Michael Cohen: Judge says hush-money investigation is over, orders documents unsealed

Michael Cohen leaves federal court after his December sentencing in New York

Michael Cohen leaves federal court after his December sentencing in New York

Prosecutors in Manhattan notified U.S. District Judge William Pauley in a filing on Monday that the probe was over, according to an order issued by the judge Wednesday.

The judge rejected a request by prosecutors to black out portions of the documents to protect third-party privacy interests, saying the records involved "a matter of national importance".

Cohen, the former personal lawyer to U.S. President Donald Trump, is serving three years in prison.

Federal prosecutors in NY have ended their investigation into the Trump Organization's role in hush money payments made to women who alleged affairs with President Donald Trump and have been ordered by a judge to release additional information connected to their related probe of former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, according to court documents filed Wednesday.

The materials will be made public Thursday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan at 11 a.m. 'Now that the Government's investigation into those violations has concluded, it is time that every American has an opportunity to scrutinize the Materials'.

CNN reported on Friday that federal prosecutors were winding down their investigation of the Trump Organization without charging any executives.

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"We are pleased that the investigation surrounding these ridiculous campaign finance allegations is now closed", he said.

Cohen is now serving a three-year prison term in upstate NY for the campaign finance violations, as well as other offenses including bank and tax fraud.

Prosecutors were ordered to file the materials on the public docket by 11 a.m. Thursday in NY, although they were allowed to black out the names of investigators and references to individuals who allegedly engaged in or contemplated business with Cohen related to taxi medallions.

Cohen pleaded guilty a year ago to making hush-money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal in the run-up to the 2016 presidential elections to keep them quiet about their alleged extramarital affairs with Trump, among other charges.

Now, though, prosecutors have informed the court that they've concluded the investigation, clearing the way for the release of documents related to the case.

Under longstanding Justice Department policy, criminal charges can not be brought against a sitting president.

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In December, Pauley sentenced Cohen to three years in prison for crimes including the campaign finance violations, lying to Congress and tax evasion.

An attorney for the company declined to comment. The government told the judge earlier this month that it had "concluded the aspects of its investigation that justified the continued sealing of the portions of the materials" related to Cohen's campaign-finance violations, Pauley said.

Pauley had granted a request by news organizations to unseal some records related to the FBI's April 9, 2018, searches of Cohen's home, hotel room, office, safe deposit box, cell phones and electronic communications. In them, they outlined some of the evidence they had gathered about his alleged crimes.

Typically, prosecutors do not announce the conclusion of an investigation that doesn't result in formal charges being filed.

The development is a good sign for the Trump Organization, and Mr. Trump's legal team welcomed the news.

The judge ordered the materials to be "unredacted in their entirety, except that the names of law enforcement investigators, references to individuals who purportedly engaged in business transactions or contemplated business transactions with Cohen relating to taxi medallions, and personal information referenced in this Court's March 18, 2019 Order".

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