A federal judge agreed Wednesday to a two-month delay to the date by which President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, must report to prison.
In asking for the postponement, an attorney for Cohen said in a court filing that his client required more time to cope with both recovery from a recent surgical procedure and to prepare for expected testimony before three congressional committees.
Cohen had been scheduled to report to prison on March 6. US District Court Judge William Pauley on Wednesday granted him an extension to May 6.
Cohen has been sentenced to three years in prison for nine charges, including campaign-finance violations related to payments he arranged to silence women who claimed affairs with Trump, all of which Cohen pleaded guilty to last year. Trump has denied the affairs.
Cohen’s prospective testimony has been the subject of a series of postponements in recent weeks. He has delayed his appearances on Capitol Hill three times, with three different reasons.
He was first scheduled to appear before the House Oversight Committee in a public hearing on February 7, but abruptly canceled. At the time, Cohen said he was concerned for the safety of his family following “ongoing threats” from Trump and his attorney, Rudy Giuliani, who both brought up Cohen’s father-in-law in public comments.
Cohen also delayed closed-door testimony set before the House Intelligence Committee for the following day, citing an ongoing investigation. Last month, the Senate Intelligence Committee subpoenaed Cohen for his testimony and he agreed to appear, but the committee ultimately granted him a delay after receiving a doctor’s note relating to Cohen’s recent shoulder surgery.
But patience for the delays ran thin after photos emerged on Twitter of Cohen hugging patrons at an upscale New York restaurant. Reacting to the photos, North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard Burr, the chairman of the Senate Intel Committee, said “any goodwill” his panel had toward Cohen had run out.
Lawmakers want to talk to Cohen for their ongoing investigations into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election. It isn’t clear what Cohen will testify about in his public hearing. In a letter Republicans on the House Oversight Committee said they were told by a Cohen adviser, Lanny Davis, that his testimony would exclude any matters “under investigation.”
After Cohen’s House Oversight committee testimony was postponed earlier this month, Maryland Democratic Chairman Elijah Cummings declined to confirm a date that Cohen would testify, but he has repeatedly told reporters with certainty that the public hearing would occur.
“As sure as day becomes night,” Cummings has said when asked about Cohen’s appearance.
Cohen’s attorney, Michael Monico, said in his letter to the court that officials at the Manhattan US Attorney’s office, one of the offices that charged Cohen, didn’t object to a “one-time 60-day” delay “in light of Mr. Cohen’s medical condition.”
The letter also said that Cohen himself had submitted a separate letter under seal on February 12.