Cohen pleaded guilty the day prior to bank and tax fraud as well as campaign finance violations in New York.
He admitted to making hush money payments to the tune of six figures to two women at the request of then-candidate Donald Trump. Those women are widely believed to be adult film star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal, neither of whom have remained hushed about their relationship with the president.
Cohen's abrupt about-face from pickpocket to successful panhandler seems to demonstrate once again that Trump foes care little that the probe of special counsel Robert Mueller started by looking into alleged collusion between the Russian government and the Trump campaign and has devolved into scrutinizing payments to porn stars — nor how recently its heroes were villains. Cohen, after all, was still tweeting "#MAGA" as recently as this spring.
— Lanny Davis (@LannyDavis) August 21, 2018
Now, Cohen's attorney appears to be positioning his client as an up-and-coming resistor. "On August 21, Michael Cohen made the decision to take legal responsibility and to continue his commitment to tell the truth," Cohen's counsel, Lanny Davis, wrote on the GoFundMe page, which he runs.
"Michael decided to put his family and his country first. Now Michael needs your financial help," it says.
Resistance journalist Jonathan Chait, who recently made the extraordinary claim that Trump-Russia collusion could date back to 1987, wrote of Davis in 2011 that him being hired "on behalf of any client is itself conclusive evidence against their cause."
— Aaron Maté (@aaronjmate) August 22, 2018
Cohen has been Trump's "pit bull" since around 2006, when he was hired by the Trump Organization. He was also reportedly called "Tom," as in Tom Hagan, the right-hand man to mobster Vito Corleone in "The Godfather" trilogy.
"It means that if somebody does something Mr. Trump doesn't like, I do everything in my power to resolve it to Mr. Trump's benefit," Cohen told ABC News in 2011. "If you do something wrong, I'm going to come at you, grab you by the neck, and I'm not going to let you go until I'm finished."
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 21, 2018
Cohen, like Trump, is a former Democrat and has boasted of his ties to a number of billionaires and politicians. He's also a businessman. "Michael is a businessman for his own account/lawyer who I have always liked & respected," Trump tweeted in April. He added, "Most will flip if the Government lets them out of trouble, even if it means lying or making up stories. Sorry, I don't see Michael doing that despite the horrible Witch Hunt and the dishonest media."
— Alex Rubinstein (@RealAlexRubi) August 15, 2018
We've come a very long way in just a few short months. On Wednesday morning, Trump tweeted, "If anyone is looking for a good lawyer, I would strongly suggest that you don't retain the services of Michael Cohen!"
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 22, 2018
Davis is also no stranger to controversy. One of his former clients is the Honduras Business Council, which backed the 2009 coup in the country, according to released emails from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Clinton, a Davis confidant, also pitched him as the go-between for the State Department and the newly, violently installed military regime. Davis has also worked on behalf of African dictators, for-profit colleges accused of exploiting children and Martek Biosciences, a monopolistic company manufacturing additives to infant formulas.
In a now disappeared article in Salon, journalist Justin Elliot wrote that Davis "specializes in lobbying for controversial corporate and foreign clients, particularly those seeking Democratic representation in Washington."