Cohen Pursued a Trump Pardon Last Year, His Lawyer Now Says
(Bloomberg) -- Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s former lawyer, had expressed interest in a pardon from the president in the months after federal investigators raided Cohen’s home and office last April, Cohen’s lawyer said Thursday.
Before July, Lanny Davis said in a statement, “Michael was open to the ongoing ‘dangling’ of a possible pardon by Trump representatives privately and in the media. During that time period, he directed his attorney to explore possibilities of a pardon at one point with Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani as well as other lawyers advising President Trump."
That was at odds with Cohen’s testimony last week, when he told the House Oversight and Reform Committee, “I have never asked for it, nor would I accept a pardon from President Trump.”
Republicans supporting Trump have pounced on Davis’s statement, saying that he had perjured himself before Congress yet again.
“Another perjury and more prison,” Giuliani said on Twitter Thursday.
In a text message on Wednesday night, Giuliani said he “never offered anyone a pardon” and always said the president “will not consider it now.” He said he “gave anyone and everyone same answer,” which was “no, no consideration at this time.”
Cohen, Trump’s longtime fixer, has pleaded guilty to nine felonies -- including lying to Congress in previous testimony -- and is due to report to prison in May. Before he goes, he has been spending hours supplying information to Congress and federal prosecutors in New York and Washington about alleged crimes committed by Trump, his family business and his inner circle.
Cohen has accused Trump of lying to banks and insurers in business dealings; to voters about his pursuit of a deal to build a luxury tower in Moscow even as the Russian government was attempting to intervene in the 2016 presidential campaign; and about hush-money payments to women alleging extramarital affairs. Cohen pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations tied to the hush-money payments.
Without mentioning those payments specifically, Trump tweeted on Thursday, “It was not a campaign contribution, and there were no violations of the campaign finance laws by me.”
Davis, Cohen’s lawyer, said his openness to a pardon before last July came at a time when he and Trump were under a joint defense agreement to share information as prosecutors dug into them. After Cohen quit the agreement, Davis said, he authorized Davis to announce that Cohen would never accept a pardon from Trump.
“That continues to be the case. And his statement at the Oversight hearing was true -- and consistent with his post-joint defense agreement commitment to tell the truth," Davis said.
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