A NY taxi operator pleaded guilty Tuesday to improperly pocketing $5 million in state tax money and has agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors as they investigate President Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, according to a person familiar with the case.
Freidman, known as New York's "Taxi King", was indicted on state charges past year by then-New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who alleged Freidman and others failed to pay $5 million in MTA surcharges between 2012 and 2015.
"This defendant is the self-anointed taxi king of the city of New York", Healy said.
Last year, he was charged by then New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman with "failure to remit to the New York State Tax Department over $5 million in 50 cent MTA surcharges between 2012 and 2015". In pleading guilty to a single count of criminal tax fraud, Freidman will be sentenced to five years' probation, the attorney general's office said.
Attorney Michael Avenatti said that the report Tuesday that an associate of President Donald Trump's fixer Michael Cohen has flipped and begun cooperating with prosecutors only bolsters his judgment that Cohen will eventually turn on the president himself. Freidman's cooperation only makes the chances of that stronger, the publication noted.
The investigation into Cohen arose in part from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's inquiry into possible collusion between Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and Russian Federation, something that Trump has repeatedly denied.
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The New York Times reported that Friedman's agreement requires him to assist prosecutors in state and federal investigations. He moved into Trump Park Avenue, where Cohen and Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner lived.
The President's lawyers are already resigned to the strong possibility that the inquiry into Mr Cohen's businesses could lead him to cooperate with federal prosecutors.
In mid-April the New York Post reported that Cohen once rented Ivanka and Jared Kushners Park Avenue apartment to the Taxi King.
CNN previously reported the Federal Bureau of Investigation searches included a request for documents related to Cohen's ownership of taxi medallions and sought information about taxi owners who had financial dealings with Cohen.
Around the same time, ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft began to dominate the NY livery scene and yellow-cab medallions rapidly lost value.
He wrote, "Gene Freidman and I are not partners and have never been partners in this business or any other". "And those who are prosecuted under New York State law, can not be saved by a Presidential pardon".