Experts: Cohen may profit from criminal exploits in tell-all

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FILE - This July 24, 2020, file photo shows Michael Cohen, center, President Donald Trump's former personal attorney, returning to his apartment, in New York, after being released from prison. So-called Son of Sam laws won't keep Cohen from profiting from any part of his book, "Disloyal: The True Story of the Former Personal Attorney to President Donald J. Trump," legal experts told The Associated Press, even if his memoir amounted to a how-to manual for tax evasion and campaign finance violations. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

NEW YORK – When Michael Cohen testified before Congress last year, Republican lawmakers worried aloud that President Donald Trump's former fixer would parlay the spectacle — and his criminal exploits — into a bestseller.

“It pains me that we are sitting here adding another chapter to his book," said Rep. Carol Miller of West Virginia.

A year and a half later, Cohen is poised to cash in on a memoir chronicling his time as a Trump acolyte, despite state and federal laws that in many cases ban people from profiting off notoriety caused by their crimes.

Even though Cohen will still be serving his sentence for tax evasion, lying to Congress and campaign finance violations when the book is released Tuesday by Skyhorse Publishing, New York’s so-called Son of Sam laws won’t keep Cohen from profiting from any part of his sordid story, legal experts told The Associated Press.

The law doesn’t apply at the federal level because Cohen’s crimes were nonviolent. And more expansive state Son of Sam statutes, including New York’s, don’t cover Cohen’s convictions, in part because “there really is no victim to notify in this case,” said Matthew T. Mangino, a legal analyst and former district attorney in Pennsylvania who has written about such laws.

That would be the case even if his memoir amounted to a how-to manual for tax evasion and campaign-finance violations.

Cohen has touted his tell-all as a road map to the skeletons he “buried” serving as Trump's personal attorney — the decade in which he was Trump's “first call every morning and his last call every night.”

The book, “Disloyal: The True Story of the Former Personal Attorney to President Donald J. Trump,” also will serve as a rejoinder to what Cohen recently described as his “negative experience with the American criminal justice system."