Michael Cohen, the archenemy of Donald Trump, was set to be the star witness at the ex-president’s ongoing bank fraud trial.
But Cohen has surprised the New York Attorney General’s office by potentially canceling his court appearance next week—citing a medical issue, according to two sources familiar with the situation.
Cohen, once Trump’s trusted legal adviser, took the fall for the former president’s hush money payoff to porn stars Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, among other things, and spent a combined three years in federal prison and under house arrest.
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The disbarred lawyer has since flipped against Trump, spending recent years publishing books, hosting a podcast, and helping prosecutors—all in the service of exposing his former boss.
Because Cohen was due to appear in this high stakes court case pursuant to a subpoena, he can’t get out of his scheduled testimony so easily. He’ll have to provide a doctor’s note, according to both sources who spoke to The Daily Beast.
The last-minute switcheroo has forced both Attorney General Letitia James and Trump’s defense team to scramble to figure out how to keep this marquee trial moving forward on pace, according to one of those sources.
It’s also unclear if Trump, whose presence is not required at this civil trial, will still move forward with any potential plans to show up in court. The Messenger this week first reported that Trump planned to head back to Justice Arthur F. Engoron’s courtroom next week to stare down his former lawyer while he gets cross-examined by a woman who’s essentially Cohen’s replacement: defense lawyer Alina Habba.
“I can’t imagine Trump is interested in Donna Kidder,” one source said, naming another upcoming prosecution witness who worked at the Trump Organization.
“Unfortunately I need to attend to a pre-existing medical condition that impedes my ability to testify this upcoming week. Rest assured, I will testify at the earliest opportunity,” Cohen told The Daily Beast.
The 57-year old New Yorker has previously discussed ongoing health issues that have worsened in recent years, particularly after his stay at the federal prison in Otisville, New York.
In his first book, he described “serious hypertension problems” and “preexisting blood clotting conditions” that resulted in multiple hospital visits. In conversations, he has also cited a heart condition.
Read more at The Daily Beast.
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