Cohen's 'flip' had to meet criteria, says fmr prosecutor

CNN Legal analysts Jeffrey Toobin and Laura Coates weigh in on Trump saying "flipping" almost ought to be outlawed after Michael Cohen implicated him.

Posted: Aug 24, 2018 3:51 PM
Updated: Aug 24, 2018 4:12 PM

The New York State Attorney General's Office is poised to pursue a criminal probe of Michael Cohen's potential state tax law violations, having sought a criminal referral on the matter from the state Department of Taxation and Finance, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Attorney General Barbara Underwood's office sought the referral in recent days, following the criminal charges brought against President Donald Trump's former personal attorney by federal prosecutors in the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, this person said.

Cohen, who was charged in the federal case with eight counts, including five tax fraud charges, pleaded guilty in Manhattan federal court Tuesday.

Criminal referral requests by the attorney general are generally granted, and in this case Underwood's office expects to receive such a referral. The referral request was first reported by The New York Times.

An attorney for Cohen didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

The attorney general's pursuit of Cohen on tax matters comes after the office secured a guilty plea on tax fraud charges earlier this year from a former business associate of Cohen's in the taxi medallion business, Evgeny Freidman. Though Cohen has already been charged with tax crimes on the federal level, the state attorney general's office can bring its own set of charges because New York state's double jeopardy laws don't apply to tax crimes.

The state tax department also subpoenaed Cohen earlier this week as part of a probe pertaining to the Trump Foundation, CNN reported.

The charges brought by federal prosecutors on Tuesday, which included a count of false statements to a bank and campaign-finance violations tied to payments he made to silence women who claimed affairs with Trump, also described a tax evasion scheme linked to Cohen's taxi medallion business.

Cohen failed to report more than $4 million in income, according to the criminal information filed against him, resulting in his avoidance of more than $1.4 million in taxes he would have owed the Internal Revenue Service.

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