Monday's raid on the offices of President Donald Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen was likely conducted as an investigation into bank fraud in connection with a payment the lawyer admitted making to adult entertainer Stormy Daniels, Judge Andrew Napolitano said Tuesday.
"I suggest to you what they were looking for is this bank fraud," Napolitano, now the senior judicial contributor for Fox News, told "Fox & Friends."
"Michael Cohen famously admitted paying stormy Daniels $130,000 not to talk about her alleged relationship with the president, which the president denies, during the campaign."
When Cohen was asked where the money came from, he commented that he took out a home equity loan on his home.
"What did he tell the bank when he took the home equity loan out?" said Napolitano. "You borrow $130,000 from the bank, and you say you're going to add a room to your house, and instead of adding a room to your house, you pay a porn star, that's bank fraud."
The raids were ordered by Geoffrey Berman, who was named as the interim acting U.S. Attorney for the southern district of New York, which includes Manhattan, after Trump fired former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.
"[Special counsel] Bob Mueller's people stumbled upon evidence, evidence, not proof, evidence of bank fraud on the part of Michael Cohen," said Napolitano, and turned over to Berman's office for further investigation.
"Berman's people took a look at it and said there is evidence here," said Napolitano.
However, because Cohen has represented Trump for many years, the president's information is tied in with other items seized in Monday's raids, said Napolitano.
The information can be sorted out through the use of a team in the Justice Department, of for a better way, by having a U.S. Magistrate judge in Manhattan do it.
Meanwhile, Cohen may have been able to get the money to pay Daniels through a demand deposit, but if he misled the bank, that would be a different issue, said the judge.
Cohen could be under investigation for wire fraud because he wired the money across state lines to a "dummy corporation he set up in Delaware" and then on to Daniels' previous attorney, Napolitano added.
"In my view, it's a technical crime, not a very serious crime," said Napolitano.
He continued that the Cohen raids weren't directly connected with Mueller's probe into Russian collusion, but still, "if they indict him for bank fraud, they will try to squeeze him to see what he knows about Russian collusion."
Napolitano also commented on Trump's statements about Attorney General Jeff Sessions, when he said he would have appointed someone else if he knew Sessions was going to recuse himself on the Russia investigation.
The judge agreed that Sessions should not have accepted his appointment, but instead should have told Trump he was "entitled to an attorney general in whom you have great confidence."
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