Michael Avenatti, attorney to Stormy Daniels, arrives at federal court for the sentencing of Michael Cohen, former personal lawyer to U.S. President Donald Trump, not pictured, in New York, U.S. (Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg)

IRS Analyst Charged With Leaking Cohen Bank Records to Avenatti

(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. charged an Internal Revenue Service analyst with illegally disclosing suspicious activity reports related to the private banking information of Michael Cohen, the former personal lawyer of President Donald Trump.

John C. Fry, 54, was an analyst with the IRS’s law enforcement arm in San Francisco, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. After searching for activity reports related to Cohen and an entity Cohen created, Essential Consultants LLC, Fry shared the information with attorney Michael Avenatti, according to a federal court filing Thursday by an agent for the Treasury Department.

Cohen created Essential to facilitate a hush payment to Stephanie Clifford, the adult actress known as Stormy Daniels, to keep her from disclosing a tryst she says she had with Trump in 2006. Avenatti is Daniels’s lawyer.

CNN previously reported the charges.

On May 8, 2018, Avenatti used his public Twitter account to release the confidential information, according to the court filing.

Fry’s disclosures also formed the basis of a story in the New Yorker magazine the same month that explored the motivations behind the leak. According to that article, the unnamed source of the information, described as a law enforcement officer, “claimed to have grown alarmed after being unable to find two important SARs regarding Cohen’s financial activity in a government database,” the Treasury agent said in the filing.

It turns out those special activity reports had been granted restricted access and weren’t available for viewing without a justification from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.

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