The FBI raid that took place a week ago on Michael Cohen’s office and residence is the line of demarcation in his life. Hereinafter, he will always regard his life in terms of pre-raid and post raid. Cohen has acted as Donald Trump’s fixer and confidant, far more than his lawyer. What lawyer pays $130,000 out of his own pocket to buy the silence of the paramour of a billionaire client? What lawyer has gangster friends and acts as a courier between hostile foreign powers? What lawyer declares his willingness to “take a bullet” for the client? But all that was pre-raid and here’s what things look like now, after yesterday’s appearance in U.S. District Court. New Yorker:
Outside the courthouse, the media circus was still present. Clifford stopped before a bank of microphones and said, “For years, Mr. Cohen has acted like he is above the law. . . . He has never thought that the little man, or especially women, or, even more, women like me, matter. That ends now.” Cohen, who had remained silent throughout the afternoon’s proceedings, lingered inside with some security minders. Finally, he walked out and plunged into the scrum. Someone shouted, “You’re going to jail, Michael.” Cohen didn’t respond. He climbed into a black S.U.V. and was driven away.
A faceless voice in the crowd is not the only one predicting jail for Cohen. Stormy Daniels’ attorney Michael Avenatti, predicts that Cohen is going to be indicted and then he “is going to roll on Trump.” RawStory:
“There’s little to no doubt that [Cohen] is going to be indicted in the next 90 days, if not sooner,” he said.
Avenatti said that he expects Cohen’s lawyers will talk to him.
“They put potentially an ankle monitor around your ankle, if you’re bailed out,” Avenatti said. “Reality sets in and your attorney has a ‘Comes to Jesus’ meeting with you and it goes something like this: You know if you’re convicted you’re going to potentially face 10 to 15 years in the federal system… unless you roll over and you provide information on somebody higher up the food chain. That conversation has a tendency to really bring a lot of clarity to the choice.”
The Comes to Jesus meeting may not make things as clear as you might think, considering the fact that Cohen is skewered on the horns of a dilemma, with the possibility of prison on one side and the certainty of death if he crosses the Russian mob on the other. Just a few days ago Cohen was photographed lounging on the terrace smoking a cigar with Rotem Rosen, among others. Rosen is the CEO of AFI USA, a real estate development firm and subsidiary of Africa Israel Investments, Putin oligarch Lev Leviev’s holding company. Leviev was a business partner of Prevezon Holdings, the Russian firm that was accused of money-laundering, that, after Natalia Veselnitskaya, came on board to represent it, got off with a $6 million slap on the wrist.
Cohen lives in a world where you pay the fine and you get off, a few dollars lighter but so what, you can always make more as you expand your empire. The real consequences of criminal behavior are unknown to him, so far — but Michael Avenatti has said twice in one week that Cohen is going to be indicted within ninety days and Avenatti is no dummy. Avenatti also said that Cohen is “radioactive” and “anybody who’s been around him in the last twenty years should be worried.”
If Avenatti is right, and Cohen is the lead domino in the chain, then when he falls he’ll bring a lot of people down with him. “I think it’s a huge minefield for Donald Trump and the Trump Organization,” said trial attorney Joseph Cammarata, who represented Paula Jones in her sexual harassment suit against President Bill Clinton. “I think this is on its own track and this train is coming down the track with brute force.”