Cohen paid to rig online polls in Trump’s favor, report says

Michael Cohen said Trump told him to do it

Cohen paid to rig online polls in Trump’s favor, report says
In this Dec. 12, 2018, photo, Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former lawyer, leaves federal court after his sentencing in New York. Trump has gone from denying knowledge of any payments to women who claim to have been mistresses to apparent acknowledgement of those hush money settlements – though he claims they wouldn't be illegal. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle) (Source: Craig Ruttle)

(CNN/AP) - Michael Cohen is said to have paid thousands to rig online polls to favor Donald Trump and his presidential campaign, according to the Wall Street Journal.

In response to the reporting, Cohen said his actions were “at the direction of and for the sole benefit of Donald J. Trump. I truly regret my blind loyalty to a man who doesn’t deserve it.”

The newspaper said Cohen paid the head of a small technology company between $12,000 to $13,000 for activities related to Trump’s campaign, things like trying unsuccessfully to manipulate two online polls in 2014 and 2015 in Trump’s favor.

The owner of the tech company, John Gauger, said Cohen promised him $50,000 for work that included using computers to boost votes for Trump in a 2014 CNBC poll on top business leaders, as well as a 2015 poll of potential presidential candidates.

Gauger is also the chief information officer at Liberty University in Virginia.

He also created a Twitter account called @womenforcohen that praised Cohen’s looks and character. The Twitter handle also promoted Cohen’s statements about Trump’s run for the White House.

Gauger said he was paid in cash, although he wasn’t fully paid for the work.

The Wall Street Journal said Cohen denies paying in cash, instead saying he gave the owner a check.

The Trump organization did not comment.

Cohen remains on track to testify before Congress on Feb. 7.

Copyright 2019 CNN and the Associated Press. All rights reserved. Gray Television Group, Inc., contributed to this report.