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Recode Daily: Trump’s personal lawyer pleaded guilty and his campaign chief was convicted

Plus, Uber finally has a new CFO; Facebook is assigning users a “trust score”; a bit of Silicon Valley history is about to disappear.

Michael Cohen, former lawyer to U.S. President Donald Trump
Michael Cohen, former lawyer to U.S. President Donald Trump, exits the Federal Courthouse on August 21, 2018, in New York City.
Yana Paskova / Getty Images

Michael Cohen, President Trump’s personal lawyer and former “fixer,” pleaded guilty to multiple counts of tax evasion and bank fraud. In a pivotal moment in the investigation into the U.S. president, Cohen — who used to boast that he’d take a bullet for Trump — made the extraordinary admission that he paid two women, including porn actress Stormy Daniels, “at the direction of the candidate,” referring to Trump, to secure her silence about an affair she said she had with Trump; Cohen told the judge that the payment was “for the principal purpose of influencing the election” for president in 2016. The plea deal does not preclude Cohen from providing information to special counsel Mueller, who could recommend a reduction in Cohen’s sentence if he assisted in the investigation. [William K. Rashbaum, Maggie Haberman, Ben Protess and Jim Rutenberg / The New York Times]

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Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, was convicted on eight out of 18 counts in his bank and tax fraud trial. The jury was unable to reach a verdict on 10 of the 18 counts, and the judge declared a mistrial on those charges. The verdict was a victory for the special counsel, Robert Mueller, whose prosecutors built a case that Manafort hid millions of dollars in foreign accounts to evade taxes, and lied to banks repeatedly to obtain $20 million in loans. [Sharon LaFraniere / The New York Times]

Uber finally hired a CFO, after a three-year hunt. And Nelson Chai — most recently the CEO of insurance firm The Warranty Group — has his work cut out for him. The position has been vacant since former CFO Brent Callinicos left the company in 2015. Chai’s selection serves as an unofficial kickoff for the battle on Wall Street to take Uber public in late 2019. [Johana Bhuiyan / Recode]

Facebook has begun assigning its users a reputation score, designed to predict users’ trustworthiness on a scale from zero to one. The company developed the reputation assessment system over the past year as part of its ongoing efforts to combat the spread of fake news. The score is one signal among many that Facebook feeds into more algorithms to help it decide which stories should be reviewed. Meanwhile, now that Facebook and other platforms are prioritizing the removal of millions of fake accounts, bad actors are looking to hijack real accounts to avoid detection. [Elizabeth Dwoskin / The Washington Post]

Y Combinator is accepting all of the more than 15,000 applicants to its Startup School program after a glitch sent acceptance emails to those who had been rejected. The course normally hosts about 3,000 entrepreneurs. [Shona Ghosh / Business Insider]

Here’s a look at how Hollywood is racing to catch up with Netflix. The largest U.S. media conglomerates are reinventing part of their operations as a direct- to-consumer business model; the “Netflix effect” is the reason Disney and Comcast chased 21st Century Fox with such fervor, and was a big part of AT&T’s motivation for scooping up Time Warner. It’s the biggest shift in entertainment industry economics in decades, and it’s largely driven by a company that has been in the original content business for barely six years. [Cynthia Littleton / Variety]

Top stories from Recode

Iran — not just Russia — is trying to influence through Facebook.

Facebook said that it had shut down 652 pages, groups and accounts on Facebook and Instagram after receiving a tip from a third-party cybersecurity company.

There should be “consequences” for platforms that don’t remove people like Alex Jones, says Sen. Ron Wyden.

On the latest episode of Recode Decode, the senior U.S. senator from Oregon tells Kara Swisher that Jones and his conspiracy-minded site Infowars have long since “blown past the bounds of common decency.”

This is cool

A bit of Silicon Valley history — the Ampex sign — is about to disappear.

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