John Fry, IRS employee, charged with leaking Michael Cohen’s records to Michael Avenatti
Prosecutors have charged an IRS employee with leaking secret taxpayer information about President Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen and apparently using anti-Trump lawyer Michael Avenatti as a conduit to make the information public.
John Fry, an investigative analyst for the IRS’s law enforcement division, stands accused of finding and disseminating IRS suspicious activity reports (SAR).
The SARs detailed massive payments by major international and foreign interests to Mr. Cohen and a new company he set up in 2016, Essential Consultants. The payments were reportedly made to gain insight on Mr. Trump from his personal “fixer.”
Essential Consultants was the entity that paid $130,000 to porn actress Stormy Daniels, in what Mr. Cohen now says was an illegal hush payment he made on behalf of Mr. Trump.
Mr. Avenatti is Ms. Daniels’ lawyer.
Mr. Fry was charged earlier this month but the documents were revealed Thursday.
The IRS employee admitted to investigators that he leaked information to Mr. Avenatti, and also spoke to a reporter at Mr. Avenatti’s instigation.
Investigators traced calls between Mr. Avenatti and Mr. Fry in early May 2018, followed by Mr. Avenatti tweeting some of the secret IRS information.
Mr. Avenatti also served as a source for The Washington Post, which in May 2018 published a story based on the information.
Mr. Fry, at Mr. Avenatti’s instigation, was was in contact with a reporter at the New Yorker, who followed up The Post’s report with an article titled “Missing Files Motivated the Leak of Michael Cohen’s Financial Records.” That article was written by Ronan Farrow.
Cohen has pleaded guilty to tax, finance and campaign crimes.