Prosecutors from the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office have requested communications between Michael Cohen and a lawyer who inquired about a presidential pardon on Cohen’s behalf, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.
The relevant emails between Cohen and attorney Robert Costello were exchanged shortly after the FBI raided Cohen’s Manhattan properties in April 2018. As CNN reported earlier Wednesday, Costello told Cohen in one message not to worry about the federal investigation because he had “friends in high places.”
Costello told the Journal that Cohen directed him to ask Rudy Giuliani about the pardon and was rebuffed. Giuliani confirmed that account to the newspaper, saying he couldn’t recall if he dangled the prospect of a future pardon during his conversation with Costello.
This issue has been bubbling below the surface since Cohen said in recent testimony before the House Oversight Committee that he “never asked for” a pardon from President Trump.
Cohen’s lawyers subsequently acknowledged that attorneys did so on his behalf, but that he personally never made such an ask. In a Wednesday letter to House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Cohen’s current attorney, Michael Monico, said that Cohen “could have been clearer” about what he meant.
The request came months before Cohen formally broke with Trump in June 2018, leaving the joint defense agreement and publicly denouncing his longtime boss.
Cohen is set to report to prison in early May for what a federal judge described as a “veritable smorgasbord” of crimes, including lying to Congress.