Criminal Justice

Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen pleads guilty to lying to Congress

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Michael Cohen./a katz (

President Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen made a surprise appearance in a federal courtroom in New York on Thursday and pleaded guilty to lying to Congress.

During the hearing, Cohen admitted making false statements about plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow in testimony last year to the Senate Intelligence Committee, according to the Associated Press, the New York Times, the Washington Post and CNBC.

According to the criminal information describing the charges, Cohen sent a letter to the committee that falsely said the Moscow project was not discussed extensively, he never agreed to travel to Moscow for the project, and he didn’t recall any Russian government response with regards to the project. Cohen later gave testimony consistent with false statements in the letter.

The guilty plea is the first obtained from Cohen by special counsel Robert Mueller, the New York Times points out. According to the Washington Post, Cohen has spent hours meeting with prosecutors, including prosecutors working for Mueller.

Cohen previously pleaded guilty to crimes brought by federal prosecutors in Manhattan.

In that case, Cohen pleaded guilty on Aug. 21 to eight counts of campaign finance violations and bank and tax fraud. The campaign finance charges related to hush money payments made to adult film star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal. The tax charges related to failure to report income from a taxi medallion business, brokerage commissions and consulting fees.

Trump continued to criticize the Mueller investigation on Twitter on Thursday.

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