Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former personal attorney and fixer, entered a tentative plea deal with federal prosecutors on Tuesday that potentially includes bank fraud, tax evasion, and campaign finance violations, ABC News reported.
"Given Cohen's proximity to Trump during the past decade, including throughout his meteoric rise from mogul and reality television star to the White House, observers consider him one of most potent legal thorns to confront Trump's presidency since he took office," ABC notes.
In response to reports of the Cohen plea agreement, Michael Avenatti, the personal attorney of adult film actress Stormy Daniels, tweeted a jab at Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani:
— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) August 21, 2018
"I'm not surprised by the news. The only thing that I'm surprised about is that it took this long," Avenatti added in an interview on MSNBC on Tuesday.
WATCH: Stormy Daniels’ attorney,@MichaelAvenatti, reacts to Michael Cohen's reported plea deal: “I’m not surprised by the news. The only thing that I'm surprised about is that it took this long.” pic.twitter.com/OxkIhcOdhi
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) August 21, 2018
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Rick Hasen, professor of law and political science at the University of California Irvine, pointed out that "if Cohen pleads guilty in connection with [the] campaign finance case, that could directly implicate Trump."
Former White House ethics czar and chair of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) Norm Eisen added:
On Cohen, most interesting will be the terms of the campaign finance plea. Do they implicate/leave room 4misconduct by the campaign, and Trump himself? If so, makes Cohen a powerful witness if he eventually testifies. He is saying I did it, I took my punishment--so should Trump.
— Norm Eisen (@NormEisen) August 21, 2018
While a tentative agreement between Cohen and prosecutors has reportedly been reached, news outlets were quick to caution—citing sources familiar with the talks—that negotiations are not finalized and could still collapse.
Additionally, as ABC's chief legal analyst Dan Abrams observed, a plea deal does not mean that Cohen has agreed to cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.
Yes Michael Cohen is likely discussing some type of plea deal but NO that doesn't necessarily mean he'd be cooperating with, or involved in, Mueller investigation. All sorts of reasons that's much trickier than just a plea in Southern District of Ny where he's being investigated.
— Dan Abrams (@danabrams) August 21, 2018