Onetime Trump attorney Michael Cohen has been one of the president’s closest aides.
Updated at 3:55 p.m. ET
Donald Trump’s onetime personal attorney, Michael Cohen, has reached a plea agreement with federal authorities, according to an individual familiar with the matter.
Cohen is scheduled to appear in court in New York City on Tuesday afternoon but the details were not clear as to what wrongdoing Cohen might admit, what — if any — cooperation he might offer or what punishment he might finally face.
Cohen, who worked for Trump on a range of real estate, political and personal matters — including payments to buy the silence of women who said they had sexual relationships with Trump — knows as much or more as anyone in the president’s inner circle.
Cohen hinted weeks ago that he might cooperate with federal prosecutors, but it isn’t clear where those negotiations stood on Tuesday.
Specifically, Cohen reportedly was willing to tell special counsel Robert Mueller that Trump authorized the much-discussed June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower in New York City between top Trump campaign aides and a delegation of Russians.
The president has repeatedly denied he had any advanced knowledge of that meeting.
Cohen, who described himself in past as Trump’s “pit bull,” became well known for his elbow-throwing and sometimes full-on threats as he worked to move the ball forward for Trump or protect him.
Cohen was an adviser and sometime media surrogate for Trump during the 2016 campaign but he also continued to handle sensitive assignments. Those included managing payments to women who said they’d had sexual relationships with Trump in order to keep them silent.
Trump and the White House have acknowledged that Trump reimbursed Cohen for at least one such payment but the president’s camp denies the underlying allegations about the affairs.
Cohen, evidently mindful about the need someday to substantiate what he says he’s done for Trump, recorded some conversations with the then-candidate in which they talk about the arrangements.
After Trump’s victory and his inauguration, Cohen did not come into the new administration with other insiders or family members. Instead Cohen stayed at arm’s length officially but promised a number of big clients that he could broker access to Trump and advocate on their behalf.
Cohen made millions of dollars from these arrangements but when they were revealed after the FBI raids on his home and office, the companies involved — which included ATT and pharma giant Novartis — were chastened.
Since the raids, which yielded a huge trove of documents, it has become clear that Cohen was facing the prospect of serious criminal liability in his federal case.
But there were no solid details on Tuesday as to precisely what he intends to admit in his plea and what the government may have extracted in exchange from whatever leniency it may offerShare