Michael Cohen’s Russian partner just struck a plea deal with federal investigators

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Donald Trump’s embattled attorney Michael Cohen seems likely to be the next square to pop up in indictment bingo, as more stories of his attempts to sell White House influence emerge in the wake of the FBI’s stunning raid of his Trump Tower offices and home.

Cohen is floundering in a pool of corruption, and it’s only a matter of time before Special Counsel Robert Mueller pulls him under. Now, according to a new report from The New York Times, Cohen’s problems are about to get even worse.

A close business partner of the president’s bumbling attorney has agreed to cooperate with the government in order to avoid jail time. The man in question, Evgeny A. Freidman, is a Russian immigrant who has long been Cohen’s business partner in the taxi business and is known by the nickname “The Taxi King.”

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By cooperating, Friedman will avoid prison time after he pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion. He was facing four counts, as well as a single count of grand larceny which taken together could have resulted in over 100 years of prison time had he been tried and found guilty. By pleading down to a single count and agreeing to work with the government, he will be placed on probation.

Now that he is a potential witness for the investigation, the odds of Cohen himself being forced to cooperate with Mueller have increased, presuming that Freidman has some dirt on him from their business dealings, a not unlikely eventuality given Cohen’s sordid reputation.

Presumably, prosecutors saw value in cutting a deal with Friedman because they believe he can provide useful information on Cohen, who they can then flip in turn until they get to the top of the totem pole. Trump is standing on a wobbling house of corrupt cards that looks ready to collapse at any moment.

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Robert Haffey

Robert Haffey is a political writer, filmmaker, and winner of the ScreenCraft Writing Fellowship. He is a graduate of Drexel University.

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