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Cohen Changes His Story

Trump's former lawyer chats with actor Tom Arnold
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 24, 2019 5:20 PM CDT
In this Nov. 29, 2018, file photo, Michael Cohen walks out of federal court in New York.   (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, File)

(Newser) – Michael Cohen is changing his tune. Chatting on the phone with actor Tom Arnold—who gave the Wall Street Journal a recording of the call—President Trump's ex-lawyer repudiated two of his guilty pleas, said he's lost "everything," and complained about getting little in return for cooperating with prosecutors and lawmakers. "You know, I lost my business," he said in the March 25 call. "...All for what? Because Trump, you know, had an affair with a porn star? That's really what this is about." Cohen pleaded guilty in August to several charges, including two he's now denying: tax evasion, and fibbing on his personal finances when applying for a $500,000 home-equity credit line. But he pleaded guilty, he said, because "they had me on campaign finance" and he had placed money in his wife's bank account without disclosing it to the IRS. His reaction to that and other things:

  • He loves her: "I love this woman, and I am not going to let her get dragged into the mud of this crap," Cohen said of his wife, Laura Shusterman. "And I never thought the judge was going to throw a three-year fricking sentence."
  • Bad karma: "Look at what’s happening to Avenatti—it's called karma boomerang," Cohen said of former Stormy Daniels attorney Michael Avenatti, who's now up on multiple charges. "The guy lied about me every single day, right? And the world loved it."
  • Trump: "I always knew, you know, who he was and what he was and so on, but it didn't really matter because it's—he's a small microcosm of New York real estate," said Cohen of his old boss.
  • Kim Jong Un: "They put sanctions on North Korea and he removes them because he likes Kim Jong Un, because he's 'my friend'?" said Cohen of White House negotiations with North Korea. "What kind of nonsense is this?"
  • Arnold's reaction: "You are a hero and you're not alone," said the actor, who claims he recorded the call without Cohen knowing.
Cohen is due to report to one of "America's 10 cushiest prisons" on May 6 in New York state, CNN reports. (See what Cohen has offered to Democrats.)

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