Former Trump Attorney Michael Cohen gives a short statement to members of the press as he arrives to meet with the Manhattan District Attorney on February 08, 2023 in New York City.
Michael M. Santiago | Getty Images
Michael Cohen, the former personal lawyer to Donald Trump, said Friday that he believes he will “very soon” be called to testify before a New York grand jury collecting evidence in a criminal probe of the former president.
Cohen’s comments came as he was en route to meet for the 18th time with the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, which is conducting the investigation related to hush-money payments paid to two women who said they had sexual relationships with Trump.
A former top advisor to Trump, Kellyanne Conway, met with the DA’s office on Wednesday, The New York Times reported.
“I look forward to speaking and to being presented before the grand jury,” Cohen told NBC News and other reporters.
“I have some work to do today, but I suspect it will be very soon,” Cohen added.
Cohen arranged payments to porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal to keep them quiet before the 2016 presidential election about the alleged liaisons with Trump, whose campaign at the time was being run by Conway.
In Daniels’ case, Cohen paid her $130,000, but in McDougal’s case, the then-parent company of the supermarket tabloid The National Enquirer paid her $150,000.
Cohen in his 2020 memoir wrote that when he had paid Daniels, “I called Trump to confirm that the transaction was completed, and the documentation all in place, but he didn’t take my call — obviously a very bad sign, in hindsight.”
But Conway “called and said she’d pass along the good news,” Cohen wrote.
Cohen pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges in 2018 related to the payoffs to the two women and to other illegal acts.
Trump has denied having sex with either woman and any other wrongdoing.
The Times this week reported that former Enquirer publisher David Pecker and former Enquirer editor Dylan Howard have both testified to the grand jury, as have two employees of Trump’s company, the Trump Organization. So has Keith Davidson, a former lawyer for Daniels, the newspaper reported.
Cohen’s lawyer, Lanny Davis, on Friday complimented Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg and “his team of prosecutors.”
“We have been very impressed with how meticulous and detailed with documents and text messages and lots of evidence built around this narrative regarding Stormy Daniels and the hush money,” Davis said, according to NBC News.
Asked by one reporter if he is confident Bragg will obtain an indictment in the case, Davis said, “Won’t use the indictment word, I’ll wait to see.”
“But there’s no doubt the way they’re going about this,” Davis said. “Michael’s the key to all of this … and he is going to be the principal witness, and Mr. Trump is finally going to be held accountable in front of a jury of his peers,” Davis said. “Then we’ll see whether he’s guilty or innocent.”
A lawyer for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In addition to the Manhattan DA’s probe, Trump faces three other criminal investigations.
In Atlanta, the local district attorney is investigating Trump, his campaign lawyers and others in connection with his efforts to overturn his loss to President Joe Biden in that state in the 2020 election.
And in Washington, D.C., special counsel Jack Smith is overseeing a Department of Justice probe of Trump’s attempt to undo Biden’s victory in the Electoral College, and his actions leading up to and including the Jan. 6, 2021, riot by his supporters that interrupted a joint session of Congress certifying Biden had won.
Smith is also investigating whether Trump obstructed justice and otherwise broke the law in taking hundreds of government documents, many of them classified, when he left office, and storing them at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida.
Trump denies wrongdoing in all of those cases.