ allegations of a sexual encounter with Trump, and Cohen shelled out $130,000 to keep her quiet.
Cohen pleaded guilty to causing an unlawful corporate campaign contribution for the McDougal payment, and to making an excessive campaign contribution in the Daniels matter.
He faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison on each count. His sentencing hearing on the campaign finance violations and six counts related to his personal financial misconduct is scheduled for December 12.
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