Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg's unprecedented prosecution of Donald Trump was complicated Thursday by the emergence of an apparently exculpatory letter written by Michael Cohen.
The February 2018 letter to the Federal Election Commission says that Cohen -- not Trump -- "used his own personal funds" to pay porn star Stormy Daniels $130,000 in hush money.
"Neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms. Clifford, and neither reimbursed Mr. Cohen for the payment directly or indirectly," the letter said.
The letter contradicts the story Cohen has been telling since the former Trump "fixer" turned on his ex-boss, whom he likened to a "mobster" in dramatic testimony to Congress.
"Mr. Trump directed me to use my own personal funds from a Home Equity Line of Credit to avoid any money being traced back to him that could negatively impact his campaign," he told Congress at the time.
Cohen's letter predates his 2018 guilty plea on campaign finance charges, so Bragg's prosecutors could argue it shows Cohen lying to protect Trump at the time, the Daily Mail noted.
In any event, Cohen's two stories can't both be true, so he was lying either before or after he turned on Trump. That's not going to help his credibility as the star witness in Bragg's case.
Bragg is said to be weighing a far-fetched legal theory to upgrade a misdemeanor charge for falsifying business records to a felony. The case has been criticized as weak even by some liberals.
Trump has claimed the Cohen letter closes the case in his favor.
"This is totally exculpatory, and must end the Manhattan District Attorney's Witch Hunt, immediately. Cohen admits that he did it himself. The D.A. should get on with prosecuting violent criminals, so people can walk down the sidewalks of New York without being murdered!" he wrote on Truth Social.
The grand jury is reportedly going to return next week to continue deliberating after rumors that Trump would be arrested did not come to fruition.
Robert Costello, a Trump ally and former adviser Cohen, told the grand jury Monday that Trump had nothing to do with paying off Daniels.
“Michael Cohen is quite simply a witness that you cannot believe. He is a convicted perjurer,” Costello said.