2018 letter shows Michael Cohen lying to federal officials

A newly surfaced letter from 2018 shows Michael Cohen lying to federal election officials about his infamous, $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels — which later helped send him to prison.

The letter, obtained by The Post on Wednesday, emerged as the disbarred lawyer appeared poised to become the star witness in an unprecedented criminal case against his ex-boss, former President Donald Trump.

In it, Cohen told the Federal Election Commission that he “used his own personal funds to facilitate a payment of $130,000 to Ms. Stephanie Clifford,” aka Daniels, in 2016.

“Neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms. Clifford, and neither reimbursed Mr. Cohen for the payment directly or indirectly,” Cohen lawyer Stephen Ryan wrote on Feb. 8, 2018.

But a little more than six months later, Cohen changed his tune and copped a plea to a laundry list of federal crimes that included making an excessive campaign contribution to Trump, now 76, by paying Daniels to keep quiet about her alleged 2006 affair with him.

Trump has denied cheating on his wife Melania Trump with Daniels.

Michael Cohen appears poised to be the star witness against former President Donald Trump in a potential case tied to his $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels.

Donald Trump poses with Stormy Daniels in July 2006
Daniels and Trump allegedly had an affair in 2006.
Stormy Daniels

As part of his guilty plea, Cohen admitted that he used a newly incorporated shell company to pay Daniels, then sought reimbursement from the Trump Organization for the full amount, plus a $35 wire fee and another $50,000 for tech work related to Trump’s campaign.

The total was doubled for tax purposes, and Cohen also received a $60,000 bonus, with the full amount of $420,000 paid to him in monthly installments for which he submitted invoices.

Cohen also later pleaded guilty to an unrelated charge of lying to Congress when he denied trying to broker a deal for a Trump Tower development in Moscow during the 2016 presidential campaign.

A Feb. 8, 2018, letter to the Federal Election Commission from Michael Cohen's lawyer
In the letter, Cohen said that he “used his own personal funds to facilitate a payment of $130,000 to Ms. Stephanie Clifford.”

In December 2018, Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison by a judge who blasted his “veritable smorgasbord of illegal conduct” and acidly noted that “as a lawyer, Mr. Cohen should have known better.”

Former Brooklyn prosecutor Julie Rendelman said the 2018 letter could help Trump’s defense if he’s prosecuted by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg over the Daniels payment.

“I think it’s just going to open the door to additional questions of his credibility and give more opportunity for further cross-examination — as though they didn’t have enough,” Rendleman said.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg unexpectedly postponed a planned session of the grand jury that’s been hearing evidence against Trump on Thursday.
Getty Images

Former Manhattan prosecutor Michael Bachner also said Cohen could prove problematic because he “may or may not be telling the absolute truth about what occurred.”

“Whenever you have as a significant or star witness in your case — an individual who has an enormous amount of baggage, including having made false statements in the past — that is a very serious problem,” Bachner said.

Neither Cohen, Ryan nor Bragg’s office immediately returned requests for comment.

Protesters hold signs outside the Manhattan Criminal Courthouse.
Anti-Trump protesters outnumber Trump supporters at the Manhattan Criminal Courthouse on Monday.
Corbis via Getty Images

But Ryan told the Daily Mail he no longer represented Cohen and declined to discuss his 2018 letter, citing attorney-client privilege.

Earlier Thursday, Bragg unexpectedly postponed a planned session of the grand jury that’s been hearing evidence against Trump since early January.

The move came in the wake of testimony Monday by lawyer and Trump ally Robert Costello, with sources telling The Post that Bragg was concerned by what Costello told the panel and wanted to present an unidentified rebuttal witness.

Lawyer and Trump ally Robert Costello.
Lawyer and Trump ally Robert Costello testified before the grand jury on Monday.
Davidoff Hutcher & Citro, LLC

The witness wasn’t available on Wednesday but is apparently set to testify on Thursday, sources said.