- Associated Press - Friday, July 20, 2018

NEW YORK (AP) - President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen and the Rev. Al Sharpton have met to renew a long acquaintance - and they’ve made a point of letting the public know.

Both tweeted about their Friday get-together but left the subject of it a cliffhanger: “I bet you’re wondering what we could be talking about! Stay tuned,” Sharpton wrote.

The meeting came with Cohen in the spotlight after federal agents raided his home, office and hotel room in April as part of an investigation into his business dealings, including information on any payments to two women who say they had affairs with Trump a decade before he became president: former Playboy model Karen McDougal and porn star Stormy Daniels. Trump denies the affairs occurred.

Cohen hasn’t been charged with any crime.

Longtime Sharpton spokeswoman Rachel Noerdlinger said Cohen contacted the civil rights activist in recent weeks, and they met at a Manhattan hotel for about an hour.

Cohen tweeted there’s “no one better to talk to!” than Sharpton.

The two have known each other for about 20 years, according to tweets from both.

Noerdlinger said they revisited conversations they’d had over the years when Cohen was Sharpton’s conduit to Trump during clashes over race issues and over Trump’s questioning of the authenticity of former Democratic President Barack Obama’s birth certificate.

Hours later, it emerged that Cohen had secretly recorded Trump discussing a potential payment for McDougal’s account of having an affair with him in 2006.

Cohen made the recording two months before Trump’s 2016 election, according to a person familiar with the federal investigation into Cohen. The person was not authorized to speak publicly about the ongoing inquiry and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Current Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani said that the payment was never made and that the brief recording showed Trump did nothing wrong. Cohen’s lawyer, Lanny Davis, said the recording’s contents “will not hurt Mr. Cohen.”

On the tape, Trump and Cohen appear to be discussing buying the rights to the ex-centerfold’s story from the National Enquirer’s parent company, according to the person familiar with the investigation. The company had reached a deal weeks earlier to pay McDougal $150,000 for her story.

The company, run by Trump friend and supporter David Pecker, never published it.

Cohen, a self-described fixer for Trump for more than a decade, said last year he “would take a bullet” for the Republican president. But Cohen told an interviewer earlier this month that he now puts “family and country first” and won’t let anyone paint him as “a villain of this story.”


Associated Press writer Eric Tucker in Washington contributed to this report.

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