Prosecutors said Trump Organization executives were involved in reimbursing Mr. Cohen for that payment, accepting his phony invoices that listed it as a legal expense. The other charge concerned a complicated arrangement in which a tabloid bought the rights to the story about the former Playboy model, Karen McDougal, then killed it.
.. “I think the allegations reveal that executives in the Trump Organization — more than one, and not clear how many more than one — were involved in funneling the payments to Stormy Daniels and may have significant legal exposure as a result of that,” she said, even though their actions came after the fact.
“Obviously, they are trying to hide something,” she added. “There’s a normal way to do this and then there’s the way they did it.”
.. The company recorded the reimbursement to Ms. Clifford as legal fees, which legal experts characterized as unusual.
Mr. Cohen paid Ms. Clifford $130,000, but he was ultimately reimbursed $420,000 by the Trump Organization.
Here’s why: Mr. Cohen received a $60,000 bonus, and the company allocated about $180,000 to cover the taxes that Mr. Cohen had to pay on the hush money.
There was also an additional $50,000 that Mr. Cohen received after putting in a claim for “tech services.”
That related to work that Mr. Cohen “solicited” from a technology company during the campaign, the court filing said.
Several current and former prosecutors and criminal defense lawyers said that if the officials at the Trump Organization were aware of what the payments were for, they could possibly be criminally culpable.
And they said that if the $420,000 in payments to Mr. Cohen, which were recorded as legal expenses, were written off as a tax deduction, as would be the general practice, it could lead to criminal tax charges.
.. only the first two of the 12 monthly $35,000 payments to Mr. Cohen were paid by a trust that owns the company; the other 10 were paid from Mr. Trump’s personal accounts.
.. the person, who would only discuss the payments on the condition of anonymity, could not say who approved the reimbursement; why it was approved if no one knew what it was for; why the payments were recorded as legal expenses; and why, even though they were recorded as such, they were not deducted from the company’s taxes.
.. “It would be highly unusual to record it as legal fees and then not deduct it.”