The big squeeze: why Michael Cohen might flip in a matter of days
A significant business partner of Michael D. Cohen, President Trump’s personal lawyer, has agreed to cooperate with the government as a potential witness, a development that could be used as leverage to pressure Mr. Cohen to work with the special counsel examining Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Under the deal reached with the New York attorney general’s office, the partner, Evgeny A. Freidman, a Russian immigrant who is known as the Taxi King, specifically agreed to assist government prosecutors in state or federal investigations, according to a person briefed on the matter.
The broadened scope of Mr. Freidman’s cooperation may prove worrisome not only to Mr. Cohen, who is the target of a continuing federal investigation, but also Mr. Trump. MORE…
Friedman was pocketing 50 cent surcharges — around ten million of them!
Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood and Acting Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Nonie Manion announced today the guilty plea of Evgeny A. Freidman, 46, of New York, NY for failure to remit to the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance $5 million in 50-cent MTA surcharges between 2012 and 2015. …
As part of his guilty plea, within 30 days of his plea, Freidman must pay restitution in the amount of $500,000 to DTF. Additionally, on or before the date of his sentencing, he must pay an additional $500,000 restitution to DTF, execute a closing agreement with DTF to cover all MTA tax liabilities between January 1, 2012 through December 31, 2015, and enter a confession of judgment in an amount not to exceed four million dollars $4 million in favor of DTF. Freidman’s sentence will be adjourned to allow him to complete his restitution payments; if satisfies the terms of the agreement, he will be sentenced to 5 years’ probation.
So essentially he gets five years probation and pays New York State what he owes them, which led to this courtroom moment:
The judge that presided over Freidman’s guilty plea Tuesday evinced incredulity at the sweetness of his deal.
“Do you understand the nature of the benefit your attorneys have accomplished on your behalf?” Judge Patrick Lynch asked Freidman during the proceeding at his Albany County court.
“I greatly understand that and appreciate it,” Michael Cohen’s business partner replied.
Well, no kidding about that sweet deal. The obvious goal is to line up enough ducks against Cohen to prompt him to flip — Freidman obviously being a mega-sized mallard in this respect— and that scenario is now looking very likely.
The fact he got off with a fine that was the equivalent of catching up his state taxes is in and of itself a gigantic dangle toward Cohen — in effect, am “offer he can’t refuse.”