The district attorney opened the investigation last month and sent subpoenas to the Trump Organization and American Media Inc. seeking documents and records relating to payments made to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal to silence their allegations ahead of the 2016 presidential election.
Prosecutors met with Cohen shortly after they opened their investigation, according to one of the people familiar with the matter. Cohen is one of several people with knowledge of the payments who would be of interest to investigators, but he has credibility issues for any potential case. Cohen pleaded guilty last year to lying to Congress about plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.
Lanny Davis, a lawyer for Cohen, declined to comment. A spokesman for Vance’s office also declined to comment.
Marc L. Mukasey, attorney for the Trump Organization, responded, “When you lie down with dogs you wake up with fleas.” When the Trump Organization was subpoenaed early last month, Mukasey called it “a political hit job.”
Cohen was the only individual prosecuted as part of the federal investigation. He pleaded guilty to paying $130,000 to Daniels to keep her from going public with her allegation before the election.
Federal prosecutors alleged that the Trump Organization paid Cohen $420,000 to reimburse him for the $130,000 hush money payment, increasing the amount to cover taxes and a bonus. Cohen was directed to submit monthly invoices and the payments were made in installments of $35,000 over 12 months, according to prosecutors in the Cohen case. The Trump Organization accounted for the fees as legal expenses even though, prosecutors alleged, Cohen did no legal work for the company in 2017. The Trump Organization was not charged with any wrongdoing.