Investigation into Trump campaign finance violations is over, judge says

The judge’s order did not answer one of the lingering questions of the investigation: whether prosecutors in the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan still plan to file additional charges in connection with the case.

Investigation into Trump campaign finance violations is over, judge says

The judge’s order did not answer one of the lingering questions of the investigation: whether prosecutors in the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan still plan to file additional charges in connection with the case.

The investigation, which centered on hush money payments arranged during the 2016 presidential campaign to two women who said they had affairs with Trump, already resulted in the conviction of the president’s former fixer, Michael D. Cohen.

Cohen, who is now serving a three-year prison sentence, has said he helped arrange the hush money at the direction of Trump, an accusation that the federal prosecutors in Manhattan ultimately repeated in court papers.

In ordering the unsealing of search warrants and related documents in connection with a 2018 raid on Cohen’s home and office, the judge, William H. Pauley III, said the campaign finance violations discussed in the papers “are a matter of national importance.”

“Now that the government’s investigation into those violations has concluded,” Pauley wrote, “it is time that every American has an opportunity to scrutinize the materials.”

As recently as this spring, prosecutors were still considering whether one Trump Organization executive was untruthful when testifying before the grand jury in the Cohen case, according to people briefed on the matter.

The prosecutors have also examined Trump’s role in the hush-money arrangements, and effectively labeled him an unindicted co-conspirator. Justice Department policy holds that a sitting president cannot be indicted.

Prosecutors have not told the Trump Organization, or its executives, that the investigation has been closed, according to people briefed on the matter.

The U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan declined to comment. The Trump Organization did not respond to a request for comment, but a lawyer for Trump declared victory.

“We are pleased that the investigation surrounding these ridiculous campaign finance allegations is now closed,” said the lawyer, Jay Sekulow. “We have maintained from the outset that the president never engaged in any campaign finance violation.”

Trump has denied having affairs with the two women, Stephanie Clifford, an adult film actress known as Stormy Daniels, and Karen McDougal, a Playboy centerfold.

Michael D. Monico, a lawyer for Cohen, said he was surprised by the ruling, because, he said, “I do believe he has provided substantial and significant information.

The records that the judge ordered unsealed may reveal new details about the role played by members of the president’s inner circle in the hush-money arrangements.

In his brief order, Pauley directed prosecutors to publicly file, with only minimal redactions, a confidential report that they had sent to him detailing the status of their investigation. The underlying search warrants and other records were also to be filed publicly.

The material is expected to be released Thursday morning.

An original set of nearly 900 pages of search warrants and other records that contained extensive redactions was ordered released by the judge in March in response to a request by The New York Times and other news organizations. Pauley ordered prosecutors to provide him with the confidential status report by this week.

Pauley is still allowing the prosecutors to black out some portions, which he called “limited references” to an “uncharged third-party.” The identity of that person is unclear.

In a separate inquiry, the federal prosecutors in Manhattan are also investigating Trump’s inaugural committee, an investigation that evolved out of the Cohen case.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

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