WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump‘s former lawyer Michael Cohen will testify next week at a closed hearing of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee after postponing an appearance before another congressional panel, citing threats from Trump.
Cohen, who is set to go to prison in March after pleading guilty to crimes including campaign finance violations during Trump‘s 2016 election campaign, had expressed concern about testifying because of threats against his family from Trump.
“Mr. Cohen has relayed to the Committee his legitimate concerns for his own safety as well as that of his family, which have been fueled by improper comments made by the President and his lawyer,” Democratic Representative Adam Schiff, the panel’s chairman, said in a statement.
“These attacks on Mr. Cohen’s family must stop,” Schiff said.
Last week, Cohen cited threats from Trump for postponing testimony before an open hearing of the House of Representatives Oversight Committee set for Feb. 7. That hearing has not been rescheduled.
Cohen was subpoenaed last week by the Senate Intelligence Committee to appear in mid-February.
Cohen will be represented by a new team of lawyers after shaking up his legal team on Monday.
Michael Monico and Barry Spevack, partners in the same Chicago criminal defense law firm, will replace Manhattan attorneys Guy Petrillo and Amy Lester, who oversaw his guilty plea and last month’s sentencing in New York.
In addition to congressional testimony, Monico and Spevack will also represent Cohen as he cooperates with U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller‘s probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election as well as federal and state investigations in New York, Lanny Davis, another Cohen attorney, said in the statement.
In December, Cohen was sentenced by a federal judge in Manhattan to three years in prison for crimes including orchestrating hush payments to women in violation of campaign laws before the 2016 election.
Cohen said in the guilty plea that he was directed to make the payments by Trump. The president and his lawyers have argued the payments were a personal matter unrelated to the election.
Trump called Cohen a “rat” in a tweet last month for cooperating with prosecutors. Cohen had been Trump‘s self-described longtime “fixer” and once said he would take a bullet for the New York real estate developer.
In a Fox News interview this month, and other forums, Trump also suggested he had damaging information on Cohen’s father-in-law.
(This story corrects the spelling of Lanny Davis’ first name in paragraph 9)
(Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by Mohammad Zargham and Cynthia Osterman)
Ms. Jones is the Editor-in-Chief of PoliticusUSA and a Huffington Post contributor. She has covered President Barack Obama, 2016 Democratic candidate for president Hillary Clinton, VP Joe Biden, Senator Elizabeth Warren, First Lady Michelle Obama, former President Bill Clinton, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including regular appearances on The Ann Walker Show With Scott Nevins for UBN Radio and KPTR 1450’s California Woman 411, The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, The Richard Dawkins Foundation and more.
Sarah has won two Telly Awards and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. She graduated Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in Latin and Psychology, including studying the psychology of organized crime, with graduate studies in the psychology of linguistics and Latin poetry.