Former Trump lawyer Cohen to testify in public hearing - attorney

Former Trump lawyer Cohen to testify in public hearing - attorney
FILE PHOTO: Michael Cohen, U.S. President Donald Trump's former personal attorney, exits the United States Courthouse after sentencing at the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., December 12, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo -
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(Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen will testify in a public hearing before Congress where he plans to talk about why he decided he could no longer defend the actions of his former boss, Cohen's attorney said on Wednesday.

In addition to appearing in public before the House of Representatives Oversight Committee, Cohen will also testify to the Senate and House intelligence committees in closed sessions, the attorney, Lanny Davis, confirmed to Reuters.

All three appearances will happen before Cohen reports to prison on March 6, Davis said. Cohen was sentenced in December to three years in prison for crimes including orchestrating hush payments to women who claimed to have had affairs with Trump in violation of campaign laws before the 2016 election.

The announcement sets the stage for what is expected to be one of the most high profile congressional testimonies in history, although Cohen will not talk about matters related Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe or an ongoing investigation by federal prosecutors in New York, Davis said.

"Mr. Cohen will only talk about personal experiences and anecdotes over his 10 years working for Mr. Trump," Davis said, adding that his client would speak to why he can "no longer defend" Trump and sees him as a threat to the country.

Davis did not provide a date for the House Oversight and Senate Intelligence appearances. His testimony in front of the House intelligence committee is set for Feb. 28.

The disclosure by Davis comes a day after Senator Richard Burr criticized Cohen for postponing his planned testimony on Tuesday before the Senate Intelligence Committee. Burr is the Republican chairman of the committee.

Cohen postponed the appearance because he was recovering from shoulder surgery.

(Reporting by Nathan Layne in New York; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Tom Brown)

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