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Michael Cohen Shakes Up Legal Team For The Second Time

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Chuck Ross Investigative Reporter

Michael Cohen is shaking up his legal team for the second time, announcing through a spokesman on Monday that he will replace former federal prosecutor Guy Petrillo as his lead attorney.

Lanny Davis, Cohen’s legal adviser, announced that Michael Monico and Barry Spevack will replace Petrillo, a former federal prosecutor, and his associate, Amy Lester.

Petrillo, who worked for years in the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York, had represented Cohen through his cooperation with federal prosecutors, including special counsel Robert Mueller. Cohen hired Petrillo on June 19, 2018, replacing white-collar defense attorney Stephen Ryan.

A source familiar with the shakeup told The Daily Caller News Foundation that the change is being made because the focus for Cohen is now on “Washington and Congress” rather than with prosecutors in New York.

Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison on Dec. 12 on charges of tax evasion, bank fraud, illegal campaign contributions and lying to Congress. The first three charges were related to the New York case. Cohen pleaded guilty in the special counsel’s investigation to lying to Congress in 2017 about the extent of his negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.

U.S. President Donald Trump pauses as he announces a deal to end the partial government shutdown as while speaking in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., Jan. 25, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

U.S. President Donald Trump pauses as he announces a deal to end the partial government shutdown as while speaking in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 25, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

The shakeup comes a week after Cohen postponed testimony before the House Oversight and Reform Committee that was scheduled for Feb. 7. (RELATED: Michael Cohen Postpones House Testimony)

Cohen had planned to tell anecdotes about his years working as Donald Trump’s personal lawyer and fixer as part of what he billed as a rehabilitation effort to come clean about his years working for Trump.

Davis, a longtime ally of the Clintons, has said that Cohen would not be answering questions dealing directly with federal investigations. That likely meant that Cohen would not answer questions related to whether he colluded with the Russian government during the 2016 campaign.

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence subpoenaed Cohen on Thursday to appear for a closed-door hearing.

“We look forward to helping Mr. Cohen fulfill what he has told us is his only mission – to tell the truth as he knows it and to turn the corner on his past life and taking ownership for his past mistakes by cooperating as best as he can with all governmental authorities in search of the truth,” Monico and Spevack said in a statement.

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