Cohen pleaded guilty to eight charges, which included five counts of tax fraud and one count each of making false statements to a financial institution, excessive campaign contribution and willful cause of unlawful corporate contribution. The 51-year-old lawyer pleaded guilty hours after news first broke that he would be entering into a plea deal with federal prosecutors.
It was also revealed in court that the lawyer indicated that at the direction of the "candidate for federal office," he arranged payments "for principal purpose of influencing the election." This remark was made in connection to Cohen's charge of excessive campaign contribution, which links up with hush payments the once-loyal Trump supporter made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels and Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal to buy their silence, according to prosecutor Robert Khuzami.
Speaking to reporters, Khuzami explained that after Cohen paid off Daniels and McDougal $130,000 and $150,000, respectively, to prevent them from going public about their alleged sexual encounters with Trump, he sought reimbursements by submitting false invoices to the "candidate's company."
Cohen's prison sentence may last up to five years and three months. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for December 12.
In the same hour that news broke on Cohen's guilty plea, the verdict came in for Manafort — and it wasn't good news for the 69-year-old Connecticut native.
Out of the 18 charges that he was facing, Manafort was found guilty on five counts of tax fraud, two counts of bank fraud and one count of failing to disclose foreign bank accounts. The judge declared a mistrial on the remaining 10 counts.
Manafort's trial is the first to to come out of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into alleged Russian meddling into the 2016 presidential election and supposed collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian actors. Manafort's charges were related to financial crimes he committed in order to hide income earned while lobbying for Ukraine. The indictment against Manafort doesn't name Russia or Russian citizens.
Moscow has adamantly denied allegations that it ever interfered in the 2016 election. Many are still anxiously awaiting the evidence showing how the DNC's emails were hacked, and how they got to WikiLeaks. Mueller's probe, now extending longer than a year in duration, has not furnished such simple evidence to substantiate such bold assertions.
Manafort is also expected to appear in court next month for a second trial in Washington, DC, that will focus on allegations of lying to the FBI, money laundering and foreign lobbying.
Trump responded to news of Manafort's guilty verdict later Tuesday, after landing in West Virginia for a rally, saying that he felt "sad" for Manafort and that the case had "nothing to do with Russian collusion."
— Salvador Hernandez (@SalHernandez) August 21, 2018
And while Trump was quickly dished out some classic "sad" remarks, netizens went into overdrive offering their takes on the busy day.
— ♻️🇺🇸 Christopher Zullo (@ChrisJZullo) August 21, 2018
— Nathan H. Rubin (@NathanHRubin) August 21, 2018
— Aaron (@TheSarcasmShow) August 21, 2018
— Jeffrey Wright (@jfreewright) August 21, 2018
— Run D-N-T (@jamesonkincaid) August 21, 2018
— 🛡️Tommy Juanso 🌊 (@ResistMonsters) August 21, 2018
— JRehling (@JRehling) August 21, 2018
— Demitri Dawson (@DemitriDawson) August 21, 2018
— Fiona Adorno (@FionaAdorno) August 21, 2018
— Ana Navarro (@ananavarro) August 21, 2018
Michael Avenatti, Stormy Daniels' lawyer, even chimed in by saying that "the president is in trouble."
— CNN (@CNN) August 21, 2018
Celebrities even fired off a couple reaction tweets to the news as well.
— Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) August 21, 2018
— Cher (@cher) August 21, 2018
— Chelsea Handler (@chelseahandler) August 21, 2018
— Chaz Bono (@ChazBono) August 21, 2018
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) August 21, 2018
Trump has yet to make any remarks regarding Cohen's guilty plea.