Judge Orders Cohen Campaign Finance Records Unsealed; Cites "Weighty Public Ramifications"

A New York judge has ordered the unsealing of records related to former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, now that prosecutors have concluded a spinoff investigation of the Trump Organization with no charges. 

"The campaign finance violations discussed in the Materials are a matter of national importance. Now that the Government’s investigation into those violations has concluded, it is time that every American has an opportunity to scrutinize the Materials," wrote Judge William H. Pauley III - a Bill Clinton appointee.

"Indeed, the common law right of access—a right so enshrined in our identity that it "predate[s] even the Constitution itself"—derives from the public’s right to “learn of, monitor, and respond to the actions of their representatives and representative institutions."," Pauley added - giving government attorneys until 11 a.m. on Thursday to file the documents. 

Cohen claims that President Trump directed him to make "hush money" payments to two women who claimed to have had affairs with the billionaire, Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal. The former Trump attorney says he made the payments to influence the 2016 election "at the direction of a candidate for federal office." 

Cohen pleaded guilty to eight counts last year, including five counts of tax evasion and one count of making a false statement to a financial institution. He also pleaded guilty to one count of making an excessive campaign contribution on Oct. 27, 2016, which is the same date Cohen finalized a payment to adult-film star Stormy Daniels as part of a nondisclosure agreement over an affair Daniels alleges she had with Trump.