‘He will be able to prepare for the expected testimony next week before three Congressional Committees…’
(Chris Sommerfeldt, New York Daily News) Michael Cohen can remain a free man for a bit longer than initially planned so he can recover from shoulder surgery and testify before Congress, a federal judge in Manhattan ruled Wednesday.
Michael Monico, Cohen’s new lawyer, put in a request that his client be allowed to start his three-year prison sentence on May 6 instead of March 6, saying President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney and fixer “recently underwent a serious surgical procedure” and “needs to undergo intensive post-surgical physical therapy.”
Monico also noted in the brief motion that Cohen expects to be called to testify before three congressional committees, and imprisonment would make the grillings much harder to schedule.
Monico added the U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan “does not object,” and Judge William Pauley approved the request within minutes.
Lanny Davis, Cohen’s other lawyer, told the New York Daily News that his client underwent “serious shoulder surgery” last month and thanked Pauley for allowing him the time to recover.
“In addition,” Davis said, “he will be able to prepare for the expected testimony next week before three Congressional Committees, which he welcomes.”
The dates for Cohen’s upcoming testimony have not yet been officially announced.
Cohen, whose guilty plea directly implicated Trump in campaign finance crimes stemming from hush payments to his alleged ex-paramours, canceled public testimony before the House Oversight Committee last month out of concern for his family’s safety, because of alleged threats from Trump and his attorney Rudy Giuliani.
He then pulled out of two closed-door appearances before the Senate and House Intelligence Committees, citing complications from his shoulder surgery.
The cancellations drew ire from the chairmen of those committees — particularly after he was spotted wining and dining at an upscale New York restaurant on the same day he canceled the Senate panel appearance.
“He’s already stiffed us on being in Washington today because of an illness,” Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., told reporters after Cohen’s Feb. 12 cancellation. “Yet on Twitter, a reporter reported he was having a wild night Saturday night eating out in New York with five buddies, didn’t seem to have any physical limitations. And he was out with his wife last night.”
Davis and other spokespeople for Cohen have refused to elaborate on the nature of his shoulder impairment.
After he was first spotted outside his Midtown Manhattan home with his arm in a sling on Jan. 18, a spokeswoman told The News he had undergone “minor” surgery on his shoulder.
Giuliani, who has previously derided Cohen and claimed he shouldn’t be allowed to testify before Congress because he would only spout lies, was uncharacteristically pliant in light of the prison postponement development.
“If Judge thinks it’s justified, fine,” the former New York mayor said in a text message.
(Stephen Rex Brown contributed to this report.)
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