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Cohen takes starring role in DA's pursuit of Trump's business

Greg Farrell and Caleb Melby, Bloomberg News on

Published in Political News

NEW YORK -- A team of investigators from Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.'s office visited former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen in prison about a month ago and asked a broad set of questions about the president's business that went beyond the payments made to silence Stormy Daniels, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Vance's team is planning to follow up with another interview of Cohen this month, the people said. CNN reported that Cohen would be brought from his upstate New York prison to New York City for that meeting.

Although federal prosecutors in New York have closed their campaign-finance investigation that led to Cohen's conviction, Vance's probe shows no sign of letting up. A federal judge ruled in Vance's favor, saying the city prosecutor should be allowed to investigate Trump and obtain several years of tax records from the real-estate mogul turned president.

Trump's lawyers have appealed the decision, and the next hearing is scheduled for Oct. 23.

Cohen, who desperately wanted to cooperate with federal prosecutors against Trump last year, is now in a position to play a central role in Vance's investigation. The district attorney is trying to determine whether the Trump Organization violated the New York state law against manipulating a company's books and records to hide illicit activity. The extent of the inquiry is unclear, but the questions that Vance's team already asked indicate an interest the Trump Organization's inner workings.

Cohen is the only member of Trump's immediate circle to be convicted of criminal conduct stemming from special counsel Robert Mueller's probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election. (Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort has also been convicted of multiple felonies.) The 53-year-old lawyer became an object of scorn to the president and his Republican allies last year after he turned on his former patron and admitted that he lied to Congress about Trump's attempt to build a tower in Moscow during the campaign.

 

Cohen's current role in the Vance investigation has given him a new lease on life, according to one of the people. Trump's former fixer is said to be taking full advantage of the facilities at his medium security prison, about 80 miles from New York, working out and playing tennis.

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