Jan. 17 (UPI) -- Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former personal attorney, acknowledged Thursday he paid money to a small tech firm to rig online polls in Trump's favor before the 2016 election.
The covert activity was first detailed Thursday in a report by The Wall Street Journal.
The Journal report said the owner of the tech firm, John Gauger, said Cohen in 2015 gave him between $12,000 and $13,000 in cash and a boxing glove supposedly worn by a Brazilian mixed arts fighter. Cohen had promised $50,000 for his work, Gauger said.
At the time, Gauger owned RedFinch Solutions and said he was hired to fix online polls to favor Trump amid his presidential campaign. Gauger is now chief information officer at Liberty University, where Trump supporter Jerry Falwell Jr. is president.
Cohen acknowledged the payment in a tweet Thursday.
"As for the Journal article on poll rigging, what I did was at the direction of and for the sole benefit of [Trump]," he wrote. "I truly regret my blind loyalty to a man who doesn't deserve it."
Cohen did not deny working with Gauger or the Journal report, but said he paid Gauger with a check, not cash.
The Journal cited a government document and a source in reporting Cohen received a $50,000 reimbursement from Trump for his work with RedFinch, paid out of the president's personal account.
Gauger said he was unable to manipulate a CNBC poll in January 2014 that would've ranked Trump as one of the country's top business leaders. He said Cohen asked him about a year later to rig a Drudge Report poll of potential Republican candidates. That poll ranked Trump fifth in the GOP pool with about 24,000 votes, Gauger said.
Neither the White House nor Trump immediately responded to the claims Thursday.
Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani questioned Cohen's credibility on the claims, due to the fact Cohen paid Gauger less than what he was reimbursed for by Trump.
Federal prosecutors first highlighted the reimbursement in August when they announced eight felony charges against Cohen. They included campaign finance violations over hush money paid to adult film star Stormy Daniels and a Playboy model -- both of whom said they had sexual affairs with Trump.
Cohen was sentenced in December to three years in prison after pleading guilty to the charges. U.S. District Judge William Pauley III also ordered him to pay $1.4 million in restitution, $500,000 forfeiture and a $50,000 fine.