Michael Cohen is making a last-ditch effort to delay his prison sentence, writing to congressional Democrats to help him stay out of prison in exchange for help in their investigations.
Lawyers for Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer and fixer, wrote to congressional Democrats on Thursday that their client had recently gained access to files seized in a highly publicized FBI raid in 2018 and that he could provide further insights to help in their investigations into Trump’s affairs. The files include more than 14 million documents, the lawyers write, and Cohen would need substantial time to sift through them and make them useful to lawmakers.
Cohen is due to start his prison sentence in May after pleading guilty to a litany of crimes in Washington and New York.
Cohen’s lawyers also asked Democrats to attest that Cohen has been a helpful witness in their investigations into Trump’s dealings. His lawyers hoped the endorsement from members of Congress could convince federal prosecutors in Manhattan that Cohen is necessary for their investigations, prompting a delayed and reduced sentence.
“It is also our hope, again expressed with all respect, that the Southern District of New York recognizes the need for Mr. Cohen to be readily available to Congress and to prosecutors conducting these investigations, such that his date to report for incarceration about four weeks from now will be substantially postponed while he is fully cooperating with prosecutors and Congress,” the letter reads, according to a copy obtained by The New York Times. The Times and CNN reported on the letter Thursday evening.
The lawyers write that they did not reach out to Republicans in Congress, citing Republican members’ constant attack on Cohen’s character during his testimonies before Congress. During a highly anticipated House Oversight Committee hearing, Cohen laid into Trump, characterizing him as a racist, cheat and serial liar. Republicans in turn accused Cohen of being an untrustworthy witness who has repeatedly lied in the past. Still, the lawyers wrote that they would be open to sending the letter to Republican members if they showed interest.
Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about the timeline of a since-abandoned Trump Tower project in Moscow. He was also convicted of financial crimes and campaign finance violations involving hush money payments to the pornographic actress Stormy Daniels, who alleged an earlier extramarital affair with Trump, which the president denies.
It’s unclear how helpful members of Congress could be in securing a delayed sentence. Prisoners have appeared before Congress to testify in the past, and the most lawmakers could do is write to U.S. District Judge William Pauley, who sentenced Cohen, to ask that the terms of his release be modified.
Darren Samuelsohn contributed to this report.
Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine