Michael Cohen asks House Democrats to help keep him out of prison
Heavily redacted records show FBI was investigating President Trump's former attorney before raid; chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge reports.
With a little more than a month to go until he is slated to report to prison, former Trump fixer Michael Cohen is asking House Democrats to help keep him out of the big house.
In a letter sent to lawmakers Thursday, Cohen's legal team said he was still sorting through documents in his personal files that might be of interest to House Democrats investigating President Trump, including emails, voice recordings, images and other documents on a hard drive.
The letter was sent to a veritable who's-who of Trump opponents, including Reps. Adam Schiff of California, Jerry Nadler of New York, Maxine Waters of California and Elijah Cummings of Maryland, all Democrats.
"To date, Mr. Cohen has located several documents that we believe have significant value to the various congressional oversight and investigation committees," wrote the attorneys, Lanny Davis, Michael Monico and Carly Chocron.
Davis had served as then-President Bill Clinton special counsel in the 1990s, including during Clinton’s impeachment. He supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.
The lawyers said if Cohen, Trump's former lawyer and fixer, has been going through the documents alone, without any help, and if he reports to prison May 6 as scheduled, he won't be able to finish reviewing the material.
They asked the lawmakers to write letters saying that Cohen was cooperating and that "the substantial trove of new information, documents, recordings, and other evidence he can provide requires substantial time with him and ready access to him by congressional committees and staff to complete their investigations and to fulfill their oversight responsibilities."
Michael Cohen hired former White House Special Counsel Lanny Davis to represent him in the criminal investigation. (Lanny Davis/Twitter)
If any lawmakers were to write such a letter, it could be useful if Cohen petitioned the court to delay his prison report date.
Cohen, who pleaded guilty last year to tax evasion, fraud, lying to Congress and campaign finance violations, already has received one short delay on medical grounds while he recovered from shoulder surgery.
In their letter to lawmakers, Cohen's lawyers said they were still holding out hope that federal prosecutors in New York not only would back another delay in the start of his prison term, but also would agree to reopen his case and advocate for a lighter sentence. He has been sentenced to a three-year term.
"It is our hope that the authorities in the Southern District of New York will consider this total picture of cooperation by Mr. Cohen, verified by your letter and the important new evidence he has made available or could make available to assist the government, and the particular facts involved here to grant Mr. Cohen a reduced term following the rules and procedures of the Southern District of New York."
Democrats, including Schiff, have signaled they've intended to keep investigating alleged collusion by the Trump campaign, even after Special Counsel Robert Mueller concluded a nearly two-year, $25 million investigation last month. Mueller found no evidence of any such collusion -- despite repeated efforts by Russia to conspire with the Trump team, according to a summary from Attorney General Bill Barr.
At a hearing this past February, Democrats questioning Cohen pushed an unproven theory that Trump, along with his family, could be compromised by the Russians. "Is it possible the whole family is conflicted or compromised with a foreign adversary in the months before the election?” Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the former chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, asked Cohen. Wasserman Schultz led the committee when its emails were hacked.
“Yes,” Cohen replied.
After the hearing, House Oversight Committee Republicans referred Cohen to the Justice Department for alleged perjury, claiming he lied during sworn testimony before the panel about a number of issues including his ambitions to work in the Trump administration and contracts with foreign entities. And, a top House Democrat told Fox News that Cummings, the Democrat oversight chair, probably would make a perjury referral.
A spokesman for the U.S. attorney in Manhattan declined to comment on the letter from Cohen's attorneys.
New York prosecutors previously advocated for a tough sentence, saying the crimes were serious and that the help Cohen had provided to ongoing investigations wasn't as valuable or as complete as Cohen had claimed.
Fox News' Alex Pappas and The Associated Press contributed to this report.