Associated Press

Cohen Putting His Family First

Trump's Former Attorney Talking

July 02, 2018 - 8:44 am

NEW YORK (AP) — President Donald Trump's longtime personal lawyer, who once said he would do anything to protect the president, told ABC News in an interview released Monday that he now puts "family and country first."

In Michael Cohen's first interview since federal agents raided his home and hotel room as part of a probe into his personal business dealings, he was asked what he would do if prosecutors forced him to choose between protecting the president and protecting his family.

"My wife, my daughter and my son have my first loyalty and always will," Cohen told ABC's George Stephanopoulos in an off-camera interview that was reported on "Good Morning America." ''I put family and country first."

Stephanopoulos said he asked Cohen repeatedly if he was considering cooperating with prosecutors in their probe. Cohen responded that if he is charged with anything he would defer to his new lawyer in the case, Guy Petrillo, for advice.

Cohen was also asked how he might respond if the president or his legal team came after him and tried to discredit the work he did for Trump over the last decade.

"I will not be a punching bag as part of anyone's defense strategy," Cohen said. "I am not a villain of this story, and I will not allow others to try to depict me that way."

Cohen was Trump's self-described fixer and a key player in the Trump Organization for more than a decade. His home, office and hotel room were raided in April as part of a probe by federal prosecutors in New York into his personal business dealings.

Investigators are also looking into a $130,000 payment made as part of a confidentiality agreement with porn actress Stormy Daniels, who alleges she had an affair with Trump in 2006, which Trump denies.

Cohen in the past has said that payment was made on his own initiative. But in the ABC interview, he said he couldn't comment on advice of his lawyer.

"I want to answer. One day I will answer," he said.

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