Disbarred New York City attorney and businessman Evgeny "Gene" Freidman, an associate of President Donald J. Trump's longtime lawyer Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty Tuesday to felony tax fraud in Albany County Court in a deal that reportedly requires he cooperate in state and federal investigations.
It's been revealed President Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, received a secret payment of nearly $600,000 to fix talks between the US President and his Ukrainian counterpart.
Cohen's case isn't being handled by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III's team of investigators but instead by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of NY, which received a referral from Mueller's team before raiding Cohen's office and home last month.
Evgeny "Gene" Freidman, the flamboyant 46-year-old "Taxi King" of NY and a perennial tabloid muse, has been sued for ripping off drivers, spent time last year in a Chicago prison, and once faced criminal charges for slamming his now ex-wife against a wall.
He had been accused of failing to pay more than US$5 million (S$6.7 million) in taxes.
MEANWHILE, on Earth 2, the investigation into Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen continues apace.
Mr. Cohen is being investigated for possible bank and tax fraud, possible campaign law violations linked to a hush-money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels and perhaps other matters related to Mr. Trump's presidential campaign, a person familiar with the probe has said.
According to the BBC, the Ukrainian government turned to Cohen because it was having little luck getting a meeting with Trump through traditional diplomatic channels. "Freidman pocketed money that should have provided much-needed investment in our transit system - and now he'll have to pay back every cent". Friedman was facing what would have amounted to a life sentence, the source said, but if he satisfies the terms of the agreement, he will receive just five years of probation. Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani later admitted that Trump had repaid Cohen. If Cohen wants to save his own skin, he'll need to work out a plea deal as well and hand over all of his info on Donald Trump.
Cohen continued to deny a partnership in his tweet, writing that he is "one of thousands of medallion owners who entrust management companies to operate".
Freidman struggled financially as the value of taxi medallions plummeted. He was called the taxi king in NY. He in turn used personal contacts in a Jewish charity in NY state, Chabad of Port Washington. The Real Deal reported in February that Freidman managed Cohen's taxi medallions until April 2017.