Cohen received a mysterious offer from lawyers claiming to be Rudy Giuliani's allies — and investigators want to know more: report
On Wednesday, ABC News reported that prosecutors are looking into alleged discussions between two New York lawyers affiliated with President Donald Trump's lead counsel Rudy Giuliani and the president's former personal attorney Michael Cohen in the weeks just after the FBI raided Cohen's law office and home last April:
The outreach came just as Cohen, who spent more than a decade advocating for Trump, was wrangling with the most consequential decision of his life; whether to remain in a joint defense agreement with the president and others, or to flip on the man to whom he had pledged immutable loyalty. The sources described the lawyers’ contact with Cohen as an effort to keep him in the tent.
The sources familiar with the contacts said the two lawyers first reached out to Cohen late in April of last year and that the discussions continued for about two months. The attorneys, who have no known formal ties to the White House, urged Cohen not to leave the joint defense agreement, the sources told ABC News, and also offered a Plan B. In the event Cohen opted to exit the agreement, they could join his legal team and act as a conduit between Cohen and the president’s lawyers.
Prosecutors are reportedly interested in whether these discussions were intended to influence Cohen or even possibly to offer him a presidential pardon, although it is unclear what, if any, criminal activity they believe arose from this.
In July of last year, Cohen terminated his participation in the joint defense agreement. The following month, he pleaded guilty to eight counts of tax evasion, campaign finance violations, and false financial statements. The charges stem from his facilitation of hush payments to women that Trump slept with, to keep the stories buried ahead of the 2016 presidential election.
Cohen, who testified before the House Oversight Committee last week on Trump's alleged involvement in his criminal activity, and followed up with a closed-door hearing with the House Intelligence Committee today, previously declined to tell lawmakers about his most recent communications with the president, saying, "Unfortunately, this topic is something that's being investigated right now by the Southern District of New York, and I've been asked by them not to discuss and not to talk about these issues."