Former prosecutor Jay Goldberg says he cautioned president that his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, could be compelled to cooperate with prosecutors
One of President Donald Trump’s longtime legal advisers said he warned the president in a phone call Friday that Michael Cohen, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer and close friend, would turn against the president and cooperate with federal prosecutors if faced with criminal charges.
Mr. Trump made the call seeking advice from Jay Goldberg, who represented Mr. Trump in the 1990s and early 2000s. Mr. Goldberg said he cautioned the president not to trust Mr. Cohen. On a scale of 100 to 1, where 100 is fully protecting the president, Mr. Cohen “isn’t even a 1,” he said he told Mr. Trump.
.. “Michael will never stand up [for you]” if charged by the government, Mr. Goldberg said he cautioned the president.
.. Mr. Goldberg said the volume of correspondence taken and the potential pressure the government can bring to bear on Mr. Cohen to testify put the president in more potential peril from the Cohen matter
.. Mr. Goldberg, a former prosecutor who represented Mr. Trump in divorce and real-estate matters, said he told the president Mr. Cohen could even agree to wear a wire and try to record conversations with Mr. Trump. “You have to be alert,” Mr. Goldberg said he told the president. “I don’t care what Michael says.”
Speaking from his experience as a prosecutor, he said even hardened organized-crime figures flip under pressure from the government. “The mob was broken by Sammy ‘The Bull’ Gravano caving in out of the prospect of a jail sentence,” Mr. Goldberg said.
.. Mr. Goldberg said he warned Mr. Trump in the Friday call against submitting to an interview with Mr. Mueller’s team, telling him “talking is a certain trap,” adding: “Don’t ever do it.”
Prompted by the president for his advice, he also said he recommended Mr. Trump fire Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general who appointed Mr. Mueller.
.. suggested that Mr. Trump add a well-known New York lawyer to his legal team. Mr. Goldberg declined to name the lawyer, but a person familiar with the matter said it was Frederick Hafetz, a former chief of the criminal division of the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office.
Mr. Hafetz confirmed receiving a call on the matter from Mr. Goldberg but said he wasn’t interested in joining Mr. Trump’s legal team.