Michael Cohen has postponed his testimony to put “his family and their safety first”. (AP: Craig Ruttle)
President Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen is postponing his scheduled testimony to Congress next month due to threats against his family from Mr Trump.
- Michael Cohen had volunteered to testify in February
- The postponement comes after Donald Trump called Cohen a “rat”
- The President has suggested he has damaging information about Cohen’s father-in-law
Lawyer Lanny Davis, who has been advising Cohen on his media strategy, said in a statement that Cohen had decided to postpone his scheduled February 7 appearance to a later date due to “ongoing threats against his family from Trump” and from Mr Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani, as well as his ongoing cooperation with investigators.
Mr Trump called Cohen a “rat” in a tweet last month for cooperating with prosecutors.
Cohen had been the President’s self-described longtime “fixer” and once said he would take a bullet for Mr Trump.
In a Fox News interview this month, Mr Trump also suggested he had damaging information on Cohen’s father-in-law.
“That’s the one that people want to look at,” the President said in the interview.
Lawyer Mr Davis said last week: “There is no question that his threatening and calling out his father-in-law, who, quote, ‘has all the money’, is not only improper and unseemly for a bully using the bully pulpit of the presidency, but the very definition of intimidation and witness tampering.”
Tweet from Donald Trump: Remember, Michael Cohen only became a “rat” after the FBI did smoething which was absolutely unthinkable & unheard of until the Witch Hunt was illegally started.
Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison in December for crimes including orchestrating hush payments to women, in violation of campaign laws, before the 2016 presidential election.
The former lawyer’s prison term will begin in March.
He said in the guilty plea that he was directed to make the payments by Mr Trump.
Speaking during the sentencing hearing and in reference to Mr Trump, Cohen said: “I felt it was my duty to cover up his own dirty deeds.
“It was my own weakness and a blind loyalty to this man that led me to choose a path of darkness over light.”
Cohen had volunteered to testify before the House of Representatives Oversight Committee early next month.
Mr Davis said Cohen looked forward to testifying at a later date.
“This is a time where Mr Cohen had to put his family and their safety first,” Mr Davis said in a statement.
In a tweet earlier this month, Cohen said he looked forward to “having the privilege of being afforded a platform with which to give a full and credible account of the events which have transpired”.
Cohen’s testimony is set to be the first major public hearing for Democrats, who have promised greater scrutiny of Mr Trump.
Cohen is a pivotal figure in investigations by special counsel Robert Mueller into potential coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign, and by federal prosecutors in New York into campaign finance violations related to hush-money payments to two women who say they had sex with Mr Trump.
Mr Trump has denied the affairs, any involvement in the payments and directing Cohen to act illegally on his behalf.
When asked if he was concerned about the hearing at a press conference this month, Mr Trump said: “I’m not worried at all, no.”
Neither Cohen nor Mr Giuliani have responded to requests for comment.