Cohen Makes Surprise Court Appearance to Plead Guilty

President's former attorney admits lying to Congress about Trump real estate deal
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 29, 2018 8:57 AM CST
Cohen Makes Surprise Court Appearance to Plead Guilty
In this Aug. 21, 2018 file photo, Michael Cohen, former personal lawyer to President Donald Trump, leaves federal in New York.   (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle, File)

Michael Cohen pleaded guilty Thursday morning to lying to Congress about work he did on a Trump real estate deal in Russia. President Trump's former personal attorney made a surprise appearance in a New York courtroom to enter the plea, per the AP. He admitted to making false statements in 2017 to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence about a plan to build a Trump Tower in Moscow; no final deal was even made. In August, Cohen pleaded guilty to other federal charges involving his taxi businesses, bank fraud, and his campaign work for Trump. But as the New York Times notes, Thursday marks the first charges brought against Cohen by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Cohen has been cooperating with Mueller's investigation since he made his first plea, and the new development suggests he's angling for a lighter sentence, per the Times. Trump himself, meanwhile, has been escalating his attacks on the Mueller inquiry of late. "Did you ever see an investigation more in search of a crime?" he tweeted Thursday, one of two tweets on the subject. (Mueller says Paul Manafort has been lying, not cooperating, after his own plea deal, and Trump says a pardon for Manafort is not "off the table.")

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