August 22, 2018 1:44 pm
Updated: August 23, 2018 12:51 am

Michael Cohen willing to cooperate with Russia probe, would refuse Trump’s pardon: lawyer

ABOVE: Michael Cohen's lawyer says client willing to cooperate fully with Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.


In the wake of Michael Cohen’s guilty plea to eight criminal charges, which could land him in jail for nearly six years, his lawyer says he would not accept a pardon from U.S. President Donald Trump.

Story continues below

Cohen, who is Trump’s former personal lawyer, pleaded guilty to charges of tax evasion, bank fraud and campaign finance violations on Tuesday. He also told the federal court that Trump had directed him to arrange payments ahead of the 2016 presidential election to silence two women who said they had affairs with Trump.

READ MORE: Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to 8 criminal charges. Here’s what they are

His attorney, Lanny Davis, said Cohen wanted no part in what he saw as the president’s potential to pardon him. Davis also said Trump should be concerned as Cohen is “going to tell the truth.”

“Under oath and in federal court, the prosecutors and Michael Cohen have said that Donald Trump committed a crime by directing and authorizing … that he was complicit in the criminal act of corrupting a democratic election, just the way Vladimir Putin did, and that is a felony and a serious crime,” Davis told Global News.

Davis said that the president has been accused of “definitive evidence” that he has committed a crime.

WATCH: With Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort guilty, was does it mean for Trump’s presidency?

He added that Cohen is willing to cooperate with Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Mueller’s team came across some of the evidence against Cohen during its investigation and referred the matter to federal prosecutors in New York.

Davis said his client has “knowledge on certain subjects” that would be of interest to Mueller.

WATCH: Trump says payments made by Cohen came ‘from me,’ references Obama campaign violation

“My observation is that the topics relating to hacking and the crime of hacking … that there are subjects that Michael Cohen could address that would be of interest to the special counsel,” Davis said.

His plea came as former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was found guilty on eight charges in a separate financial fraud trial in Virginia, stemming from a federal investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election and possible coordination with the Trump campaign.

READ MORE: Paul Manafort, former Trump campaign chairman, found guilty on 8 counts in fraud trial

Cohen, who once said he was so loyal that he would “take a bullet” for Trump, was intimately familiar with the president’s personal, business and political dealings for more than a decade.

Cohen initially denied making the payments to the two women who said they had affairs with Trump, but he changed his story as prosecutors closed in.

WATCH: U.S. senators weigh in on Cohen, Manafort cases

Davis said Cohen’s loyalty to Trump started to turn after watching Trump next to Russian president Vladimir Putin in Helsinki in June.

READ MORE: Donald Trump backtracks on comments made during summit with Vladimir Putin

“The president of the United States standing at the podium with one of the world’s most corrupt autocrats named Vladimir Putin, who everybody agrees, deliberately and intentionally corrupted our election and interfered on behalf of Donald Trump. Nobody disagrees with that, including his own appointees in the intelligence community,” Davis said.

“Only Trump disagrees with us and publicly sides with Vladimir Putin over the United States intelligence community. And Michael Cohen was traumatized by that moment.”

WATCH: Michael Cohen’s lawyer says client has information that ‘should be of interest’ for Mueller investigation

Trump lashes out at Cohen

Trump took to Twitter on Wednesday, lashing out at Cohen and accusing him of making up “stories in order to get a ‘deal”‘ from federal prosecutors.

READ MORE: Manafort and Cohen’s guilty verdicts could actually help Trump — here’s why

“If anyone is looking for a good lawyer, I would strongly suggest that you don’t retain the services of Michael Cohen!” Trump tweeted on Wednesday.

Trump also tweeted that: “Michael Cohen plead guilty to two counts of campaign finance violations that are not a crime. President Obama had a big campaign finance violation and it was easily settled!”

Trump was apparently referring to a fine levied on the former president’s 2008 campaign over missing and delayed disclosure of high-dollar donors in the final days of that race.

— With files from the Associated Press

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Report an error


Want to discuss? Please read our Commenting Policy first.