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Is Trump More Closely Tied To Cohen’s Taxi Business Than Tweet Implies?

Michael Cohen could be taking President Trump for a ride.

Trump again denied prior knowledge of his son’s June 2016 meeting with Russians promising dirt on Hillary Clinton during a recent tweetstorm. He also alluded to Cohen’s potential legal problems with his taxi medallion holdings as an “unrelated jam.” The tweet came after reports the lawyer was willing to testify the president was aware of the gathering.

But as the Forward exclusively reported in April, Cohen started using his Trump Organization email account to conduct that business going back at least a decade.

That could open up the president, or at least his private company, to even more legal scrutiny, experts tell the Forward.

“The corporation has a duty to monitor communications issued on its behalf,” former FBI financial forensics investigator and John Jay College professor David Shapiro said. “This is not the ordering of office supplies. This is at a high level.”

Prosecutors could use Cohen’s emails to demand to see even more communications he had with Trump going back to at least 2009, according to experts and records obtained through a freedom of information request.

Shapiro added that even if Trump said he was unaware of potential illegal activity done by underlings or family members he could still be charged with having “constructive” knowledge of events.

“When someone reports to you, you can only deny having actual knowledge [of their dealings],” Shapiro said. “Constructive knowledge comes in when oversight is inadequate, but you are charged with knowing anyway — [that] a superior or director or spokesperson should have known what [their subordinates were] doing.”

While legal experts and constitutional scholars debate whether a sitting president could be charged with collusion or obstruction of justice, Trump’s potential legal issues could follow him out of the White House.

“If he avoids jail after his presidency it’s going to be a big success,” Shapiro said.

The White House did not respond to an immediate request for comment.

Contact Ben Fractenberg at [email protected] or on Twitter, @fractenberg

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