Former Donald Trump attorney Michael Cohen was jubilant Wednesday over New York Attorney General Letitia James’ announcement that she had filed a civil lawsuit against the former president and his three eldest children over an alleged tax fraud scheme.
“I want to personally thank [James] for acknowledging my participation and assistance in bringing accountability to the Mandarin Mussolini!” Cohen tweeted. “My journey to the truth has been filled with sadness, pain and anger. Todays announcement makes it [all] worth it!!!”
In a news conference to announce the lawsuit, James noted Cohen had played a major role in kicking off the three-year investigation, which she said involved a review of millions of documents and interviews with 65 witnesses.
“Mr. Trump and his allies may say that these penalties are too harsh or that this is part of a witch hunt,” she said. “I will remind everyone that this investigation only started after Michael Cohen, his former lawyer, testified before Congress and shed light on this misconduct.”
James’ office is seeking to bar Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump from conducting business in the state of New York, as well as making them pay about $250 million in restitution and limiting their access to loans.
Her office is also making criminal referrals to federal prosecutors and the Internal Revenue Service, believing the Trumps to have broken federal law.
Cohen testified to Congress in 2019 that Trump grossly overstated his wealth before he was president, including inflating his assets in applying for a loan to buy the Buffalo Bills NFL team in 2014.
He said Trump exaggerated his wealth when it served his purposes and also deflated the value of assets to reduce his real estate taxes.
Cohen was once one of Trump’s closest advisers, but he turned on him after the attorney was indicted for facilitating a hush money payment to porn actor Stormy Daniels to keep her from disclosing an alleged affair with Trump less than two weeks before the 2016 election. Cohen said this was done at Trump’s direction.
Cohen served time in prison after pleading guilty in 2018 to tax crimes, fraud, campaign finance violations and lying to Congress. Trump has not faced any consequences over the scheme.
Cohen has gone scorched earth on his former boss since, routinely speaking out against him and working with various authorities investigating wrongdoing by the former president and his family.