Michael Cohen can’t wait to get out of prison for obvious reasons: He’s away from family, friends, and the food is notoriously bad at The Federal Correctional Institution, Otisville where he’s serving a three-year sentence for various crimes committed while he was President Trump’s long-time lawyer and fixer.
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And now you can add more reason: He desperately wants to sell a tell-all book about his time in TrumpLand as soon he gets out of the big house, according to people who have visited him in prison.
The book, according to people with knowledge of the matter, will be far different than the one he had planned before various Trump-related controversies that included facilitating hush-money payments to the president’s alleged lover Stormy Daniels, landed him behind bars earlier this year. That agreement, with publisher Hachette Book Group, was for a puff-piece detailing his long relationship as Trump’s go-to guy and personal attorney. Hachette pulled the deal and the estimated $500,000-plus advance amid Cohen’s legal troubles last year, as reported by FOX Business.
But now that he’s in prison, and thinking about life post-jail, Cohen, 53, has told people writing a book on Trump is at the top of his agenda when he’s a free man. And the new effort will take a decidedly different tone, reflecting the soured relationship between Cohen and Trump that began soon after federal agents raided his office and home in the spring of 2018. The federal raid eventually led to his guilty plea for various crimes, his prison time and of course, his about-face on Trump.
The book, these people say, will likely include details that Cohen was not prepared to divulge during his first book project. Those may include his handling of thorny legal issues involving Trump, his browbeating of reporters who were investigating the former real estate man’s business dealings, as well as his work to keep alleged Trump paramours silent. Cohen may also disclose embarrassing details about Trump’s business activities that he was privy to during their association, these people add.
“Michael is telling people he really wants to write an honest account of his relationship with Trump,” a friend of Cohen told FOX Business. “The question is whether he can find a publisher.”
Lanny Davis, Cohen’s lawyer, declined comment on the matter but would not deny Cohen’s book-writing aspirations or that the book would highlight Cohen’s anger with the President.
Books about the Trump presidency have been big sellers, especially insider accounts from former aides and associates.
By that logic, Cohen’s account could be a blockbuster. During his first foray into book writing, Cohen made his pitch mainly to conservative imprints at major publishing houses, but some passed because Cohen – then still Trump’s personal lawyer—wouldn’t provide juicy details of his dealings with the president that were covered by attorney-client confidentiality.
Now that Cohen’s relationship with Trump is frayed and he is willing to divulge dirt, he can pitch his book to a wider array of publishing houses. He’s also much less worried about the legal ramifications of sharing his history with Trump and has every incentive to provide a tell-all account of his days as a fixer for his old boss, people who know Cohen tell FOX Business.
Earlier in the year, Cohen appeared before the House Intelligence Committee to provide a testimony of his work for Trump. During those hearings, Cohen said he intended to pursue another book deal, and hinted at some of the information about Trump’s business practices that might be part of the tome, including the payments to alleged girlfriends, Trump’s business activities in Russia and how the president, when he was a private businessman, allegedly manipulated his actual net worth to avoid paying taxes.
“It was my experience that Mr. Trump inflated his total assets when it served his purposes, such as trying to be listed amongst the wealthiest people in Forbes and deflated his assets to reduce his real estate taxes,” he said.
Cohen said during the hearings that he knew more about alleged abuses involving Trump but couldn’t reveal details because they were being investigated by the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
But Cohen’s rapid and stark reversal on Trump could also hurt any book’s credibility. Publishers may shy away from a deal or they might balk at a significant advance of hundreds of thousands of dollars, along the lines of what Hachette previous agreed to. Hachette did not respond to a request for comment.
During his long years as Trump’s lawyer, there seemed to be no task that Cohen wouldn’t pursue on the part of Trump. He would call Trump “boss,” and openly boast about his close relationship with the president that brought him a number of lucrative consulting contracts.
But as his legal issues began to mount, those contracts dried up, his business dealings faltered, including the book deal and that’s when he became a staunch Trump critic. At one point, Davis, his attorney, said: “I know that Mr. Cohen would never accept a pardon from a man that he considers to be both corrupt and a dangerous person in the Oval Office. And [Cohen] has flatly authorized me to say under no circumstances would he accept a pardon from Mr. Trump.”
Trump insiders have said that Cohen was seeking attention by attacking the president, and they will certainly attack his credibility if a negative account was published.
Friends of Cohen say he has plenty of inside dirt on the president that could make for compelling reading. They also say Cohen’s friendship with Trump was mostly a matter of convenience and that privately their relationship was fraught. Trump would openly belittle Cohen and Cohen would privately complain that he loathed Trump even as he was eager to carry out his wishes. And those details will be pitched to publishers if and when it’s feasible, these people add.