Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former longtime personal attorney, has tentatively reached a plea agreement with federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York, ABC News has learned.
From ABC News:
Given Cohen’s proximity to Trump during the past decade, including throughout his meteoric rise from mogul and reality television star to the White House, observers consider him one of most potent legal thorns to confront Trump’s presidency since he took office.
“The guy who knows where all the bodies are buried,” said Seth Hettena, an author and veteran journalist who has chronicled Trump’s business career.
The investigation into Cohen was referred to New York’s Southern District by special counsel Robert Mueller, and if Cohen agrees to cooperate, the information he provides could benefit the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. But it remains unclear if he has committed to cooperate.
Cohen’s relationship with Trump dates to the mid-2000’s after Cohen, who owned condominiums in multiple Trump buildings in New York, took Trump’s side in a legal dispute with the condo board at Trump World Tower on Manhattan’s East Side. Cohen eventually went to work for the Trump Organization, where he held the positions of executive vice president and special counsel to Donald J. Trump.
“Michael Cohen has great insight into the real estate market,” Trump said of Cohen in a 2007 New York Post interview. “He has invested in my buildings because he likes to make money – and he does.”
In addition to working inside the Trump Organization as a lawyer and problem solver, Cohen built a diverse portfolio of investments.
At one point that included running 260 yellow cabs with a Ukrainian-born partner – a partnership that ended in 2012. He also invested millions in real estate, often turning a tidy profit. For instance, a building he bought in 2011 on the Lower East Side of Manhattan for $2.1 million, sold three years later for $10 million in cash.
The FBI raid on Cohen’s home and office in April gave the most significant indication his business dealings could become a legal problem for him.