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.”
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.
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.
Robert Mueller indicted 13 Russian nationals today for interfering with the 2016 U.S. presidential election. I believe this is a win for supporters of both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
There’s something for both sides in these indictments, but there’s plenty of upside here for the Trump team: a clear signal from the Mueller team that they’ve found zero campaign collusion. Director Mueller also took an important step to protect our election system for the future. The Russian meddling has to stop, and these indictments will certainly help.
The 37 page indictment alleges Russia interfered with the 2016 U.S. election illegally, but nothing in the indictment points to Trump campaign collusion and there is no allegation that the operation had no impact on the results.
While Russian defendants charged today will never be extradited from Russia, there are still important consequences. This puts these defendants in the Interpol database, so they won’t be able to travel to dozens of countries with U.S. extradition treaties – they would be subject to arrest and detention at foreign airports. That hits hard. Banking and other business relations with individuals outside of Russia will become exceedingly difficult for the defendants.
While the investigation will continue concerning obstruction, I believe that the framework for examining those issues has now been transformed.
Kendall Coffey, an attorney for the Cuban migrants who took refuge at the American Shoal lighthouse in the Florida Keys and are now being repatriated, speaks outside federal court on Thursday, June 30, 2016, in Miami.