Alternative Investment Report

Cohen details Trump ‘pressure campaign’ during FBI investigation: ‘Don’t flip’

Michael Cohen detailed to a New York jury on Tuesday what he called a “pressure campaign” by allies of former President Trump to remain loyal to his former client as he was undergoing an FBI investigation into matters involving the real estate mogul.

Prosecutors showed jurors emails which, along with Cohen’s testimony, indicate that people in Trump’s orbit were aiming to keep him on Trump’s side after his home, office and hotel were raided in 2018 as part of a federal investigation into work he conducted on behalf of Trump.

Cohen also detailed a scheme by another attorney, Robert Costello, to create a backchannel to Trump via former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who had just joined Trump’s legal team.

After Costello offered to set up the backchannel between Cohen and Trump through Giuliani, the attorney continued to pressure Cohen with “constant calls” and lengthy emails. 

Cohen said he told the lawyer he was speaking with a boutique law firm instead, which angered Costello.

“This was part of the pressure campaign,” Cohen said, “that anyone is lying to you, that you are still regarded, the president still supports you, do not speak, do not listen to what any of the journalists” are saying.

“Don’t flip. Don’t speak. Don’t cooperate,” he added.

Cohen says he ultimately decided “that it was about time to listen” to his family, rather than stay loyal to Trump by listening to Costello.

“I would not lie for President Trump anymore,” Cohen said from the stand, indicating he had changed his loyalty to his wife, kids and “the country.”

Jurors also heard details of the guilty pleas Cohen was ultimately dealt.