WASHINGTON (CNN) – As the 2016 presidential campaign was in full swing, Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, took part in two financial transactions that gave him access to as much as $774,000, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday, citing public records.
The Wall Street Journal reported that, according to real estate records, Cohen increased his borrowing ability by $245,000 through a bank credit line tied to his Manhattan apartment.
Months prior to the February 2016 transaction, he and his wife co-signed a mortgage on a condominium in Trump World Tower in New York, which her parents owned, giving him potential access to an additional $529,000, the Journal reported, citing different real estate records.
Cohen has been at the center of a firestorm after reports surfaced that he made a payment ahead of the 2016 election to a porn star, Stormy Daniels, for her discretion on an alleged sexual encounter she had with Trump more than a decade ago.
Cohen admitted to paying Daniels $130,000 in hush money out of his own pocket.
Trump had denied knowledge of the payment, but that denial was called into question this week when another one of the President’s lawyers, Rudy Giuliani, said on Fox News that Trump had paid Cohen back. Trump then acknowledged the payment, but said no campaign money was used to reimburse Cohen and that he had been paid via retainer.
The Justice Department announced last month that Cohen has been “under criminal investigation” for months in New York regarding his business dealings.
That announcement came after Cohen’s office and home were raided by the FBI, which led to a legal battle with Trump and Cohen’s lawyers attempting to block federal prosecutors from using some of the records they seized.
According to The Wall Street Journal’s Friday report, people familiar with the matter said the two transactions in 2016 could play a role in the investigation into Cohen’s business dealings, which includes looking into whether Cohen broke any laws in efforts to access cash and conceal negative information about Trump.