Untangling The Web Of Payments Between Cohen And Elliott Broidy

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 16: Michael Cohen, longtime personal lawyer and confidante for President Donald Trump, arrives at the United States District Court Southern District of New York, April 16, 2018 in New York City.... NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 16: Michael Cohen, longtime personal lawyer and confidante for President Donald Trump, arrives at the United States District Court Southern District of New York, April 16, 2018 in New York City. Cohen and lawyers representing President Trump are asking the court to block Justice Department officials from reading documents and materials related to his CohenÕs relationship with President Trump that they believe should be protected by attorney-client privilege. Officials with the FBI, armed with a search warrant, raided Cohen's office and two private residences last week. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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A bombshell document dropped by Stormy Daniels’ attorney Tuesday evening alleges a complex series of payments between Elliott Broidy and Michael Cohen.

The records, which list a number of “possible fraudulent and illegal financial transactions,” detail tens of thousands of dollars passing between the two men through a series of intermediaries between November 2017 and March 2018.

The document were released online by Daniels’ attorney, Michael Avenatti. Much of its contents were subsequently corroborated by a number of major news organizations.

The unusual series of transactions between the two Trump allies is just one thread that federal investigators are digging into as they probe Cohen’s finances. Cohen, President Trump’s longtime fixer, is reportedly under investigation in the Southern District of New York for bank fraud, campaign finance violations, and other possible crimes.

The document focuses on Essential Consultants LLC, a firm set up by Cohen to handle hush money payments to Stormy Daniels, an adult film star who claims to have had an affair with Trump. Cohen also negotiated hush money payments on behalf of Broidy, a wealthy businessman and top Republican fundraiser who has said he impregnated a former Playboy Playmate.

The document notes that Cohen received at least $187,500 from Broidy’s Bank of America account. “The business purpose of these payments is unclear,” it adds.

The timeline and amount of money paid tracks with previous reporting about the coverup involving the former Playmate.

As the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this year, Broidy paid Cohen $250,000 to cover his legal fees for negotiating a nondisclosure agreement involving Broidy’s affair with former Playboy model Shera Bechard. The first installment to Cohen, for $62,500, was made out to Essential, per the newspaper.

According to the Journal, the settlement Cohen helped negotiate stipulated that Bechard would receive $1.6 million from Broidy that would be paid to her in quarterly installments over two years.

Per the Avenatti document, Broidy’s first payment was made on Nov. 30, 2017 into the account of the Real Estate Attorneys’ Group (REAG), a California-based firm specializing in commercial real estate. On Dec. 5, a transfer for that same amount was channeled from REAG to the firm of Keith Davidson, an attorney then representing Bechard.

The next payment from Broidy came on Dec. 29, 2017 — $62,500 made out to REAG. REAG wired the same amount to Essential Consultants on Jan. 2, 2018.

That month, the Journal first revealed that Cohen made the hush money payments on Trump’s behalf and used Essential Consultants to do so. After that series of stories came out, Broidy began paying fee installments directly to Cohen.

The first was a Jan. 31 payment of $62,500 from Broidy to REAG. The same day, a wire for the same amount was sent from REAG to Cohen.

On March 1, the pattern repeated itself. Broidy wired $62,500 to REAG, and the same amount was promptly wired to Cohen.

Just over a month later, on April 9, federal agents armed with search warrants raided Cohen’s office, apartment and hotel room, seizing electronic devices and scores of documents.

It’s not clear from the newly released information whether or how the balance of the legal fees owed to Cohen or the settlement amount to Bechard was paid.

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