NEW YORK—Federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York are “preparing paperwork” to arrest Michael Cohen, the longtime personal attorney to Donald Trump, according to a report of the cable news network MSNBC on Wednesday morning. Tur later said on the air that the arrest of Cohen could be coming by Friday of this week.
At the same time, Cohen’s lawyers are dropping him, according to a report on Wednesday. With Cohen’s legal situation quickly falling apart for him, he is now “likely to cooperate with federal investigators,” ABC’s George Stephanopoulos reported.
Cohen has also served as Trump’s “fixer,” helping to get Trump out of potentially embarrassing or legally perilous situations, and it was, of course, Cohen who arranged for the $130,000 “hush money” payment to AVN Hall of Famer Stormy Daniels just days before the 2016 presidential election. The payoff was intended to buy Daniels’ silence about a sexual encounter she had with Trump in 2006. When federal agents raided Cohen’s office and residences on April 9, they reportedly seized documents related to the Daniels payoff.
Two Democratic members of congress in March, one month before the raids on Cohen, asked the FBI to investigate whether the payoff to Daniels was a felony, saying that making secret payments designed to silence persons who may possess damaging information on candidates in an election is illegal.
Just last week, Daniels and her attorney, Michael Avenatti, filed a new lawsuit against Cohen alleging that he improperly conspired with Daniels’ previous lawyer, Keith Davidson, to arrange the hush money payment, and to book Daniels on the Fox News Sean Hannity program for an interview earlier this year in which she would presumably deny that she had sex with Trump.
If, indeed, Cohen decides to cooperate with the federal investigation in hopes of getting some or all of any pending charges against him dropped, he could reveal what Trump knew about the payment to Daniels and when he became aware of the “hush” agreement—or even if Trump himself authorized the payoff. But according to Vanity Fair reporter Gabriel Sherman, the report that Cohen is willing to “flip” may have been planted by Cohen himself—but instead may be an attempt to get Trump’s attention.
“Person close to Cohen says he hasn’t flipped yet, ‘he’s sending up a smoke signal to Trump: I need help,’” .
MSNBC reported on Wednesday afternoon that sources said that Cohen had not yet spoken with the SDNY prosecutors.
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