Trump's former personal lawyer says his 'silence is broken'

Michael Cohen

ABC News' George Stephanopoulos interviewing Michael Cohen, who was formerly an attorney for President Donald Trump. Cohen once again responded, "To be crystal clear, my wife, my daughter and my son, and this country have my first loyalty".

Cohen has recently retained a new attorney, Guy Petrillo, a highly-regarded former prosecutor who once led the criminal division of the same U.S. Attorney's office in Manhattan that is conducting the criminal investigation of Cohen. He also told Stephanopoulos that if he is forced to choose between protecting Trump and his family, his family will be his "first priority".

As Epner laid out, the thing Trump most "has to fear" is Cohen testifying against him.

Wow, he really is putting America first.

Petrillo is a well-respected former prosecutor who has ties to the same USA attorney's office that is investigating Cohen. "His issue is that he doesn't want to be criminally charged or sent to jail and have his family destroyed", the source said.

If Cohen truly wanted to cooperate with prosecutors as he said in the interview, he would not be doing an interview.

The US president has subsequently conceded that Mr Cohen was paid back, despite initially denying knowledge of the payment. "He wouldn't have to do this complicated dance in the media".

In his first in-depth interview since those federal raids, Cohen offered some of the most intriguing clues thus far.

"Some people are speculating that this is Michael Cohen making a final threat/plea to POTUS for a pardon", Mitchell Epner, an attorney at Rottenberg Lipman Rich who was previously an assistant USA attorney for the District of New Jersey, told Business Insider.

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Cohen also told ABC he did not agree with President Trump's recent tweet repeating Vladimir Putin's claim that Russian Federation did not interfere in the election. He also hinted that he would soon air Trump's dirty laundry. Cohen's phone calls in the weeks leading up to the Federal Bureau of Investigation raid were monitored, if not wiretapped, which makes attempting to privately speak to Trump over the phone or in person very hard.

Cohen's statements to ABC included, "I will not be a punching bag in anyone else's defense strategy".

If that happens, Cohen insisted that he will not allow himself to become a "villain" through Trump or his representatives.

Prosecutors are investigating Mr Cohen for possible bank and tax fraud, possible campaign law violations linked to a $130,000 payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, and other matters related to Mr Trump's campaign, a person familiar with the investigation has told Reuters. The FBI seized roughly 4 million documents from the lawyer in April raids on his home, office, and hotel room.

"If their interests are not aligned, the exchange of information between them is not protected by common interest doctrine and thus they're going to waive privilege every time they talk to teach other", Mariotti said.

Cohen has not yet been charged with any crimes.

It's not clear whether Cohen has information that could help Mueller's investigation on possible collusion with Russian Federation and obstruction of justice.

This should worry Trump, for whom Cohen said he would "take a bullet", and on whose behalf Cohen has made nasty legal threats in previous years.

Cohen's in the middle of changing attorneys, recently hiring former federal prosecutor Guy Petrillo to take over his defense. There's been no indication that he's been in contact with prosecutors about his client cooperating.

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