Ex-Trump Fixer Michael Cohen Agrees to Testify Before House Intelligence Panel After Legal Team Shake Up
January 29, 2019
NEW YORK — Michael Cohen has agreed to back-to-back congressional testimony and has found a new legal team.
The prison-bound former personal attorney to President Donald Trump will testify behind closed doors before at least two congressional committees next month — and he has hired new lawyers to represent him in those proceedings, a representative said Monday.
For starters, Cohen will testify before the House Intelligence Committee on Feb. 8, Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said. The grilling will not open to the public.
Then, on Feb. 12, Cohen will testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee, spokespeople confirmed earlier this month. Those proceedings will also be confidential.
Finally, on March 7, the 52-year-old former Trump fixer is expected to begin serving his three-year prison sentence.
Cohen has contracted a new legal team to represent him in the marathon testimonies and his continued cooperation in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, according to Lanny Davis, his personal attorney and top spokesman.
Guy Petrillo, a criminal defense attorney who has represented Cohen since the FBI raided his Manhattan office and homes last April, will be replaced by Michael Monico, a former federal prosecutor in Illinois, and Barry Spevack, a longtime white collar defense lawyer.
“We look forward to helping Mr. Cohen fulfill what he has told us is his only mission — to tell the truth as he knows it and to turn the corner on his past life and take ownership for his past mistakes by cooperating as best as he can with all governmental authorities in search of the truth,” Monico and Spevack said in a joint statement.
Cohen canceled his Feb. 7 testimony before the House Oversight Committee citing “ongoing threats” against his family from Trump and Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani. The threats relate to comments Trump and Giuliani have made about Cohen’s father-in-law, according to people familiar with the matter.
Despite Cohen’s qualms, Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Md., has signaled he may subpoena Cohen to testify before his panel as well. Contrary to intelligence proceedings, the oversight testimony could be public.
In announcing the Feb. 8 testimony, Schiff sympathized with Cohen’s expressed safety concerns.
“Efforts to intimidate witnesses, scare their family members, or prevent them from testifying before Congress are tactics we expect from organized crime, not the White House,” Schiff said in a statement. “These attacks on Mr. Cohen’s family must stop.”
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