Donald Trump’s chief fall guy Michael Cohen is reportedly in need of a new team to represent him in his ongoing legal battle with the federal government. Good timing, too, because according to NBC’s Katy Tur, Cohen was notified on Wednesday that federal prosecutors have begun drawing up paperwork to have him arrested—confirming his reported fears that he expected to be taken into custody any day now.
According to multiple reports on Wednesday, Cohen and his legal team have parted ways, although it’s unclear whether the split represents a willingness on his part to cooperate with federal prosecutors or simply a change in his legal tactics.
Cohen has so far been represented by Stephen Ryan and Todd Harrison, both of the large legal firm McDermott, Will & Emery LLP. ABC, which first broke the news of Cohen’s legal uncoupling, claimed that the split is imminent, and that no replacement team has been named. CNN, however, said that Cohen has found a new attorney, but has not revealed that person publicly.
Cohen, who is under investigation for a wide range of possible criminal misdeeds unrelated to Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s work, faces a Friday deadline to review the hundreds of thousands of documents seized by federal officials in their April raid of his office and home. After that, the documents will be turned over to an impartial third party, who will continue assessing the documents. According to the Wall Street Journal, Cohen’s team will officially kick their client to the curb once that deadline is completed.
While ABC speculated the change in attorneys means Cohen will likely begin cooperating with federal authorities, other outlets weren’t so quick to reach the same conclusion. Citing “a source familiar with the change,” CNN reported that Cohen hasn’t yet spoken to the prosecutors about any potential deal.
Another source, this time speaking with Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman, insisted that Cohen’s loss of his legal team is actually a deliberate gambit to grab the attention of recently-pardon-happy President Trump, calling it a “smoke signal” indicating “I need help.” That he certainly does.