Donald Trump may soon be facing yet more legal jeopardy, after his longtime personal lawyer and “fixer” Michael Cohen signaled to the media on Tuesday that he is ready to talk to prosecutors and tell them everything he knows about Trump. It may possibly be as a way out of his own legal troubles, according to a CNN report on Tuesday afternoon.
After parting ways with his defense team last week, Cohen hired a new lawyer on Tuesday, according to a Vanity Fair report. That lawyer is Guy Petrillo, a former prosecutor in the Southern District of New York where Cohen is now being investigated. Petrillo specializes in money laundering and fraud cases, Vanity Fair reported.
Cohen was hired by Trump in 2006. According to one federal investigator who spoke to investigative journalist Seth Hettena (author of the recent book Trump/Russia: A Definitive History), Trump hired Cohen as a favor to Cohen’s father-in-law, Fima Schusterman. Schusterman was a New York taxi fleet owner and convicted money-launderer who may have been a “silent” business partner for Trump, handling the flow of Ukranian and Russian money into Trump’s businesses, according to an excerpt of the book published by Rolling Stone magazine.
Trump was taking money from Russian organized crime interests as early as 1985 when he sold five condominiums in the then newly built Trump Tower to Russian mobster David Bogatin. Bogatin selected Trump Tower because it was one of only two buildings in New York City that allowed buyers to purchase property anonymously, making it an ideal place for more launderers to legitimize their cash, according to a report in The New Republic.
Cohen quickly became one of Trump’s most trusted henchmen, acting as a “fixer” when Trump got into potentially embarrassing or damaging situations, which became clear when it was revealed earlier this year, as The Inquisitr noted, that Cohen arranged a $130,000 payoff to adult film star Stormy Daniels to keep her quiet about a sexual encounter she had with Trump.
“No issue was too big, too sticky or too oddball for me to tackle,” Cohen boasted in a now-defunct book proposal, as reported by The Daily Beast. “I saw it all, handled it all. And still do,” he said.
But on April 9, as also noted by The Inquisitr, federal investigators raided Cohen’s residences and office, seizing hundreds of thousands of documents. They even reassembled pages of shredded documents and decoded electronic messages that had been hidden by encryption, according to ABC News.
Now, rather than write a book about his time with Trump, Cohen is reportedly ready to share his experiences with federal investigators. A person described as being close to Cohen, and who presumably was carrying the message from Cohen himself, told The Hill that Cohen was willing to talk.
“He knows a lot of things about the president and he’s not averse to talking in the right situation. If they want information on Trump, he’s willing to give it.”
Cohen may know quite a lot about Trump’s Russia connections going back to when he was hired in 2006, and perhaps even before. On Tuesday, McClatchy News reported that starting in 2007, shortly after Cohen began working for Trump, Russian and Russia-linked mobsters and oligarchs, some now under United States sanctions, bought $109 million worth of Trump-branded properties — all with cash. The purchases extended into 2013 and were mostly made in southern Florida.
But Cohen may also have been linked to possible collusion with Russia by the Trump organization in the 2016 election campaign. He was named in the “Steele Dossier,” which claimed that Cohen made a trip to Prague, Czech Republic, in the summer of 2016 where he allegedly met with Russians involved in the hacking of Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton campaign email servers, stealing thousands of emails that were later posted on the site WikiLeaks. Cohen has denied the allegation.
Russia investigation Special Counsel Robert Mueller is reportedly investigating Cohen’s travels in the summer of 2016, and, as The Inquisitr noted, is believed to have evidence that Cohen may indeed have visited Prague during that period.