ABC: Michael Cohen’s longtime business associate strikes deal to cooperate with investigators

ABC News:
A longtime business associate of President Trump’s former personal attorney has agreed to cooperate with the government as part of a plea deal reached with prosecutors in New York, a source familiar with the agreement told ABC News.

Evgeny Friedman, 46, a Russian immigrant known as the “Taxi King,” was chief executive of Taxiclub Management Inc. which managed a fleet of more than 800 cabs, including some controlled by Cohen and his wife. He was accused of failing to pay the state $5 million in surcharges on taxi rides and pleaded guilty in Albany County to a single count of tax fraud.

Legal experts agree that the terms of the deal appear to be very favorable for Friedman, suggesting that he agreed to provide something of significant value to prosecutors.

Kendall Coffey, a former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, said the terms of the deal appear to signify a substantial level of cooperation.

“A no jail time deal like this strongly suggests a level of cooperation significant enough to incriminate other significant subjects,” he said. “And those who are prosecuted under New York State law, cannot be saved by a Presidential pardon.”

Read Full Article Here.

Thoughts on informants and the FBI

In general , when the FBI gets a credible lead about potential criminal activity, it can be appropriate to use a confidential informant to follow up on that lead. The FBI has certainly used confidential informants with respect to public officials and, in the campaign context, to target  potentially illegal fundraising.

The critical unknown, though, is whether the informant sought to gain trust , expand contacts and effectively move inside the campaign for broader informational purposes.  Imbedding an informant in a political campaign would obviously be troubling. In determining this issue, it would be important to assess whether attempts were made by the informant to establish communication with others in the campaign beyond  initial leads.Substantial added concerns arise from the fact that this was a Presidential campaign in which the outcome could change the FBI’s own top leadership.

For these reasons, it is appropriate for Congressional authorities- with appropriate confidentiality safeguards- to drill down on the role of the informant to verify whether it was simply following up on credible leads or an infiltration.

Thoughts on Comey’s Emails

James Comey’s emails certainly provide an unflattering portrayal of President Trump. But they present some interesting items concerning Comey himself.

In an ultimate irony, he states in the emails “I don’t leak.” And yet that statement is contained in one of the emails that Comey – through a friend – leaked to the press. This does not add to his credibility. And his public excuse for the leak – he lacked faith in the Deputy Attorney General of the United States, will not score points with DOJ or anywhere else.

Comey says he doesn’t do “sneaky things” – he is documenting every conversation with the President – in case he might need it in the future, all without informing the President.

He repeatedly praises Andy McCabe who was later fired in part for contradicting Comey about the subject of McCabe’s leaks.

Also intriguing are the references to “Confidential” and “Secret” on some memos. These were apparently declassified at some point but when?

For the Trump legal team, these emails provide a detailed road map of Comey’s statements that will help them prepare the President for his seemingly inevitable interview with Mueller’s team.

Thoughts on Kemerovo

This horrifying tragedy deserves all of our sympathy and prayers. It also deserves a thorough investigation. While there should be no rush to judgment as the authorities analyze the evidence, criminal charges would be considered if  laws were violated with respect the building’s compliance with fire and safety codes , or if there was criminal negligence. For example, if water sprinkler systems or fire-resistant walls and ceilings were required but not utilized, there could be  consequences for the owners and others. In a U.S. case fifteen years ago, after 100 people died in a night club fire, the owner was sentenced to four years in prison for criminal negligence that contributed to the tragedy.

 

Read more about Kemerovo here: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-43552165

NUNBERG STILL USEFUL IN MUELLER PROBE

NUNBERG STILL USEFUL IN MUELLER PROBE

You may question former Trump aide, Sam Nunberg and his reliability as a witness in the Russia investigation. I believe Nunberg is still useful despite his recent outbursts.

Robert Mueller’s team can make use of whatever documents Nunberg has and shouldn’t dismiss him entirely. His behavior is unpredictable, so if the special counsel wants his cooperation, they need to advise him to get a lawyer and calm down after the multiple meltdowns he’s had so he’s a more dependable witness.

Learn more here.