Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s longtime private attorney, has been abandoned by his lawyers as the pressure mounts on him to flip on the president and begin coordinating with investigators.
Cohen is under investigation for bank fraud and campaign finance violations. Cohen is reportedly the one who paid adult star Stormy Daniels $130,000 just before the 2016 presidential election to keep her mouth shut about an alleged affair she had with Trump.
In April, prosecutors seized millions of documents from Cohen’s properties in New York, leading Trump to compare the raids as similar to a break-in and a “disgraceful situation.” Trump has continued to lash out against the federal raids, tweeting that “Attorney-client privilege is dead!”
Following this, Cohen’s lawyers, Stephen Ryan and Todd Harrison of the Washington and New York firm McDermott, Will & Emery LLP, appealed that they should be allowed to review the documents seized from their client before federal investigators get to review them. Judge Kimba Wood granted the lawyers until June 15 to review the documents under the supervision of federal Judge Barbara Jones.
Jones has concluded that of the 300,000 documents reviewed, only 162 documents fall under the gambit of attorney-client privilege. Now following the review and the pending transfer of documents to federal prosecutors, ABC News reports that Michael Cohen’s lawyers have decided not to represent him any further.
The fact that Cohen has been dropped by his attorneys could ring a sinister alarm bell for Donald Trump, according to Mitchell Epner, a former assistant U.S. attorney for the District of New Jersey. Epner said that it is highly likely that faced with a long prison sentence, Michael Cohen — who had once claimed that he would be willing to “take the bullet” for the president — will flip and begin to coordinate with prosecutors.
Recalling a number of cases regarding drug cartels where convicts would never strike a deal and instead serve lengthy prison sentences, thus gaining them the moniker of “stand-up guys,” Epner said Cohen doesn’t appear to be that kind of a person — willing to serve a long prison sentence to prove his loyalty to Donald Trump.
“I don’t know whether or not Michael Cohen is a tough guy. But when I hear things in the media like, ‘How is this going to affect my family — I need to take care of them,’ if he is actually asking those questions — if that’s real and not fake — then it seems extraordinarily likely that he flips. And if he flips, everyone he’s associated with has exposure. And I’m confident that almost certainly, there is a ‘there’ there.”
Even people close to Cohen have told journalists that Cohen is worried for his family and is likely to buckle under the pressure. A source told AP that Cohen is considering coordination, while a Trump aide said that he would expect Cohen to cooperate with investigators if they have found something big to convict him with.