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Judge says Michael Cohen hush-money probe is over, orders documents unsealed

Michael Cohen begins prison sentence

A federal investigation into campaign finance violations tied to former Trump attorney Michael Cohen has concluded, and a federal judge has ordered documents related to the probe to be unsealed. President Trump's legal team is interpreting the conclusion of the investigation into campaign finance violations as a win for the president.

U.S. District Judge William Pauley III of the Southern District of New York ordered documents related to Cohen's campaign finance case to be unsealed Thursday at 11 a.m. Cohen is serving a three-year prison sentence over hush payments made to women that violated campaign finance laws ahead of the 2016 presidential election. 

"The campaign finance violations discussed in the materials are a matter of national importance," the judge said in his ruling. "Now that the government's investigation into those violations has concluded, it is time that every American has an opportunity to scrutinize the materials."

The development is a good sign for the Trump Organization, and Mr. Trump's legal team welcomed the news. 

"We are pleased that the investigation surrounding these ridiculous campaign finance allegations is now closed," Jay Sekulow, counsel to the president, said in a statement. "We have maintained from the outset that the president never engaged in any campaign finance violation."

CBS News and other outlets petitioned the court to unseal the documents related to the investigation into the hush payments, such as search warrants, warrant applications and affidavits related to the April 2018 search of Cohen's home and office. 

Before he went to prison, Cohen told Congress on Capitol Hill that Mr. Trump is a "racist," a "con man" and a "cheat," in explosive testimony that accused the president of a pattern of criminal behavior and deception. In that testimony, Cohen claimed the president directed him to lie about illegal payments so as to silence women who claimed to have extramarital affairs with Mr. Trump. 

"I am ashamed that I chose to take park in concealing Mr. Trump's illicit acts rather than listening to my own conscience," Cohen testified in February. 

Major Garrett contributed to this report.

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