Michael Cohen, an attorney previously hired by President Trump, pleaded guilty to lying to Congress during a court proceeding on Thursday morning.
The admitted lie in question concerned a real estate deal that Cohen handled in Russia, which was previously misrepresented to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
Cohen made a surprise appearance Thursday in a New York courtroom at around 9 a.m. and began entering the plea.
He admitted to making false statements in 2017 to the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence about a plan to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.
In August, Cohen pleaded guilty to other federal charges involving his taxi businesses, bank fraud and his campaign work for Trump.
According to court documents, the prosecution claims “COHEN made the false statements to (1) minimize links between the Moscow Project and Individual 1 and (2) give the false impression that the Moscow Project ended before ‘the Iowa caucus and… the first primary,’ in hopes of limiting the ongoing Russia investigations.”
And: “On or about August 28, 2017, the defendant MICHAEL COHEN, in the District of Columbia and elsewhere, in a matter within the jurisdiction of the legislative branch of the Government of the United States, knowingly and willfully made a materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statement and representation, to wit, COHEN caused to be submitted a written statement to SSCI containing material false statement about the Moscow Project, discussions with people in the Company and in Russia about the Moscow Project, and contemplated travel to Russia in connection with the Moscow Project.”
ABC News added:
Note: The author of this article has included commentary that expresses an opinion and analysis of the facts.
Cohen’s anticipated agreement with Mueller also comes just two weeks before he is due to be sentenced in a separate case in federal court in New York, which burst into public view in April when federal agents raided his law office and residences.
Cohen pleaded guilty in August to six felonies associated with his personal business dealings – including tax evasion and making false statements to a bank – and two felony campaign finance violations in connection with his role in arranging non-disclosure agreements during the campaign with two women who had claimed past affairs with Trump.
During a plea hearing in that case, Cohen directly implicated President Trump in the alleged schemes to silence the women: adult film star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal. Cohen told the court that he made the arrangements for those hush-money deals “in coordination with and at the direction of a candidate for federal office,” referring to then-candidate Trump, “for the principal purpose of influencing the election.”