President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer and longtime fixer Michael Cohen has hired two new criminal defense lawyers, and dropped his old ones, as he prepares for testimony at a Senate committee next month.
Cohen’s legal advisor, Lanny Davis, said the new lawyers, Michael Monico and Barry Spevack, “will represent Mr. Cohen going forward as he continues to cooperate with” special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, federal prosecutors in New York City, the New York state attorney general’s office, and various congressional committees seeking Cohen’s testimony
No longer representing Cohen are Guy Petrillo and Amy Lester, who handled his case before and when he pleaded guilty to multiple crimes in November in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, Davis said.
The crimes include campaign finance violations for hush money payments Cohen admitted facilitating to two women, porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal. The women claim to have had sexual encounters with Trump. The president denies having sex with either of them.
Cohen also admitted to lying to Congress about details of an aborted plan to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.
Cohen is due to enter prison to begin his three-year sentence in early March.
The 52-year-old New York resident had been planning to testify voluntarily Feb. 7 before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. But he postponed that appearance last Wednesday, citing alleged threats against his family by Trump and Trump’s current lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.
A person familiar with Cohen’s decision said he changed lawyers specifically to prepare for his appearance before the Senate committee and possible appearances before other committees. On Monday, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said Cohen would appear before his panel in a closed-door hearing Feb. 8.
“These attacks on Mr. Cohen’s family must stop,” Schiff said in a statement. “Federal #law prohibits efforts to discourage, intimidate, or otherwise pressure a witness not to provide testimony to Congress.”