Jay Goldberg, President Trump’s divorce lawyer, said during a CNN appearance on Thursday evening that he thinks Michael Cohen will end up cooperating with prosecutors because he’s afraid of being sexually assaulted in prison.
“He’s of a type that I have recognized in the past as one not suited to stand up to the rigors of jail life,” Goldberg said of Cohen, Trump’s longtime personal attorney and the current target of a federal criminal investigation. “I think, in many ways — and it’s difficult to say this — prison has a racial overtone, and a person like Michael doesn’t see himself walking down Broadway while people are clamoring, ‘you’re going to be my wife.’ And so he’s under pressure from his family to try to figure out what it would take to bring the government aboard as his sponsor.”
Goldberg, who claims to know Cohen personally, told CNN’s Erin Burnett he shared his concerns directly with President Trump during a phone conversation a few days after the FBI raided Cohen’s home, office, and hotel room on April 9.
“He called me on April 13,” Goldberg said of his chat with Trump, adding that the president shared his concerns “about a person who is facing a lengthy prison term [being] likely to say those things which in the witness’s mind would best position himself for a 5K1 letter, which would enable the government to recommend that he be shown leniency.”
“That doesn’t necessarily mean that he tells the truth,” Goldberg added. “History has shown that people under the threat of heavy litigation glean what the prosecutor is interested in hearing, and they can form their conduct so that they can get what’s known as a 5K1 letter.”
Goldberg said Trump told him that he “understood” his concerns.
Part of the FBI’s investigation into Cohen is regarding a hush payment made just before the 2016 presidential election to Stormy Daniels, an adult film actress who says she had an affair with Trump. The lawyer representing Daniels, Michael Avenatti, recently told Vanity Fair he believes “there is zero question” that Cohen “is going to be indicted for some very serious, pervasive conduct.”
Goldberg isn’t the only lawyer in Trump’s orbit who appears to be worried about Cohen potentially cooperating with prosecutors.
Alan Dershowitz, a retired Harvard law professor who regularly appears on Hannity and who recently dined at the White House with Trump, also said during a Thursday CNN appearance that the president’s “working assumption” should be that Cohen will ultimately cooperate with prosecutors.
“I have told every client I have represented over the last 53 years: assume your assume your best friend will flip,” Dershowitz said. “The president has to assume that his closest friends, his greatest associates, the people he trusts the most, if exposed to the pressure, the risk of life imprisonment, will flip. That has to be his working assumption.”
.@AlanDersh on possibility Michael Cohen will "flip": "I have always said, assume your best friend will flip… the president has to assume that his closest friends, the people he trusts the most, if exposed to the pressure, will flip. That has to be his working assumption." pic.twitter.com/VEjTmn7afJ
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 19, 2018
Dershowitz characterized Trump’s decision to call Cohen after the raid as “not a wise move,” and advised Trump to not issue any pardons.
Last week, Trump abruptly pardoned Scooter Libby, a former Bush administration aide who was convicted of lying to investigators and obstruction of justice. Some observers interpreted the move as a signal to potential witnesses like Cohen and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who faces serious prison time, that they will be rewarded for not cooperating with prosecutors.