Michael Cohen talks about plea deal, Michael Avenatti, in secretly recorded phone call

Chuck Ross, DCNF

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Former Trump attorney Michael Cohen walked back parts of his plea deal for financial crimes, while taking shots at fellow disgraced lawyer Michael Avenatti, in a phone call secretly recorded by comedian Tom Arnold.

“There is no tax evasion,” Cohen told Arnold in the phone call, according to The Wall Street Journal.

“Look at what’s happening to Avenatti — it’s called karma boomerang,” Cohen also said in the call, which Arnold recorded March 25, without Cohen’s knowledge. “The guy lied about me every single day, right? And the world loved it.”

Cohen pleaded guilty in New York on Aug. 21, 2018, to charges of tax evasion, bank fraud and making an illegal campaign finance violation in the form of a $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels, the porn star who claimed she had an affair with Donald Trump in 2006. He also pleaded guilty in the special counsel’s probe Nov. 29, 2018, to making false statements to Congress about his efforts to build a Trump-themed skyscraper in Moscow.

He was sentenced to three years in prison Dec. 12, 2018, and will begin serving the sentence May 6.

Arnold’s recording turns the tables on Cohen, who is known for making secret recordings of phone conversations with reporters, colleagues and his former boss. The comedian provided the 36-minute recording to the Journal.

In the call with Arnold, Cohen complained he felt like “a man all alone” in the wake of his legal troubles.

“You would think that you would have folks, you know, stepping up and saying, ‘You know what, this guy’s lost everything,’” he said, according to the Journal.

“I lost my business … my insurance, my bank accounts, all for what? All for what? Because Trump, you know, had an affair with a porn star? That’s really what this is about,” Cohen told Arnold.

He also said “it’s a lie” that he committed bank fraud in applications for loans against his home.

Cohen said one reason he took a plea deal was that prosecutors were going after his wife. He also said he expected to receive a lighter sentence that the three-year term he originally got.

“I love this woman, and I am not going to let her get dragged into the mud of this crap,” Cohen said of his wife. “And I never thought the judge was going to throw a three-year fricking sentence.”

Cohen deposited $2.4 million from his tax schemes into his wife’s bank account.

Cohen spoke with Arnold on the same day Avenatti was indicted on extortion and fraud charges in New York and California. The two disgraced lawyers battled in the media in 2018 over the payments to Daniels, a porn star. At one point in the saga, Avenatti released Cohen financial documents that were illegally leaked by a Treasury Department employee.

Avenatti faces even more serious charges than Cohen. He was indicted in New York on charges that he tried to extort Nike, Inc. for $20 million. He is accused in California of extorting at least five clients out of millions of dollars by withholding proceeds from their legal settlements.

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