- Drew Angerer/Getty Images
- One of Michael Cohen’s business partners is now cooperating with the government, The New York Times reported.
- That could increase the likelihood of Cohen’s cooperation, The Times wrote.
- The business associate is known as “the Taxi King.”
The Times wrote that his cooperation could be used as leverage to get Cohen, President Donald Trump’s longtime lawyer, to work with special counsel Robert Mueller in his investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and whether the Trump campaign engaged in any collusion with Russian officials.
Evgeny Freidman, a Russian immigrant who earned the nickname “the Taxi King,” will avoid jail time under the agreement and will assist federal and state prosecutors in investigations, The Times reported. Freidman reached the agreement with New York state prosecutors.
Cohen is currently under criminal investigation in the Southern District of New York. He has not been charged with a crime. Mueller initially reviewed Cohen’s conduct prior to referring it to the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. Cohen’s next court date in that case is set for May 30.
The FBI raided Cohen’s home, office, and hotel room last month, and those documents are currently undergoing a review, which is being overseen by a special master to determine what falls under attorney-client privilege and what can be used by the government in a potential prosecution of Cohen. Federal investigators sought Cohen’s business documents in the raids.
Cohen is a significant operator in the taxi business, owning a substantial number of taxi medallions, and was partners with Friedman for years.
As The Times wrote, Trump’s lawyers know there is a strong chance that the investigation into his businesses leads to Cohen cooperating with the government. Freidman’s cooperation only makes the chances of that stronger, the publication noted.
Freidman faced felony charges in New York of criminal tax fraud and grand larceny.