After surgery, Michael Cohen’s prison date postponed to May

Christian Berthelsen
Bloomberg News
President Donald Trumps former attorney Michael Cohen

New York — President Donald Trump’s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen was granted a few more weeks of freedom Wednesday after his lawyers said he’s still recovering from surgery and hasn’t had time to get his affairs in order because he’s preparing to testify before Congress.

U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III approved delaying the start of Cohen’s three-year sentence until May 6. Cohen’s lawyer said he was undergoing intensive post-surgery physical therapy and spending substantial time getting ready for testimony his attorneys say he will deliver to three congressional committees this month.

Prosecutors did not object to a “one-time” 60-day delay from Cohen’s original March 6 surrender date, Cohen’s lawyers said. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office said Wednesday that prosecutors declined to comment.

Cohen, 52, was spotted last month in New York City wearing a hospital ID bracelet and with his right arm in a sling. At the time, his lawyer said he’d undergone minor shoulder surgery.

Cohen was sentenced in December to three years in prison after pleading guilty to lying to the Senate intelligence committee and campaign finance violations.

Cohen acknowledged lying to the committee about his role in a Trump business proposal in Moscow. He told lawmakers he had abandoned the project in January 2016, but he actually continued pursuing it for months after that.

He also pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations for his involvement in payments to a former Playboy model and porn actress who had alleged affairs with Trump.

In a letter requesting the delay dated Wednesday, Cohen attorney Michael D. Monico cited a “more fulsome letter” sent to Pauley eight days ago by Cohen that was sealed. Monico said in Wednesday’s letter that Cohen needs to be monitored by his physician during his recovery.

Cohen’s congressional testimony “will require Mr. Cohen to spend substantial time in preparation that will limit the time he has to get his affairs in order and spend time with his family, especially given such a short period between the anticipated hearings and the present reporting date,” Monico wrote.

After the delay request was granted, Monico and fellow Cohen lawyers Barry Spevack and Lanny Davis issued a statement saying the extra time will allow Cohen to “prepare for the expected testimony next week before congressional committees, which he welcomes.”