Politics

Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen tells Tom Arnold he's not guilty of some crimes that he pleaded guilty to

Key Points
  • President Donald Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen reportedly told actor Tom Arnold that he is not guilty of some of the crimes to which he pleaded guilty to last year.
  • The Wall Street Journal reported that Arnold recorded Cohen telling him that he did not evade taxes and that a criminal charge related to misstating his financial status in his home equity line of credit was "a lie."
  • The other crimes that Cohen admitted committing related to facilitating hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal, to keep them quiet about their claims of having sexual affairs with Trump, and to lying to Congress about details of an ultimately aborted plan to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.
Michael Cohen, former attorney to President Donald Trump testifies before the House Oversight Committee at the Rayburn House Office Building on Wednesday February 27, 2019 in Washington, DC.
Matt McClain | The Washington Post | Getty Images

President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen told actor Tom Arnold last month that he is not guilty of some of the crimes to which he pleaded guilty to last year after breaking with Trump.

The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that Arnold recorded Cohen in a March 25 phone call telling him that he did not evade taxes, and saying that a criminal charge related to misstating his financial status for his home equity line of credit was "a lie."

VIDEO2:1602:16
Cohen testimony ups chance of attempt for Trump impeachment: analyst

The paper's story online included audio portions of that 36-minute call, which the Journal said Arnold had provided. Arnold told the paper he recorded Cohen, who is due to begin serving a three-year prison sentence on May 6, without his knowledge.

"I'm a man all alone, and I shouldn't be alone anymore after more than 100 hours of testimony," Cohen said, referring to his cooperation with special counsel Robert Mueller, other federal prosecutors and multiple congressional committees.

Cohen, 52, told Arnold on that call that he pleaded guilty to those charges because federal prosecutors in New York City "had me on campaign finance" — another crime that he had pleaded to — and because those prosecutors were targeting his wife.

"I love this woman, and I am not going to let her get dragged into the mud of this crap," Cohen said. "And I never thought the judge was going to throw a three-year fricking sentence."

The actor has produced a series of online videos entitled "Trump Tapes with Tom Arnold," which offered viewers "the search for the truth behind the many rumored and potentially damaging recordings of President Donald Trump."

Cohen, like other criminal defendants, told a judge last year when he pleaded guilty that he was doing so because he was actually guilty of the crimes.

Cohen's lawyer Lanny Davis said Wednesday that "Michael has taken responsibility for his crimes and will report to prison to serve his sentence. While he cannot change the past, he is making every effort to reclaim his life and do right by his family and country. He meant no offense by his statements."

Davis later issued another statement, saying, "Nothing said by Mr. Cohen to Tom Arnold contradicts Mr. Cohen's previous defense attorney, Guy Petrillo, in his sentencing memorandum to the presiding federal US District Court Judge William H. Pauley III back in December."

"I would also add the important words used by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and others, in describing Michael Cohen's cooperation and testimony as "credible" addressing the "core" issues involved in his investigation," Davis said.

Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to eight federal crimes, five of which were for evading personal income taxes, and one connected to his home equity line of credit.

VIDEO1:5701:57
Trump says Cohen 'lied a lot' in 'fake hearing'

The other crimes were related to Cohen having facilitated hush money payments to two women, porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal, to keep them quiet about their claims of having sexual affairs with Trump. Cohen also admitted to lying to Congress about details of an ultimately aborted plan to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.

During his call with Arnold, Cohen complained, "My family's happiness, and my law license ... I lost my business…my insurance, my bank accounts, all for what? All for what? Because Trump, you know, had an affair with a porn star?"

"That's really what this is about."

Trump has denied having sex with either Daniels or McDougal.

The White House had no immediate comment on the Journal's story. Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller, declined to comment.

Trump's current lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, blasted Cohen on Twitter.