New York Magazine: 'Michael Cohen Is Already Undermining the Trump Prosecution'

April 6th, 2023 10:03 AM

When a prosecutor takes the historically unprecedented step of indicting an American former president, especially one who is also a presidential candidate, then he better make damn sure he has a rock solid case. Unfortunately it appears that New York District Attorney has such an incredibly weak case that even very liberal New York magazine in its Intelligencer section has serious doubts about it, as  you can see revealed by Ankush Khardori on Friday in an article with the downbeat title of "Michael Cohen Is Already Undermining the Trump Prosecution."

To emphasize the point the subtitle states, "Immediately after the indictment, he says he didn’t really mean his guilty plea."

It turns out it did not take long at all for Michael Cohen to throw a little wrench in the criminal prosecution of Donald Trump.

Late Thursday night, just hours after the news broke that the Manhattan district attorney’s office had obtained the indictment, Cohen decided this would be a great time to take advantage of the national spotlight and sit down for an interview with CNN’s Don Lemon and Alisyn Camerota. For several months, he has been interviewed by prosecutors and he’s testified before the grand jury about how Trump allegedly broke the law by directing Cohen to pay hush money to Stormy Daniels in 2016, which would likely make him a key witness against Trump at trial. Much of the CNN discussion entailed barely concealed gloating by Cohen, but at one point, he made clear what he had recently been hinting at: He believes he is not actually guilty of the federal-tax-evasion charges to which he pleaded guilty back in 2018.

This claim by Cohen that he really isn't guilty of the charges he pleaded guilty to is why Khardori thinks this case against Trump has already been undermined.

When Cohen pleaded guilty, the charges included five counts of federal tax evasion stemming from his failure to report millions of dollars in income from taxi medallions he owned, which, according to the Southern District of New York, resulted “in the avoidance of taxes of more than $1.4 million due to the IRS.” As a fundamental part of a guilty plea in the federal system, the defendant has to acknowledge that he is, in fact, guilty of all the offenses — both factually and legally — which is what Cohen purported to do in 2018.

Not only Khardori but even CNN's Dana Bash appeared to be quite dubious with the tortured explanation offered by Cohen's attorney, Lanny Davis.

Khordori concludes in a much less than upbeat manner about the veracity of Michael Cohen and his effect upon this historic case:

Trump’s lawyers are likely to have a field day with this. They could argue that Cohen — by his own account now! — lied to the federal judge who accepted his guilty plea and sentenced him to prison. The apparent reason? Because it was convenient for him to lie at the time so that he could avoid the risk of additional charges for him or his wife....

Perhaps Cohen had already made his position clear to prosecutors in the DA’s office. If so, I sincerely hope — strictly as a professional matter — that they have a cogent explanation for all this and a compelling response to present to the judge and jurors if and when the time comes.

...In the meantime, the first-ever criminal prosecution of a president in the country’s history is off to a bumpy start.