NEW YORK — Michael Cohen, who once served as President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, is walking back claims he made as part of his plea bargain according to a report published by the Wall Street Journal.
Cohen, who pled guilty to eight criminal charges, including campaign-finance violations regarding hush-money payments made to adult film star Stormy Daniels and Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal, now claims he did not commit tax evasion and that a criminal charge related to a home-equity line of credit was “a lie.”
“There is no tax evasion,” the Journal claims Cohen said during a secretly recorded phone call with former television star Tom Arnold, a vocal critic of the president. “And the Heloc? I have an 18% loan-to-value on my home. How could there be a Heloc issue? How? Right? . . . It’s a lie.”
During the call, Cohen, who is preparing to face a three-year prison sentence in exchange for testifying against the president, said he felt like a man “all alone.”
“You would think that you would have folks, you know, stepping up and saying, ‘You know what, this guy’s lost everything,'” Cohen said.
“My family’s happiness, and my law license. I lost my business . . . my insurance, my bank accounts, all for what? All for what? Because Trump, you know, had an affair with a porn star? That’s really what this is about.”
Cohen’s attorney, Lanny Davis, told CNN in response to the report that nothing Cohen said to Arnold during the course of the phone conversation “contradicts Mr. Cohen’s previous defense attorney, Guy Petrillo, in his sentencing memorandum to the presiding federal US District Court Judge William H. Pauley III back in December.”
“I would also add the important words used by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and others, in describing Michael Cohen’s cooperation and testimony as ‘credible’ addressing the ‘core’ issues involved in his investigation,” Davis said.
According to the Journal report, Cohen told Arnold that he agreed to the plea deal in order to protect his wife.
“I love this woman,” Cohen said. “I am not going to let her get dragged into the mud of this crap, and I never thought the judge was going to throw a three-year fricking sentence.”
Cohen is scheduled to begin his prison sentence on May 6.