The Case Embroiling The White House Started With A Tabloid Giant

What makes up a crime: Sex, hush money and a Trump fixer's guilty plea.

carl bernstein
Michael Cohen, (L) former personal lawyer and confidante for President Donald Trump, exits the United States District Court Southern District of New York on May 30, 2018 in New York City. (Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)
Getty Images

The federal campaign finance and tax evasion case that is embroiling the White House right now started with one of the world’s tabloid giants. The documents filed in New York in relation to Donald Trump’s longtime personal lawyer Michael Cohen’s case entangles several unidentified people in Trump’s business and from his campaign, writes The New York Times. The world full of porn stars and Playboy models, shadowy “story brokers” and the ultra rich and powerful — who can easily buy back their secrets — has come to life on the page of federal court documents.

Cohen pleaded guilty on Tuesday. But the court papers describe a reality-television twist revolving around hush money payments to two women who claim they had sexual encounters with Trump.

“You have to go back to Watergate-era scandals to find similarly colorful and outrageous events,” said Daniel A. Petalas, a former head of enforcement at the Federal Election Commission and a former Justice Department public corruption prosecutor, to The New York Times. “When political figures are engaged in conduct that might be tawdry or salacious, it’s not unusual that the other participants have colorful histories and backgrounds themselves.”

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.