Federal Judge Agrees to Keep Seal in Place in Cohen Campaign Finance Probe

May 21, 2019 by Dan McCue
Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former personal attorney, and fixer, arrives at federal court for his sentencing hearing, Dec. 12, 2018 in New York City. (Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images/TNS) **FOR USE WITH THIS STORY ONLY**

A federal Judge in New York agreed to continue to seal search warrant materials related to an investigation of campaign finance violations by President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen.

The decision by U.S. District Judge William Pauley III came after prosecutors informed him their investigation is ongoing.

That letter, as well as the materials the prosecutors wanted kept confidential, will now remain under seal until at least July 15.

Pauley cited the ongoing nature of the government’s investigation for his decision and he directed prosecutors to identify in July what individuals or entities remain subject to continuing inquiries.

Cohen is currently serving a three-year prison sentence after admitting a role in paying off two women who claimed they had affairs with Trump: the porn star Stormy Daniels and one-time Playboy centerfold model Karen McDougal.

Cohen admitted that he arranged for American Media Inc., parent of the pro-Trump National Enquirer, to pay McDougal $150,000 to buy and bury her story.

He also admitted paying Daniels $130,000 and was reimbursed by Trump’s business empire. Both payments came during the 2016 campaign.

Both Cohen and federal prosecutors later claimed Trump directed the payments. Prosecutors went on to assert those secret payouts were not reported as campaign contributions and violated the ban on corporate contributions and the $2,700 limit on donations by an individual.

The president denied any sexual relationship with the women and said on Twitter that payments were “a simple private transaction,” not a campaign contribution.

The search warrants preceded raids on Cohen’s homes and office in April 2018.

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