IRS analyst pleads not guilty to leaking Michael Cohen's bank account information

By Christine Weicher

/ CBS News

San Francisco — An Internal Revenue Service analyst charged with leaking bank account information of President Trump's former attorney Michael Cohen pleaded not guilty Wednesday in federal court in the Northern District of California.

John Fry, a 54-year-old IRS analyst, allegedly accessed a Treasury Department database last May and then disclosed information about Cohen's transactions to Michael Avenatti, a California-based attorney, and later to a New Yorker magazine reporter.

Avenatti at the time represented adult film star Stormy Daniels, one of two women who said Mr. Trump paid them to keep silent before the 2016 presidential election about past sexual relationships. Fry allegedly disclosed to Avenatti details of an October 2016 transfer of $130,000 to a bank account controlled by Cohen, who has said he paid that sum to Daniels.

Much of the case against Fry remains under seal, but an affidavit by a U.S. Treasury Department special agent presented on the record alleged Fry accessed information on more than $4.4 million in transferred funds that went into the accounts of Essential Consultants, the shell company Cohen set up and controlled.

Multiple transfers took place between 2016 and 2018 and are categorized as "suspicious credits" that include payments from foreign companies, including Korean Aerospace Industries and Columns Nova, "a company affiliated with a Russian oligarch that donated money to President Trump's inauguration fund," according the affidavit.

Fry faces five years in prison if convicted. His next court appearance is March 27.

A courtroom sketch of John Fry on March 13, 2019. Vicki Behringer

First published on March 13, 2019 / 7:42 PM

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