new york state attorney general
Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, hires his own lawyer in Russia probe
Cohen’s decision is the latest indication that the Russia probe is intensifying and could end up focusing on a number of Trump associates.

MIAMI — Michael Cohen, who for years has served as President Trump’s personal attorney, has hired a lawyer of his own to help him navigate the expanding Russia investigation.

Cohen confirmed Friday to The Washington Post that he has retained Stephen M. Ryan, a Washington-based lawyer from the law firm McDermott, Will & Emery who has experience prosecuting criminal cases as an assistant U.S. attorney.

Cohen’s hiring of Ryan as his personal lawyer was first reported by Katy Tur of NBC News.

Cohen’s decision is the latest indication that the Russia probe overseen by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III is intensifying and could end up focusing on a number of Trump associates, both inside and outside the White House.

[Trump lashes out at Russia probe; Pence hires a lawyer]

Michael Caputo, a New York-based political operative and radio commentator who served as a senior communications adviser on Trump’s campaign, also has hired a lawyer of his own to navigate the Russia probe.

Caputo has retained Dennis C. Vacco, a former New York state attorney general and a partner at the law firm Lippes Mathias Wexler Friedman.  His hiring also was first reported by NBC’s Tur.

On Thursday, Vice President Pence’s office announced that the vice president had hired outside legal counsel, Richard Cullen, to assist him with inquiries from the Mueller investigation as well as congressional committee probes.

During a Friday morning event here in Miami, The Post asked Pence whether he had any comment about hiring his own lawyer.  The vice president said only: “It’s very routine.  Very routine.”

It is not entirely clear what role Cohen or Caputo might have in the Russia investigation.  Cohen, who worked as a lawyer for the Trump Organization for a decade, made an appearance in the dossier compiled by a former British spy.  The dossier, which was published online in January by BuzzFeed, alleged that he had traveled to Prague to meet with Russians and coordinate their hacking efforts.  Trump has rejected the dossier as “fake news,” and Cohen has vigorously denied its allegations about him, noting he was in California at the time it alleged he had visited Prague.

In January, Cohen was involved in a separate incident that could potentially have drawn the attention of investigators.  He has confirmed that he met with a Ukrainian lawmaker at a New York hotel at the urging of a former Trump business associate named Felix Sater.  At the meeting, Sater gave Cohen a peace plan that the lawmaker had drawn up for his country that would have paved the way for the lifting of sanctions imposed on Russia after its 2014 military incursion in Ukraine.

The New York Times reported that Cohen said he took the plan and left it in the White House office of then national security adviser Michael Flynn, days before Flynn resigned over his contacts with Russia’s ambassador.  Cohen told the Post that he had merely recommended Flynn as the proper recipient for the plan but that he had taken the written proposal home and thrown it away.

[Amid Russia scrutiny, Trump associates received informal Ukraine peace proposal]

Caputo, who briefly worked for the campaign, was an ally to former campaign chairman Paul Manafort.  He lived in Moscow for several years in the 1990s, and briefly held a contract in 2000 with the Russian conglomerate Gazprom Media to improve Russian President Vladimir Putin’s image in the United States.

You know it’s bad when the lawyers start lawyering up.

Grant Alfred Robinson a new trial

In 2002, my husband Alfred Robinson was convicted of a crime that he did not commit and sentenced to 33 years to life in jail. The year prior, Alfred testified in a criminal trial in which he had no involvement, but was believed to be an eyewitness. Alfred was given specific instructions by the prosecutor to say that he saw something that he did not see. Unwilling to do so, he spoke the truth under oath. Doing so cost him dearly as the DA helped to jail Alfred based on a vendetta against him.

Over the years, evidence has come out to prove that Alfred did not commit the crime. The District Attorney’s office has possessed this newly discovered evidence since 2007, but has never offered Alfred a hearing to review it. Nor has anyone followed up with the person who confessed (he is in jail).

Alfred deserves a fair hearing to prove that he didn’t commit this crime. I’m calling on the New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and our local District Attorney William Fitzpatrick to give him a new trial. And I need your help to do so – please sign my petition!

The DA in Alfred’s case was known to do whatever was necessary to win a case. He often instructed witnesses about their testimony like he did with Alfred. In this case, the DA relied on several witnesses’ “testimonies” in exchange for giving them lighter sentences. Alfred’s trial attorney also did not create a defense for him, despite the fact his alibi could have been confirmed since my son was born the night before the incident.

Witnesses, including the victim, came forward with sworn affidavits recanting their testimony in 2007. The person who committed the crime also gave a sworn confession giving details of the crime as well as the location of the weapon. I have all of the signed affidavits to prove it.

Alfred has been in jail for nearly 13 years, since our son was two days old. It breaks my heart everyday to look at my son knowing that he may never get to experience a relationship with his dad outside of prison walls. It is my hope that getting this petition signed by enough people will get New York State to grant Alfred a hearing, or even better yet, a new trial.