Cohen disbarred; begins first day marathon testimony before Congress

By Nicholas Sakelaris and Daniel Uria
Michael Cohen, former personal lawyer to President Donald Trump, arrives on Capitol Hill for a closed-door hearing in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday. Photo by Alex Edelman/UPI
1 of 2 | Michael Cohen, former personal lawyer to President Donald Trump, arrives on Capitol Hill for a closed-door hearing in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday. Photo by Alex Edelman/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 26 (UPI) -- Michael Cohen was disbarred in New York on Tuesday, as he began three days of congressional testimony with a private appearance before senators.

Manhattan's Attorney Grievance Committee filed a multipage document detailing why Cohen should no longer be permitted to practice law in the state of New York, citing Cohen's guilty plea to charges of tax crimes, campaign finance violations and lying to Congress.


"The Committee contends that respondent was automatically disbarred because respondent's conviction under 18 USC § 1001(a)(2) (making false statements to the U.S. Congress), if committed in New York, would constitute the felony of offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree," it wrote.

Cohen also appeared in a closed-door session with the Senate intelligence committee on Tuesday, where he apologized for lying in his previous testimony in 2017, CNN reported.


"At this time I really appreciate the opportunity that was given to me to clear the record, and to tell the truth," Cohen said after the meeting. "I look forward to tomorrow to being able to have my voice to tell the American people my story and I'm going to let the American people decide exactly who is telling the truth."

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said Cohen was a "very different guy" compared to his last testimony and senators said Cohen was subjected to "extensive grilling" about his previous lies.

"There is a reason that is a closed hearing, but he did spend quite a bit of time explaining what he had told us before that wasn't truthful," Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said.

On Wednesday, Cohen will testify in an open session before the Democrat-controlled House oversight committee. Thursday, he will wrap testimony in a closed-door session with the House intelligence committee.

Democrats are hoping Cohen will open up about the work he did on Trump's behalf -- while Republicans are expected to question his credibility.

The Justice Department has set guidelines about what can and cannot be discussed.


The Wednesday session will not include questions about the Russian investigation, but Cohen, often known as Trump's "fixer," could talk about "payoffs, financial disclosures, compliance with campaign finance laws, business practices and other matters," oversight committee chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Md., said.

Cohen has said previously he felt it was his "duty to cover up [Trump's] dirty deeds."

"I take full responsibility for each act that I pled guilty to: The personal ones to me and those involving the President of the United States of America," he said.

Cohen has pleaded guilty to multiple crimes, including setting up payments to two women who accused Trump of affairs. He's been sentenced to three years in prison but was granted an extension as he recovers from shoulder surgery and prepares to testify before Congress.

Cohen's credibility could be questioned because he was already convicted of lying to Congress in 2017. Trump, who's called Cohen a "rat" on Twitter, arrived in Vietnam Tuesday for his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Cummings suggested Wednesday's open testimony could be a historic moment.

"This is one moment in history. And when you get to my age, and you look back and you realize, these moments are very, very, very significant. It may very well be a turning point in our country's history, I don't know," Cummings said.


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