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Probe into payments made to two women before 2016 US election ends

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NEW YORK -- U.S. prosecutors in New York have ended their probe into whether hush money payments made to two women shortly before the 2016 presidential election violated campaign finance law, according to a court document filed Wednesday.

It was unclear whether the move to end the probe means that no further charges will be filed in the case.

Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer, made the payments to two women to silence their stories about sexual relationships they said they had with Trump starting in 2006. The president, who was married to his current wife, Melania, at the time, has denied he had sex with either woman.

After Cohen made one of the payments -- $130,000 to adult film actress Stormy Daniels -- he was reimbursed by the Trump Organization, prosecutors said. That prompted the investigation into the payments and the Trump Organization's potential role.

Cohen is now serving a three-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to eight counts, including two counts of campaign-finance violations for orchestrating the payments.

In the court memo filed Wednesday, U.S. District Judge William Pauley also ordered the unsealing of materials related to the probe into the payments. Pauley at the same time denied a request by prosecutors to keep portions of the material under wraps.


"The campaign finance violations discussed in the Materials are a matter of national importance," Pauley wrote. "Now that the Government's investigation into those violations has concluded, it is time that every American has an opportunity to scrutinize the Materials."

He gave prosecutors until 11 am (1500 GMT) Thursday to deliver the documents.

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