Like a newly discovered vein of gold, the more you keep digging into Trump attorney Michael Cohen’s business dealings, the more treasure you find.
The latest nugget comes from Talking Points Memo, and reveals that Columbus Nova, the investment firm tied to sanctioned Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg that paid Cohen $500,000 for “investment consulting”, also retained another Trump-linked lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, for its business dealings.
Kasowitz, one of the president’s legion of personal attorneys, was actually hired for his legal rather than financial expertise, unlike Cohen, and represented Columbus Nova in a lawsuit filed by Fifth Third Bank in Illinois.
The case alleges that Columbus Nova and several affiliated companies caused tens of millions of dollars of losses on loans to a life insurance financing program “permeated … by fraud and embezzlement.”
Kasowitz and his firm countersued in New York, placing the blame for the losses on fraud committed by Fifth Third Bank. The case stretched over eight years and was settled last year with the results of the settlement yet to be disclosed.
The mutual client with links to the Kremlin was not the only connection between Kasowitz and Cohen. ProPublica reported that Cohen spent part of February 2017, right after Trump’s inauguration, working out of the offices of Kasowitz Benson Torres in midtown Manhattan while they were both working on several undisclosed matters after Trump took office.
Some attorneys at Kasowitz Benson Torres who worried about Cohen’s renegade reputation were upset to find that the law firm had turned a conference room into an office for Cohen to use for a short period, even installing his nameplate on it.
Yet, a spokesperson for the firm told ProPublica that:
“Michael Cohen never worked for the firm or occupied any office at Kasowitz Benson.” He added: “They were working together on one civil matter for President Trump.”
Whether that civil matter involved facilitating payments to people with damaging information on President Trump was not specified, but Kasowitz was already on the team of lawyers defending Trump in the Russia probe and had represented the president in his divorce settlements, his bankruptcies, the Trump University case, and the sexual misconduct allegations that had begun to surface during the campaign.
Kasowitz continues to represent Trump in the defamation lawsuit brought by former Apprentice contestant Summer Zervos whom the president called a liar after she accused him of #MeToo category sexual advances. He reportedly dropped out of the Russia investigation defense team after being unable to obtain the required security clearance necessary to continue in the case due to his heavy drinking and alcohol abuse, according to the ProPublica article
Another Trump attorney with links to the Kremlin makes the president’s continued tweets of “no collusion” ring even more false than they have from the beginning as the evidence continues to drip out with increasing velocity.
Just remember, whatever we find out through the diligent activity of a free press, Special Counsel Robert Mueller knows even more than has been revealed publicly. The best (or the worst, if you’re Donald Trump) is yet to come.
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