- Lucas Jackson/Reuters
- Rudy Giuliani, the attorney for President Donald Trump, said the president’s longtime lawyer Michael Cohen is “not cooperating” with federal investigators.
- He said that Trump’s legal team wouldn’t care if he did, because Trump “did nothing wrong.”
Rudy Giuliani, the personal attorney for President Donald Trump, told Fox News Wednesday that the president’s longtime lawyer Michael Cohen is “not cooperating” with federal investigators.
Giuliani’s comment came hours after multiple reports said Cohen will soon break from his legal team as he faces a potential prosecution in the Southern District of New York, with some reports suggesting that he was contemplating cutting a deal with the government.
“I checked into this last night,” Giuliani told Fox News host Laura Ingraham. “It’s not so. He’s not cooperating, nor do we care because the President did nothing wrong.”
Giuliani, the former New York City mayor and US attorney, added that Trump’s legal team is “very comfortable” if Cohen cooperates because “there’s nothing that he can cooperate about with regard to President Trump.”
“I am absolutely certain of that from everything I know about that investigation,” he said.
Earlier Wednesday, multiple reports said Cohen’s lawyers were set to stop representing him in the case. Sources told ABC News that this change made it likely that Cohen would cooperate with federal prosecutors, who are investigating him for possible campaign-finance violations, bank fraud, and wire fraud following the FBI’s raids on his home, office, and hotel room in April.
Attorneys Stephen Ryan, Joseph Evans, and Todd Harrison have represented Cohen in the investigation, which has so far featured several hearings before US District Judge Kimba Wood related to the documents seized by the FBI. The attorneys had not yet filed to Wood a notice to withdraw from the case.
The New York Times reported that Cohen’s legal team is expected to stay with him until the end of the week as they race to finish reviewing the vast array of documents, a trove of which still had to be reviewed for privilege designations. In a late May hearing, Wood ordered Cohen’s team to complete that review by Friday. The Times reported that once the review is complete, Cohen will seek new counsel.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Cohen is seeking a lawyer with close ties to the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. Meanwhile, multiple reports said Cohen had not yet decided whether to cooperate with prosecutors, and had not met with prosecutors in hopes of cutting a deal.
‘I hope they’re not using him as a pawn‘
At the center of Cohen’s troubles is a $130,000 hush-money payment that he facilitated to porn star Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, just weeks before the 2016 presidential election to keep her quiet about her allegation of a 2006 affair with Trump. the FBI sought documents related to that payment and other similar agreements with women during the April raids.
- Jonathan Ernst/Reuters
Michael Avenatti, the attorney for Daniels, told Business Insider Wednesday that the reported “abandonment” of Cohen by his attorneys “is an unmitigated disaster for” Trump and his longtime lawyer.
“I think the likelihood of Mr. Cohen immediately flipping on the president just went through the roof,” Avenatti said. “Our case gets better every day.”
Meanwhile, Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz told Business Insider on Wednesday that the change may signal that Cohen is seeking an attorney who specializes in dealmaking.
“It certainly could signal an attempt to make a friendly deal with the prosecutor,” Dershowitz said.
Trump has insisted that Cohen would not flip on him.
“Most people will flip if the Government lets them out of trouble, even if……..it means lying or making up stories,” Trump tweeted in April. “Sorry, I don’t see Michael doing that despite the horrible Witch Hunt and the dishonest media!”
Trump has not ruled out pardoning Cohen.
In a May interview with Business Insider, Giuliani said Trump’s legal team wasn’t terribly concerned about developments in the Cohen investigation because “it doesn’t really affect us.”
“I hope they’re not using him as a pawn, that would be really unfair to him,” Giuliani said, suggesting that the government could be pursuing Cohen in an effort to implicate Trump. “But, you know, if history is any guide here, that may be what they’re doing.”
Giuliani said he has only seen “lots of speculation” but “no proof of any kind of evidence of any kind” that Cohen committed any wrongdoing.