Breaking down the Cohen plea: Expert says paying off paramours violates campaign finance law

Payments were made with intention of influencing election, he says

Pat Loeb
August 22, 2018 - 5:13 pm
Michael Cohen

© Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Michael Cohen's bombshell guilty plea Tuesday implicates the president in campaign finance violations.

But even the president doesn't seem to understand why paying off his alleged paramours violates campaign finance law.

Cohen's guilty plea states he made payments to two actresses to cover up affairs with then-candidate Donald Trump, at the candidate's request. Asked about it in a Fox News interview, Trump said the money didn't come from his campaign fund — it came from him.

RELATED: Trump lashes out at his former lawyer after guilty plea

But the source of the money was not at issue. Attorney Ralph Teti, a local campaign finance expert, said the payments violate campaign finance laws because they were made with the intention of influencing the election.

"It's a campaign contribution because it's made to influence the outcome of an election," he explained. "And it wasn't reported as such by Cohen, and it certainly wasn't reported as such by the Trump campaign organization."

Teti said the plea reveals others may be facing criminal liability in the case, but he wouldn't predict the outcome.

"It shouldn't be over till everybody knows what happened and everyone's been held accountable," he added.