Michael Cohen’s Business Partner, Evgeny A. Freidman, Takes Plea Deal From Robert Mueller
Cohen’s partner, Evgeny A. Freidman, will potentially act as a witness and assist prosecutors in state and federal investigations and will in turn avoid jail time for pleading guilty to evading $50,000 worth of taxes, according to the New York Times. This move may pressure Cohen to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller in his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
The Times reports that Trump’s lawyers believe there was already a strong possibility of Cohen cooperating with federal prosecutors with his business under investigation. Now that Feidman, a Russian immigrant with whom Cohen managed taxis with for years, has agreed to cooperate with law enforcement, the likelihood of his compliance may have increased.
Freidman was initially accused of failing to pay more than $5 million in taxes. He faced four counts of criminal tax fraud and one count of grand larceny. These felonies were all class B, and each carried a maximum prison sentence of 25 years. However, because Freidman accepted the plea deal, he will only face five years of probation so long as he fulfills the terms of his agreement.
During the proceeding, it is reported that Freidman stated he “greatly understands and appreciates” what his attorneys accomplished for him. Although his lawyer, Patrick J. Egan, declined to comment to the Times, he stated earlier in the year that Freidman considers Cohen “a very good friend and a great client.”
Cohen is currently under investigation for bank fraud and campaign finance violations, and the FBI raided his home, hotel room and office in April. Investigators have taken their first look at the documents seized in the raid.