By Lukas Mikelionis
Published March 05, 2019
Michael Cohen’s attorney once approached President Trump’s lawyers about a pardon following the FBI raid on Cohen properties last year, but such an idea was shortly dismissed, Fox News has confirmed.
Cohen, Trump’s longtime former personal lawyer, testified on Capitol Hill last week against his former boss, accusing him of racism and being a “conman,” while saying he regrets his "blind loyalty."
He was sentenced to three years in prison after he agreed to take a plea deal to charges of tax evasion, making false statements to a financial institution, willfully causing an unlawful corporate contribution and making an excessive campaign contribution.
But following the FBI raid in April last year, Cohen’s attorney at the time, Stephen Ryan, discussed the idea of pardoning his client with Trump’s lawyers, the Wall Street Journal first reported, and suggested that if Cohen couldn't be guaranteed a pardon he may have to cooperate with prosecutors.
The possibility of a presidential pardon was shot down by Trump’s lawyers, including Jay Sekulow, Rudy Giuliani and Joanna Hendon.
Giuliani, while dismissing it at the time, reportedly left the possibility that the president could grant Cohen a pardon in the future.
The revelation of Cohen’s lawyer allegedly asking for a pardon comes in the wake of Cohen’s testimony where he said that he never asked for a pardon from Trump.
“I have never asked for, nor would I accept, a pardon from Mr. Trump,” Cohen said last week. As the Journal notes, there is no evidence that Cohen personally asked for a pardon or that he was aware of the approaches made by his lawyer.
"We stand by the truth of Mr. Cohen's testimony before the House Oversight Committee," Cohen spokesman Lanny Davis said in response to the pardon report.
Giuliani, meanwhile, said that his default response regarding presidential pardons is that, “The president is not going to consider any pardons at this time and nobody should think that he is,” though adds that “Whatever happens in the future, that is his prerogative.”
Fox News' John Roberts contributed to this report.