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Prosecutor Steps Into History With Cohen Conviction

By William Vogeler, Esq. on August 22, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Time will tell, but Robert Khuzami may go down in history as the lawyer who took down the lawyer who took down the President.

That's because Michael Cohen testified that Donald Trump directed him to violate campaign finance laws to influence the 2016 presidential election. It was a bombshell overshadowed only by the conviction of Paul Manafort the same day.

Khuzami, for his part, did not run for the microphone after the convictions like other lawyers. He did his work as quietly as an assassin, which may be the reason Trump fears him more than any other attorney in the mix. Although, he did talk to C-SPAN.

No Conflict

After his inauguration, Trump cleaned out the Justice Department with a wholesale firing of federal prosecutors. He has hired and fired more lawyers since then, including his personal attorneys.

In a twist of fate, Khuzami is immune from that because he is not a political appointee. Trump appointed his boss, Geoffrey Berman, to head the New York prosecutor's office but he recused himself from the Cohen case because of the potential conflict.

Khuzami is a career prosecutor, and worked on one of the biggest terrorism cases in U.S. history. That case also involved a lawyer who was convicted for helping a conspirator.

In Cohen's case, Khuzami's investigators raided the lawyer's office and home for evidence. That produced the infamous audiotape, which recorded Trump discussing hush money before the election.

Cohen's Deal

In pleading guilty to campaign finance violations and other charges, Cohen admitted making payments to ex-porn star Stormy Daniels and ex-Playboy model Karen McDougal to influence the election at "the direction of the candidate."

Lanny Davis, his lawyer, put it in perspective after the hearing. He said his client testified that Trump directed him to commit a crime.

"If those payments were a crime for Michael Cohen, then why wouldn't they be a crime for Donald Trump?" he said.

Trump has denied the claims, but Cohen's testimony may have a bigger impact on the president than on the lawyer.

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