Michael Cohen, previously a personal attorney of former President Trump, argued it could be “dangerous” to put his former boss behind bars, advocating instead for a prison-like house arrest.
“He needs to be held accountable,” Cohen said in an interview on CNN Monday, when asked if the former president deserved jail time in any of his mounting legal cases. “Do I believe if it was anyone else that the individual would already be in jail, the answer is emphatically yes.”
“But, because he was president of the United States, and for four years he was debriefed on a daily basis on our national security secrets, I personally as an American citizen would be concerned,” he added, “because Donald is the kind of guy to sell any of that information for a bag of tuna or a book of stamps, and I do really mean that.”
Cohen, once one of Trump’s closest confidants, has since turned on his former boss — even serving as a key witness in multiple court cases against him. The most recent example includes the ongoing New York business fraud trial, where Trump and his adult sons are accused of manipulating the value of their assets in financial statements.
Trump isn’t at risk of jail in that trial, but could be in the four criminal cases he faces in the coming months — which include his alleged efforts to try to remain in power after losing the 2020 election to Joe Biden, mishandling of classified documents after leaving the White House and a hush money payment made to a former adult film actress.
“It’s dangerous for America to have Donald Trump in some kind of environment where he can share the information,” Cohen said Monday. “He’s already shared that information with members of Mar-a-Lago and others, so why would he not do it if it benefited him somehow, in someway in a prison situation?
The preferred alternative, Cohen said, is a very strict house arrest with few visitors and no trips to the golf course.
Cohen has previously predicted that the New York business fraud trial would “financially ruin” the former president, as prosecutors are seeking $250 million in damages and to ban him from operating businesses in New York.
The pair faced off when Cohen took the stand as a star witness in the trial late last month.
“I was confused on how I was going to be,” he said. “And actually, I felt nothing. It was so weird that here I am, sitting directly across from Donald Trump, and I felt absolutely nothing.”
“And then directly over his left shoulder was his son, Eric, who also I maintained a relationship with,” Trump’s former fixer continued. “And I felt absolutely nothing. I looked at him, and I said to myself, boy, what a sad-looking, pathetic, deflated individual.”
Trump’s legal team opened its defense in the business fraud trial on Monday and is expected to file a motion for a mistrial.
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