Michael Cohen is an American lawyer, who worked for Donald Trump from 2006 to 2018. After joining Trump in 2006, Cohen went on to become a close confidant of Trump. In 2008, he became the COO of ‘Affliction Entertainment,’ a MMA promotion company, in which Donald Trump had a major financial stake. Revelations regarding Cohen carrying out various payouts to keep people from talking about Trump landed Cohen in trouble. In 2018, an investigation led by the FBI culminated in Cohen pleading guilty to eight counts of bank fraud, tax fraud, and campaign finance violations. On October 11, 2018, Cohen re-registered himself as a Democrat.
Childhood & Early Life
Michael Dean Cohen was born on August 25, 1966, in Long Island, New York, US, into a Jewish family to Sondra and Maurice Cohen. His father, who had survived the Holocaust, worked as a surgeon, while his mother was a nurse. Cohen was raised in the town of Lawrence and attended the ‘Lawrence Woodmere Academy,’ an independent school situated in Woodmere.
After graduating high school, Cohen went to ‘The American University,’ from where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1988. Thereafter, he went to ‘Thomas M. Cooley Law School’ from where he earned his Juris Doctor degree (JD) in 1991.
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Career & Controversies
Michael Cohen began his career in 1992, when he started practising personal injury law. In 2006, Cohen joined hands with a law firm, before joining Donald Trump’s organization. He eventually became a close confidant of Trump as he helped Trump in obtaining control over the condominium board at the ‘Trump World Tower.’ In 2008, he became the COO of ‘Affliction Entertainment,’ an MMA promotion company. Over the next few years, he continued showing his support for Trump.
In January 2017, a private intelligence report, ‘The Trump–Russia dossier,’ was published. The report claimed that Cohen had spoken to a few Russian officials in Czech Republic. It also claimed that Cohen had promised the Russian officials a hefty sum of money if they succeed in hacking the ‘Democratic National Committee’ (DNC). However, Cohen denied having a conversation with Russian officials, which led to a probe.
In 2016, adult film star Stormy Daniels claimed that she was involved in a sexual relationship with Trump, in 2006. In October 2016, Cohen negotiated a non-disclosure agreement with Stormy’s attorney Keith M. Davidson. According to the agreement, Stormy Daniels would be paid $130,000 to not talk about her relationship with Trump. In February 2018, Cohen told that the $130,000 was paid from his own pocket. He also initiated an arbitration case against the actress based on the 2016 non-disclosure agreement. However, Stormy claimed that the non-disclosure agreement was invalid because Trump had never signed it. In August 2018, Trump stated that he had personally paid Stormy and that the money was not part of the campaign contribution.
In 2017, Cohen had arranged a similar non-disclosure agreement to pay $1.6 million to a former Playboy Playmate Shera Bechard. The agreement was arranged to keep Bechard silent about her relationship with famous Republican fundraiser Elliott Broidy.
In 2018, the functioning of ‘Essential Consultants LLC’ was questioned. ‘Essential Consultants,’ which is a Delaware shell company, was created by Cohen to facilitate secret payments. Questions regarding the company’s payments were raised, which led to an investigation.
FBI Investigation & the Aftermath
In April 2018, the FBI raided Cohen’s home, hotel room, as well as his office. The raid led to the seizure of several business records, emails, and tax records. On August 21, 2018, Cohen surrendered to the FBI. He subsequently pleaded guilty to eight criminal offences, including five counts of tax evasion. His sentence was scheduled for December 12, 2018, with the judge ruling that he can be released on $500,000 bail. After the conviction, Cohen’s lawyer Lanny Davis went on to say that his client is ready to reveal everything he knows about Trump. On October 11, 2018, Cohen re-registered himself as a Democrat.
Personal Life & Family
Michael Cohen got married to Laura Shusterman in 1994. Cohen and Shusterman have a daughter named Samantha Blake Cohen. After graduating high school, Samantha attended the ‘University of Pennsylvania.’
Michael Cohen is known for leading a luxurious lifestyle. He owned a Porsche while attending college and has a fleet of luxurious cars, including a Bentley.
He is active on social media with more than 389,000 followers on Twitter.