CNN Legal Analysts Press Michael Cohen’s Former Lawyer Over His Client’s Past Lies

CNN legal analysts on Thursday pressed Lanny Davis, Michael Cohen’s former attorney, on the lies his previous client pled guilty to telling.

Cohen is a key witness against former President Donald Trump in his current trial as he was his previous attorney and has come under fire for his history of lying under oath. CNN legal analysts Elie Honig and Elliot Williams pressed Davis about Cohen’s past lies and how they will impact how his testimony is received.


“Lanny, I’m sure that Michael Cohen and the prosecution will offer exactly the narrative that you just described, which is Michael Cohen did what he did back then when he was with Donald Trump, he committed a lot of crimes,” Honig said. “Now he’s come clean and he has done that, as you note, effectively before. But part of the problem from Michael Cohen is the narrative that I only ever committed crimes for Donald Trump is not true. He pled guilty to tax fraud and bank fraud, having nothing to do with Donald Trump and now … his own business. He was a taxicab medallion lawyer, so he pled guilty in federal court to those two crimes in 2018.”

“Now, he testified at the civil fraud trial a couple of months ago,” Honig added. “He said, I actually did not commit those crimes. I actually lied under oath in front of Judge Pauley in federal court when I pled guilty. So did he commit tax fraud and bank fraud or did he lie to Judge Pauley?”

David Pecker, former National Enquirer publisher, testified during the trial suggesting he believed that Cohen was not reliable. Pecker agreed that Cohen was “prone to exaggeration.”

“Sorry Elie, I can’t answer the factual question,” Davis said. “Elie wouldn’t answer a question, did your client commit a crime? So let me answer your question, Elie. His lawyer, who’s a great lawyer I’m sure you know, Danya Perry, a former prosecutor has said publicly, so I‘m safe quoting his lawyer, that he testified to the commission of those tax crimes because he was coerced, because his wife was threatened with an indictment on a Friday night to be announced on Monday morning. And so he had to, and what his lawyer has said, say something to the court that was not true and he’s going to pay for that.”

Cohen pleaded guilty in August 2018 to five counts of willful tax evasion; one count of making false statements to a bank; one count of causing an unlawful campaign contribution; and one count of making an excessive campaign contribution.

Honig followed up by asking Davis about the campaign finance crimes. “So I’ll just let the public record speak that the crimes that he pled guilty to and didn’t go to trial, he didn’t even get a chance to talk to the prosecutors,” Davis said. “On Friday night, his attorney said on Monday morning, you and your wife will be indicted including five counts of tax fraud and he just had no choice, according to Danya Perry, to say yes to that.”

“I’m just truly curious as to how the jury will see all this,” Williams said. “Only because the narrative that I was lying to protect Donald Trump or engaging in behavior at his direction. Yes, it helps Michael Cohen somewhat, but they’re still lies and I think it can both be true that he has a compelling reason for behaving the way he did, or even that the receipts support the things that he says. But I think any defense attorney worth their salt can really undermine … everything he says here.”

Davis retorted that Cohen’s status as a key witness, despite his past, is not unprecedented.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments