Published: Wed, March 20, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Unsealed Cohen warrants show Mueller's investigation dating back to 2017

Unsealed Cohen warrants show Mueller's investigation dating back to 2017

Michael Cohen, the former personal attorney of U.S. President Donald Trump, talks to reporters as he departs after testifying before a closed House Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., March 6, 2019.

A big part of its focus was Cohen's taxi businesses and misrepresentations he made to banks as part of a scheme to relieve himself of some $22 million in debt he owed on taxi medallion loans.

After pleading guilty in the Manhattan probe, Cohen also later pleaded guilty to lying to Congress in a case brought by Mueller's investigators.

Cohen was ultimately not charged with failing to register as a foreign agent. Some of those payments were from companies with strong foreign ties, including a Korean aerospace company and Columbus Nova, an investment management firm affiliated with Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg.

Cohen's attorney, Lanny Davis, said in a statement that the court's decision to make the documents public "only furthers [Cohen's] interest in continuing to cooperate and providing information and the truth about Donald Trump and the Trump organization to law enforcement and Congress".

Through warrants for Cohen's home, office, hotel room, iPhones, bank safety deposit box, email accounts, and more, prosecutors built their case over some nine months. They were originally filed by investigators in April a year ago to obtain additional search warrants.

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The newly released court documents, which AP notes are heavily redacted, reveal that Mueller began investigating Cohen in July 2017, which AP stresses is "far longer than previously known".

However, perhaps the most important takeaway from the unsealed documents is not what information they contain, but what is redacted.

The judge agreed but on the condition any reference to an ongoing investigation was redacted. The documents do, however, include details related to charges against Cohen for tax evasion and bank fraud.

The government had also argued disclosure would infringe on the privacy rights of uncharged third parties, according to the New York Post.

Cohen pleaded guilty last summer to failing to report more than four million dollars in income to the IRS, making false statements to financial institutions, and campaign finance violations stemming from money paid to Stormy Daniels as well as a former Playboy model.

Speaking to Law&Crime, Moss said, "given the only truly significant redactions made in the Cohen documents concerned the hush money payments, it is clear that SDNY prosecutors are still contemplating additional indictments that can not yet be made known to the public".

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