Paul Manafort's and Michael Cohen's courtroom bombshells may have saturated the airwaves this week, but there were many other updates in the various legal fights swirling around President Donald Trump. Developments in cases involving Trump, his ...
Paul Manafort's and Michael Cohen's courtroom bombshells may have saturated the airwaves this week, but there were many other updates in the various legal fights swirling around President Donald Trump.
Developments in cases involving Trump, his campaign and his allies in government also contributed to what may be the most difficult period yet for Trump's presidency.
Manafort and Cohen have dominated the news cycle, and not without cause: In the span of just a few minutes, Trump's former campaign chairman and his longtime personal lawyer both became felons.
A jury in Manafort's criminal trial reached guilty verdicts Tuesday afternoon on eight counts of bank fraud, tax fraud and failing to file foreign bank account reports. As reporters streamed out of the Alexandria, Virginia, courthouse to spread the news, Cohen pleaded guilty to eight counts of his own, including tax fraud and campaign finance crimes, hundreds of miles away in Manhattan.
That same day, special counsel Robert Mueller sought to postpone a sentencing hearing in the case against Michael Flynn, Trump's first national security advisor as his office "does not believe that this matter is ready to be scheduled for a sentencing hearing at this time due to the status of its investigation."
Flynn pleaded guilty in December to lying to the FBI, and agreed to cooperate with Mueller's Russia probe. His plea agreement at the time estimated that he could spend up to six months in prison.
Flynn's son, Michael Flynn Jr., has taken to Twitter in his father's defense, questioning the charges lodged by the special counsel's team.
Flynn Jr tweet
But the postponement Tuesday could suggest that Flynn has more useful information to provide Mueller's probe.
The special counsel did not postpone sentencing recommendations on Friday for George Papadopoulos, the first Trump campaign associate to plead guilty to Mueller's charges. After asserting that he did not provide "substantial assistance" to its probe, Mueller's team recommended up to six months in prison for Papadopoulos, along with a $9,500 fine.
Also on Tuesday, Summer Zervos, a former contestant on Trump's defunct reality show "The Apprentice" who claims he sexually groped her, asked a judge to force Trump to provide information related to her case.
Zervos' case alleges that Trump defamed her by denying her accusations of sexual misconduct. Lawyers for Trump lost a bid to dismiss the suit in March.
Her request to disclose "even potentially relevant information" in the case could hold broader and more damaging consequences for Trump, who has been accused by numerous other women of unwanted sexual touching. Trump has denied the allegations.
Trump himself appeared to boast about groping women without their consent in the now-infamous "Access Hollywood" tape released during the 2016 campaign.
The president's "desire to thwart this inquiry is understandable, but his legal position has no merit," Zervos' lawyer, Mariann Wang, said in a court motion filed Tuesday in New York State Supreme Court.
Across the country, a federal grand jury indicted California Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter and his wife, alleging they used more than $250,000 worth of campaign funds for personal expenses from 2009 to 2016.
The indictment claims they paid for overseas family vacations, pricey meals and golf trips with campaign funds.
A spokesperson for Hunter told NBC said the Republican lawmaker "believes this action is purely politically motivated." Hunter was the second member of Congress to endorse Trump during the 2016 election.
Trump's first congressional cheerleader, GOP Rep. Chris Collins of New York, was indicted and arrested on insider trading charges about two weeks earlier.
Collins, who was a board member of an Australian biotech company, is accused of sending stock tips to his son before the company, Innate Immunotherapeutics, announced a failed drug trial that tanked the value of its shares. Collins suspended his campaign less than a week after his arrest. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
More cases could be coming. On Aug. 14, the Trump campaign filed an arbitration against Omarosa Manigault Newman, a former senior advisor to the president who has been on a media blitz promoting her tell-all book about Trump. The campaign alleges that Manigault Newman violated a nondisclosure agreement that she signed during the 2016 campaign.
Manigault Newman responded that she "will not be silenced" or "intimidated" by the legal action.
And Trump's lawyer, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, recently challenged former CIA Director John Brennan to file a lawsuit against Trump over the decision last week to revoke his security clearance.
Many have questioned whether the move was intended to stifle Brennan, who has been a fierce critic of Trump. The president accused Brennan of "lying" and conduct "characterized by increasingly frenzied commentary."
Brennan said Trump was "trying to get back at me" by stripping the security clearance in retaliation for the former CIA director's criticisms.
Brennan has since threatened to sure the president over his stripped clearance — a decision Giuliani says he would welcome.
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