The investigation of Michael Cohen began in the summer of 2017, almost a year before federal agents raided the home and office of President Donald Trump's former lawyer and fixer, according to search warrants made public Tuesday.
In all, the prosecutors and FBI received permission from a Washington, DC-based federal judge to execute four search warrants on Cohen's two Gmail accounts and for stored data in his Apple iCloud account in July, August and November 2017 - long before Cohen's office was raided in 2018 and he pleaded guilty in an illegal campaign contribution and tax prosecution led by Manhattan federal prosecutors.
How has this ended?
This means Mueller was investigating Cohen much earlier than was previously known, and a little less than a year before an Federal Bureau of Investigation raid on Cohen's home. He was sentenced to three years in prison, but before he was locked up, Democrats gave Cohen another chance to testify before Congress.
Among the crimes Cohen pleaded guilty to were campaign finance violations linked to payments made to two women who alleged they had affairs with Trump.
But Tuesday's court filings detail Cohen's financial exchanges with foreign entities-including Russia-linked US -based company Columbus Nova; Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis; a South Korean company; and a Kazakhstani bank.More news: Trump remarks on Conways' marriage in feud with aide's husband
Michael Cohen raked in more than $3 million in consulting fees following President Trump's election, including almost $600,000 from an investment firm tied to a since-sanctioned Russian oligarch, according to court papers made public on Tuesday.
Both Cohen and Trump cried foul at the time over the raids, with Cohen's attorney calling them "completely inappropriate and unnecessary" and the president taking to Twitter to declare that "Attorney-client privilege is dead!" Cohen ultimately agreed to cooperate, directly implicating the President in the hush money violations and efforts to cover up plans to develop a Trump Tower Moscow during the 2016 presidential campaign.
The documents show that the special counsel's office was investigating Cohen for allegedly making false statements to a financial institution, and suspected bank and wire fraud - as well as possible money laundering and violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
In them, officials in the Southern District of NY laid out their suspicions about Cohen, how they planned to investigate and why those warrants were needed. They have said he's been helpful to them, but have not revealed how so.
Cohen has provided information to investigators about Trump and the Trump campaign, but prosecutors said he refused to tell them everything he knew.
Some of the payments he received were from companies with strong foreign ties, including a Korean aerospace company, a bank in Kazakhstan and an investment firm affiliated with a Russian billionaire.