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Trump's ex-lawyer Michael Cohen gets new attorneys as he prepares for Feb 8 closed hearing in the House

Key Points
  • President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer and longtime fixer Michael Cohen has hired two new criminal defense lawyers as he prepares for testimony before a Senate committee next month.
  • Cohen's legal advisor, Lanny Davis, said Michael Monico and Barry Spevack "will represent Mr. Cohen going forward as he continues to cooperate with" special counsel Robert Mueller's team, federal prosecutors in New York City, the New York state attorney general's office and various congressional committees seeking Cohen's testimony.
  • Cohen is due to begin a three-year prison sentence for crimes that include ones related to a hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels and to lying to Congress about an aborted plan to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.
President Donald Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen exits Federal Court after entering a guilty plea in Manhattan, New York City, November 29, 2018
Andrew Kelly | Reuters

President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer and longtime fixer Michael Cohen has hired two new criminal defense lawyers, and dropped his old ones, as he prepares for testimony at a Senate committee next month.

Cohen's legal advisor, Lanny Davis, said the new lawyers, Michael Monico and Barry Spevack, "will represent Mr. Cohen going forward as he continues to cooperate with" special counsel Robert Mueller's team, federal prosecutors in New York City, the New York state attorney general's office, and various congressional committees seeking Cohen's testimony

No longer representing Cohen are Guy Petrillo and Amy Lester, who handled his case before and when he pleaded guilty to multiple crimes in November in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, Davis said.

The crimes include campaign finance violations for hush money payments Cohen admitted facilitating to two women, porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal. The women claim to have had sexual encounters with Trump. The president denies having sex with either of them.

Cohen also admitted to lying to Congress about details of an aborted plan to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.

Cohen is due to enter prison to begin his three-year sentence in early March.

The 52-year-old New York resident had been planning to testify voluntarily Feb. 7 before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. But he postponed that appearance last Wednesday, citing alleged threats against his family by Trump and Trump's current lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

However, on Thursday, the Senate Intelligence Committee subpoenaed him to appear before that committee on Feb. 12.

A person familiar with Cohen's decision said he changed lawyers specifically to prepare for his appearance before the Senate committee and possible appearances before other committees. On Monday, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said Cohen would appear before his panel in a closed-door hearing Feb. 8.

"These attacks on Mr. Cohen's family must stop," Schiff said in a statement. "Federal law prohibits efforts to discourage, intimidate, or otherwise pressure a witness not to provide testimony to Congress."

Monico is a former federal prosecutor in the Northern District of Illinois, and past president of the American Board of Criminal Lawyers.

Spevack has nearly four decades of experience as criminal defense lawyer.

In a joint statement, Monico and Spevack said: "We look forward to helping Mr. Cohen fulfill what he has told us is his only mission – to tell the truth as he knows it and to turn the corner on his past life and taking ownership for his past mistakes by cooperating as best as he can with all governmental authorities in search of the truth."