Trump’s fixer Cohen parting with his lawyers
NEW YORK — Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s longtime personal fixer, will soon be parting from the lawyers who are representing him in a wide-ranging federal investigation into his business dealings, according to two people familiar with the case.
Cohen has not yet been approached by the prosecutors conducting the inquiry to seek his cooperation, according to two people briefed on the case. But as the investigation into him continues, and with his legal team in flux, the pressure on Cohen to cooperate may well intensify.
Cohen’s current lawyers — a three-man team from the firm of McDermott Will & Emery — are expected to stay with him for the rest of the week as they struggle to complete a laborious review of a trove of documents and data files seized from their client in a series of extraordinary earlymorning raids two months ago. That process is crucial because it will ultimately shape the contours of the evidence that the prosecutors will be able to use.
But after that review is finished, Cohen will seek new legal counsel, the people familiar with his case said. They added that the issues concern the payment of legal bills to his lawyers and their relative lack of experience with the federal prosecutors’ office in New York. It is not uncommon for clients — even those, like Cohen, who have not yet been charged with a crime — to change their lawyers in the middle of a case.
Cohen has been facing scrutiny for months, but the case burst into public view on April 9 when federal agents with search warrants descended on his office, apartment and hotel room, hauling away eight boxes of paperwork and about 30 cellphones, iPads and computers. The materials were seized on the orders of prosecutors in Manhattan who have been trying to determine whether Cohen broke the law in any of his business projects, including hush-money payments he made to two women who claim they had affairs with Trump.
The Cohen inquiry is separate from the one being run in Washington by the special counsel, Robert Mueller, who is looking into potential ties between Trump, his associates and Russia. But Trump’s lawyers have confronted the specter that the New Yorkbased investigation could persuade Cohen to cooperate with Mueller’s team.